Parsley: 12 Health Benefits & How to Make Parsley Tea

Clinical review: Tatiana Zanin
Registered Dietitian

Parsley is a medicinal plant that contains diuretic, antioxidant, antibacterial, antidiabetic, immunomodulating, cytotoxic and kidney-protecting properties. All of these properties are due to flavonoids found in parsley called miristicine and apigenin, as well as the apiol, alpha-pinene and beta-pinene, vitamin C and carotenes. 

Parsley can be used in the treatment of renal illnesses, like UTIs or kidney stones. It can also be useful for treatment of high blood pressure because of its diuretic effects. 

Parsley leaves, seeds and roots can be used in natural remedies, vitamins, tea and as a spice. It is available in both fresh and dehydrated forms.

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Health benefits that are naturally found in parsley include:

1. Treat urinary tract infections 

Parsley possesses antimicrobial and diuretic actions, which can help with the emergence of recurrent UTIs. Check out the recipes for parsley tea that can be used to treat UTIs.

2. Strengthen the immune system 

Parsley can help to boost immunity and strengthen the immune system because it is rich in vitamin C, zinc, and vitamin A and additionally contains antimicrobial properties.

Some studies show that parsley is particularly effective against bacteria like Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus subtilis and Escherichia coli. It is also effective for the treatment of cold and flu viruses. 

3. Help to manage diabetes

Eating parsley can be beneficial to diabetics to regular blood sugar and to protect the liver due to its antioxidant action. In addition, the flavonoids found in parsley also help to prevent the emergence of diabetes, which makes it a great option for patients diagnosed with pre-diabetes. 

4. Improve blood pressure and treat fluid retention 

Parsley is rich in potassium, which is required for the exvretion of sodium through the urine. It also possesses diuretic properties. These two factors help to lower blood pressure and combat fluid retention. Learn about other natural diuretics that can help with fluids retention.

5. Prevent and treat anemia 

Because this plant is rich in iron and folic acid, it can be helpful for the treatment of anemia. 

Iron is one of the components of red blood cells, which are responsible for the transport of oxygen in the blood, while folic acid is also necessary for the formation and development of these cells.  

In addition, parsley also contains vitamin C, which help with iron absorption in the intestines. 

6. Promote eye health and vision

Parsley is rich in carotenoids, mainly lutein and zeazanthin, which are components that help to maintain vision and promote eye health. Some studies show that these compounds help to prevent macular degeneration related to aging, which is an illness that can lead to blindness. 

7. Protect the skin 

Parsley contains lutein, a type of carotenoid that contains antioxidant action. It helps to reduce oxidative damage in the upper layers of the skin caused by UV rays, cigarette smoke and pollution. This can help to prevent early aging. 

In addition, parsley contains vitamin C, which is not only a powerful antioxidant, but also promotes the formation of collagen in the body, which decreases skin flacidity and makes skin firmer and elastic.

8. Prevent the appearance of kidney stones

Parsley helps to stimulate the elimination of fluid in the body, although one study reports that it can also help with the urinary excretion of calcium and increase urinary pH. These factors can together prevent the formation of kidney stones. Learn more about what causes kidney stones and how they are treated. 

9. Prevent cancer and chronic illnesses 

Parsley is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and carotenoids, compounds that help to combat cellular damage caused by free radicals as well as oxidative stress. These processes are associated with the development of cancer and other chronic illnesses. 

Flavonoids are related to a lowered risk of colon cancer and obesity. Caroteinoids, like lutein, can inhibit cancer cell growth in breast cancer. Vitamin C, also found in parsley, can decreased the risk for prostate cancer. 

10. Prevent cardiac disease 

Parsley is rich in folate, a B complex vitamin that prevents the formation of fatty plaques along the blood vessels. This helps to keep blood vessels healthy and prevent illnesses like atherosclerosis, infarct or stroke. 

It also contains vitamin K, which improves blood vessel health by keeping them elastic and prevent the accumulation of calcium, which can lead to cardiovascular problems like atherosclerosis. 

11. Improve digestion  

Some scientific studies show that parsley may be beneficial for the treatment of intestinal ulcers. This plant may protect the gastric mucosa and inhibit gastric secretion. More studies are necessary to support these findings, however. 

12. Promote bone health 

Parsley is rich in vitamin K, which aids in the formation of bone due to boosted osteoblast activity. It is also responsible for activating some proteins that increase bone density, and can stimulate better adhesion of calcium to the bones and teeth, preventing osteoporosis. 

