What is Parsley?
P, sativum is one of almost 40 variations of parsley. It is also known as Apium petroselinum, Carum petroselinum, common or garden parsley, and P. hortense. It should not be confused with P. crispum, which is curly leaved and used extensively in herbal medicine.
Parsley is native to Greece and the surrounding Mediterranean area. Today, it is extensively cultivated around the world, such as in Asia, California, Belgium, France, and Germany.
As a biennial, there are two stages of growth for parsley that extends over two growing seasons before the plant dies off. We get different benefits from the plant in both stages.
It is the compound leaves that come forth in the first season that are widely used in the culinary world. Parsley leaves are a popular ingredient in salads, sauces, and soups. Their mild flavor also pairs well with meats and fish.
You can find sprigs of parsley decorating plates as a garnish, and they are a classic addition to bouquet garni, which is a bushel of fresh herbs that flavor a dish and also includes bay leaf and thyme. 
These 'first-round picks' are also dried. Dried parsley can be bought in many grocery stores and comes in handy when you want to add a hint of flavor to a dish. You can also sprinkle it on the plate to give it a finished, more professional look.
Parsley's seed stalk grows to a little over three feet tall in its second season. The herb features small greenish-yellow flowers at the top and bears seeds. These seeds, also known as fruit, resemble those of carrots but they are weak and have problems breaking heavy soil. 
The plant itself is nutritious, being high in both vitamins A and C. Many parts of the plant are used medicinally.
We get two types of essential oil from parsley, one of which is from the seeds. These seeds produce an oil that varies in color from yellow to amber or almost brown. Parsley seed oil has an herbaceous odor that is also a bit woody and spicy.
From the herb, it is either greenish or yellowish. It has a heavier, warm, spicier scent that closely resembles the herb itself.
The oil content from the seeds and the leaves vary. The leaves only yield approximately 0.25 percent, while distillation of the seeds produces 3-6 percent essential oil.
Both oils have apiol in them, which make them contraindicated in pregnancy. Parsley is routinely used as an abortifacient in South America. In Italy, women still procure illegal abortions with parsley concoctions or apiol itself.
Lovage (Angelica levisticum, Levisticum officinale, or Ligusticum levisticum), is also known as love parsley. This is used by herbalists to stimulate menstruation and uterine contractions as well.
Very rarely, an essential oil may be extracted from the roots of parsley. The seeds also can be made into an oleoresin by way of solvent extraction. 
Both oils cause irritation and are moderately toxic. They should be used in moderation and only when necessary, and always avoided in pregnancy.
Parsley herb leaf oil blends well with cananga (Cananga odorata ct. macrophylla), clary sage (Salvia sclarea), neroli (Citrus aurantium), oakmoss (Evernia prunastri), rose (Rosa damascena), and many spice oils like black pepper (Piper nigrum).
Parsley Essential Oil Uses
Parsley has been used in a variety of ways throughout history. According to Shirley and Len Price in The Aromatherapy Encyclopedia, parsley was used to:
- Aid the heart, according to the father of botany, Theophrastus.
- Galen, the Greek physician, recommended the herb for sleep and to reduce water retention in the body.
- Crown Greek game victors. They also adorned their tombs with the herb.
- Garnish food and reduce odors; first done by the Romans. After this, Emperor Charlemagne ensured enough was grown for all of his meals.
- Parsley was used to curtail lactation and ease sore breasts by Mediterranean peasant women.
- The famed herbalist Nicholas Culpeper recommended the herb for edema, menstrual difficulty, and urinary system problems.
- Many countries, including France, Russia, and South America, used the herb for abortions, contraception, and to bring on childbirth due to its stimulation of the uterus.
- Dysentery-caused kidney issues were warded off by parsley tea during World War I.
- Germans reduce blood pressure with parsley tea.
- The root is also used at times for thyroid issues, specifically to reduce overactivity.
While many of these uses are defunct, there are still a number of ways to use parsley at home, both in herb and oil form.
