Botanical Name: Petroselinum crispum
Petroselinum crispum is native to the Mediterranean but is commonly cultivated throughout temperate climates worldwide. Parsley leaf has been incorporated into culinary dishes for hundreds of years, combining well with most foods and masking strong flavors such as garlic. This well-known spice has also been utilized for its beneficial properties as parsley tea within Ayurvedic medicine and traditional European herbalism.
While all of us know parsley as a condiment and garnish, most of us never consume its most flavorful part of the root. Parsley has been an important food for at least 3,000 years. Parsley is thought to have originated in Sardinia, or the surrounding area, and to have spread across Europe by the 15th century. There are a great many myths and folktales concerning parsley. It was said to have come from the spilled blood of Archemorus when he was eaten by serpents. It was also long associated with Persephone and the underworld, which may certainly account for the lingering superstition that it is bad luck to transplant parsley; it should always be grown directly from the seed. Also, the Greek saying “to be in need of parsley” meant that someone was extremely ill and not expected to survive. Wreaths of parsley were also worn to honor the dead. Parsley belongs to the Apiaceae plant family.
The most common use of parsley is as an edible breath freshener. In cooking, parsley lightens the taste of garlic and the odor of fish. Parsley can be added to almost any food except sweets.
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