Nutritional information 

The following table shows the nutritional components of 100g of fresh parsley 

Component

100 g of fresh parsley

Energy

36 calorias

Carbohydrates

6.33 g

Protein

2.97 g

Fat

0.79 g

Fiber

3.3 g

Calcium

138 mg

Magnesium

50 mg

Iron

6.2 mg

Zinc

1.07 mg

Potassium

554 mg

Phosphorus

58 mg

Vitamin C

133 mg

Vitamin B1

0.086 mg

Vitamin B2

0.098 mg

Vitamin B3

1.31 mg

Vitamin B6

0.09 mg

Folate

152 mcg

Vitamin A

421 mcg

Vitamin E

0.75 mg

Vitamin K

1640 mcg

Choline

12.8 mg

How to use it

To use parsley in recipes, you should adequately wash the plant and ensure the leaves are very green and firm. Organic dehydrated parsley contains even more health benefits. 

Parsley is very versatile, and can be incorporated into smoothies, soup, juices, and salads. It can be used as a seasoning for food like seafood and fish. 

The best way to make parsley last for longer is to wait to it wash before using it, as wet parsley leaves in the fridge will start to become dark quickly. You can also store parsley in a sealed container. To help the leaves last longer, you can wrap the parsley in a paper towel to absorb any humidity it releases. 

Parsley tea 

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Parsley tea can be used to treat urinary tract infections, kidney stones, hypertension and fluid retention.

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of dehydrated parsley, or 3 tablespoons of fresh parsley 
  • 250 mL of boiling water 

How to prepare 

Add the parsley to the boiling water, cover and allow it to soak for 10 minutes. Then strain and drinking this tea up to 3 times per day. It is important to remember that parsley tea is contraindicated for pregnant women. 

Salsa smoothie

A smoothie made with parsley is rich in antioxidants that help to keep the skin looking young and healthy. It also helps to treat fluid retention, and therefore may be beneficial as a part of a weight loss diet. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of parsley
  • 1 orange
  • 1/2 an apple ;
  • 1/2 a cucumber;
  • 1 cup of coconut water

How to prepare

Mix all the ingredients in a blender until well combined. Drink without straining or adding sugar. 

Parsley contraindications 

Parsley should not be consumed by people with severe renal problems, like acute or chronic renal failure or nephrotic syndrome. It should also be avoided by people who have been operated on less than 1 month ago.  

In addition, parsley tea should not be taken by pregnant or breastfeeding women, as the effect can interfere with the development of the baby or with breastmilk production. 

Parsley contains high quantities of vitamin K, which can interact with anticoagulant medication like warfarin. You should consult your doctor before consuming parsley. 

Parsley tea should not be taken by people who use diuretics, as it can lead to greater excretion of minerals than required.  

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Edited by Tua Saude editing team in April 2022. Clinical review completed by Tatiana Zanin - Registered Dietitian in April 2022.

References

  • SAWSAN Ibrahim; JULNAR Usta. Diuretic effect and mechanism of action of parsley. Journal of Ethnopharmacology. 79. 3; 353-357, 2002
  • U.S DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE . Parsley raw. Available on: <https://fdc.nal.usda.gov/fdc-app.html#/food-details/1103365/nutrients>. Access in 07 Dec 2021
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  • Xiao-Yan Bai et al. Association between Dietary Vitamin C Intake and Risk of Prostate Cancer: A Meta-analysis Involving 103,658 Subjects. Journal of Cancer. 6. 9; 913–921, 2015
  • DAGFINN Aune et al. Dietary intake and blood concentrations of antioxidants and the risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studies. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. 108. 5; 1069-1091, 2018
  • MERVAT Ahmed. Therapeutic Effects of Parsley Extract in Streptozotocin-induced Gestational Diabetic Rat. Journal of Biological Sciences. 18. 7; 364-372, 2018
  • GONG Xiaoming et al. Carotenoid Lutein Selectively Inhibits Breast Cancer Cell Growth and Potentiates the Effect of Chemotherapeutic Agents through ROS-Mediated Mechanisms. Molecules. 23. 4; 1-18, 2018
  • YUANG Li et al. Lutein inhibits proliferation, invasion and migration of hypoxic breast cancer cells via downregulation of HES1. International Journal of Oncology. 52. 2119-2129, 2018
  • AL-YOUSOFY Fayed et al. Parsley! Mechanism as antiurolithiasis remedy. American Journal of Clinical and Experimental Urology . 5. 3; 55–62, 2017
Clinical review:
Tatiana Zanin
Registered Dietitian
Graduated in Clinical Nutrition in 2001 and has a Master’s in Clinical Nutrition. Licensed to practice under the CRN-3 in Brazil and the ON in Portugal