The humble Parsley is used as a popular garnish but is usually left uneaten. This is a pity since it is probably more nourishing than the concoctions which it garnishes. Often it is the only green on the plate! Parsley is also a remarkable diuretic which, among other things, heals many complaints of the urinary system.

Dr. John Christopher, a Master Herbalist, told the story of a woman, Mrs. Hanger, who came to America from England while she was in her twenties. She was very sickly and wanted children but could not conceive so she went to the medical doctor who told her that she had an untreatable kidney infection of a very progressive type and that she had six months left to live. She came home very discouraged.  

Answering a knock at the front door, there stood a man who said, “I would like to talk to you. I would like to help you if you would want me to. You are from England and have brought your herbs with you. Make a tea with a pint of boiling water and a handful of parsley each day, cover and steep it and drink it in regular doses during the day; it will heal this condition.” Dr. Christopher spoke at her funeral, not just six months after she was supposed to die, but she lived to be eighty-six years old and during her life she raised a number of wonderful children. 

Dr. Christopher developed a routine to help in cases of dropsy (edema). He was especially sensitive to the horrors of this condition. Before his mother died, her condition was well advanced and her body swelled enormously. When she died, the door had to be removed from the hinges to get her body out to the ambulance which took her to the morgue. Her pain had been so severe during the final months but nothing could be done to give her relief. As a young man Dr. Christopher was praying for a way to help her and felt frustrated that the doctors could do nothing at all.  

Dr. Christopher’s routine is best told in this story: 

A lady came into the weekly herb lecture late, just a few minutes after they had gotten started. She asked if she could interrupt and tell something that had just happened to her. Dr. Christopher invited her to tell her story. Just after the last week’s lecture she received a call from her brother-in-law in Chicago who told her that if she wanted to see her twin sister alive she must fly back there immediately because the doctors had given her only a day or two to live. The student took a few days off  work and arrived in Chicago on the following Friday. She went in to see her sister and would not have recognized her if she had not been told who she was. Her sister was so badly swollen from edema (dropsy) that she seemed to be only a bloated, unrecognizable mass of flesh. She had been under doctor’s care for several months and they had been unable to give her anything but temporary aid from the water accumulation. Now they were utterly baffled and had, at the family’s request, sent her from the hospital to die. 

The sick twin was in a coma, not recognizing anyone. The herb student wept to see her favorite sister lying there so helpless. With little school children needing their mother so much, she asked the husband if he would allow her to use an herbal routine she had heard about at a recent lecture. The doctor was just waiting for the sister to die so she was given the go ahead! 

The herb student found a little health food store nearby and bought some parsley root and glycerin. Herbalists now generally use vegetable glycerin which is superior but at that time  only animal glycerin was available. Parsley root tea was made using one teaspoon of herb to one cup of water (or one ounce of the herb to one pint of water). Making up about one gallon of the tea, one quart was used straight to give the patient orally and three quarts of the tea was mixed with equal parts of glycerin, making a total of six quarts of the combination for fomentations. 

One cup of parsley tea was administered each half hour to the patient to drink and the heated combination of glycerin and tea was used as a fomentation to the badly swollen legs, arms and abdomen. This was done by soaking white flannel cloths in the mixture and laying them over the area, not allowing them to become cold but replacing whenever the cloth cooled down. A hot water bottle over the fomentations can be used if the area to be treated is not large. 

After the fomentation had been on for a short time, the corner of the cloth was lifted to see if the pores were starting to take the water from the swollen areas, and as she looked it appeared as if hundreds of little springs were coming from the body. She had never used this routine before and was walking by faith, and it was a miracle to see it working. She had to fly back to work on Monday, so she left all the instructions with her brother-in-law to continue the program that had been started. 

After work Tuesday rushing home to get ready for the regular Tuesday night lecture, her phone rang. It was her brother-in-law from Chicago who said, “There is someone here who would like to talk with you.” He put his wife on the phone and she was so happy that she was crying! The swelling had gone down and she was recovering rapidly. In fact, she had been well enough to get the children’s breakfast and fix their school lunches that day. She was so grateful to be a mother again and not a dying patient. There were not many dry eyes in the lecture room when the student finished the story. This is a great remedy to remember and one should store vegetable glycerin which is freely available and parsley root or grow plenty of it so it is available for an emergency.  

Uses of Parsley

This amazing common herb is also quite potent. Dr. Christopher taught that parsley works on the gall bladder, helping to remove gallstones. He claims that it is a specific for the adrenal glands, is powerfully therapeutic for the optic nerves, brain nerves, and the whole sympathetic nervous system. Parsley is a remarkable remedy for expelling watery poisons, excess mucus, flatulence, and reducing swollen and enlarged glands, etc. 

Parsley has long been used as a healer for the urinary tract. Bladder infections that can make you so sick that you can barely walk are particularly troublesome because they are rarely cleared up except with the use of antibiotics. If taken with equal parts of Echinacea and marshmallow root, parsley works very well. Parsley root tea will help remove stones including gallstones and kidney stones, if they are not too large.  

One doctor who made a trip to Holland was surprised to see medical doctors prescribing parsley tea for kidney stones and other kidney and related complaints, including pressure of the prostate. He returned to his practice at home and began prescribing the same remedy with the same good results. Parsley taken with boiled onions is said to be good to remove gallstones, although some writers prescribe juniper berries instead of the onions, which would also be a great specific for the urinary tract. 

The parsley root is the part used to relieve painful suppressed urination and attacks of gravel. If the stones are not too large to pass, the decoction will help remove them and relieve the pain. Parsley tea was useful during the Second World War when the men in the trenches suffered  kidney complications while suffering from dysentery. 

The root is also important for treating diseases of the liver and gallbladder. It can be used with a small amount of licorice or marshmallow root for the treatment of jaundice, asthma, water retention, and coughs. It is said to be excellent to remove obstructions of the liver and spleen. 

In Sweden the tea is drunk as a brain tonic and preventative medicine.  

A hot lotion of the seeds will relieve the irritation of all kinds of insect stings. The seeds made into decoction can be cooled and steeped about seven hours and then rubbed into the hair to clear away head lice and any other such vermin. You can massage the head scalp with the lotion of seeds and leaves to stimulate the growth of hair, check baldness (as long as the hair follicles are still alive) and remove dandruff. 

The juice can be applied to the skin in the summer time for use as a nontoxic insect repellent. The whole herb is effective against bad breath, and people who take garlic often, also take parsley to avoid offending. 

Chinese use of the herb includes the relief of kidneys and bladder. It is said to remove irritation, congestion, inflammation or weakness of these organs. 

Parsley can be used in almost any kind of food and is therefore a good herb to include in the daily diet. It is thought to be a good disease preventative. Parsley contains much calcium, potassium, iron, copper and chlorophyll. It is also a good source of vitamins A, C and E. It contains niacin, riboflavin, thiamine, phosphorus, sulfur, magnesium and silicon.  

Dried parsley can be used as freely as you would fresh minced parsley. 

There are several varieties of parsley, the curly-leaved variety being generally preferred. Plain-leaved parsley winters better than the curly-leaved variety but care should be taken for it not to be mistaken for fool’s parsley which looks a lot like plain-leaved parsley but is extremely poisonous. Fool’s parsley, however, neither smells nor tastes like genuine parsley should a person dare to try it. We, here in Wichita, live in a rather severe climate, yet our parsley plants, sheltered in a moist place by the side of our house, put out new shoots during warm spells in the wintertime!

March 2010