Here are some of the ways to use the oil:
First, anyone with sensitive skin should use very little parsley oil and extra carrier oil. According to Tisserand, maximum dermal use of the leaf oil is 14.6 percent while the seed oil has a maximum dermal use of 1.1 percent.  Do a skin patch test prior to use.
The massage oil can help with eliminating excess water from the body. This is especially useful when experiencing edema in the legs and feet (ie. gout).
It can also help with digestion. Rub the blended oil over the abdomen to relieve spasms, ease constipation, and more. You may also rub it around the kidney area to stimulate their actions.
Parsley essential oil is a calmative. Add a few drops to your diffuser with other calming oils when stress is getting to you. Other calming oils include:
- Amyris (Amyris balsamifera)
- Balsam de Peru (Myroxylon balsamum)
- Basil linalol (Ocimum basilicum ct. linalool)
- Cananga (Cananga odorata ct. macrophylla)
- Chamomile, German (Matricaria recutita)
- Chamomile, Roman (Anthemis nobilis)
- Clary sage (Salvia sclarea)
- Frankincense (Boswellia carterii)
- Lavender (Lavandula angustifolia)
- Neroli (Citrus aurantium)
- Rose (Rosa damascena)
Parsley oil is an addition to 'gripe waters' which are used to ease digestive issues. Both oils are used extensively in the food and beverage industry, for items like alcohol, meats, pickles, sauces, and sodas.
If you are knowledgeable enough to use essential oils in the kitchen, do not use more than a drop or two, depending on the size of the recipe.
The commercial industry used seed oil to scent cologne, detergent, and soap. It is even used for cosmetics, soaps, men's colognes and some perfumes. If you make these things at home and want to experiment, be sure to respect the dermal limits of the oil.
Parsley Essential Oil Benefits
As you can see from above, parsley has a laundry list of health benefits. Many of these come from the herb itself. Today, we often use parsley as a spice, garnish, to freshen breath, and to ease indigestion. The latter can be done by chewing on it or by making parsley tea.
While it is recommended to chew the herb or drink parsley tea to ease any digestive issues, some people choose to make parsley oil capsules. It is essential that you study how to do this correctly and from a reputable source before attempting this.
Tisserand recommends a daily internal dose of 538 milligrams for adults for the herb oil. For the seed oil, the limit for adults is only 42 milligrams.
Always mix the essential oil with a carrier oil in the capsule, and never attempt to use parsley oil to get high. This is a dangerous practice! 
Muscles and Joints
Not only can a massage oil with parsley oil as an ingredient help with reducing fluid buildup, but it can also reduce the pain of arthritis, rheumatism, and sciatica. Likewise, it can help reduce built up toxins.
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Parsley Essential Oil Research, Facts, and Studies
At the time of this writing, there is very little positive research on parsley essential oil. Many of the results are contradictory, yet there are a few that show promising results.
Bacteriostatic, Bactericidal, and Antifungal Activity
In a genetic and molecular research study, dated July 2016, parsley showed ether bactericidal or bacteriostatic properties against all seven bacterias tested.
The oil also showed fungistatic activity against all eight fungi it was tested against. 
In Volume 8, Issue 4 of the 2012 Expert Review of Clinical Immunology, parsley was referenced as one of the seven most potent disease fighters in the plant world. While this rating is for the plant as a whole, the oil holds a part of this.
The researchers examined the suppressive activities of parsley oil on macrophages and the effects on nitric oxide. They concluded that the oil shows promise as an immunosuppressive with lower side effects than currently used drugs. 
Parsley has been used for centuries for a variety of conditions, and can still be used for so much more than a garnish or to freshen breath.
Due to the dangers that parsley essential oil may have, never use while pregnant, and always follow dilution and maximum dermal limits.
- Tisserand, Robert; Essential Oil Safety; pgs. 380-381
- Lawless, Julia; The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, pg. 160
- Tisserand, Robert; Essential Oil Safety; pgs. 380