Parsley is a culinary herb used in many types of cooking and as a nearly universal adornment to restaurant food. Originally a native plant of the Mediterranean region, parsley is grown today throughout the world. It is a nutritious food, providing dietary calcium, iron, carotenes, ascorbic acid, and vitamin A.1

Parsley's traditional use for inducing menstruation may be explained by evidence that apiol and myristicin, two substances contained in parsley, stimulate contractions of the uterus.2,3 Indeed, extracted apiol has been tried for the purpose of causing abortions.

A tea made from the "fruits" or seeds of parsley is also a traditional remedy for colic, indigestion, and intestinal gas.4,5

Germany’s Commission E suggests the use of parsley leaf or root to relieve irritation of the urinary tract (such as may occur in bladder infections) and to aid in passing kidney stones.6Although there is no evidence that parsley is helpful for these conditions, parsley, due to its constituents apiol and myristicin, is believed to have a diuretic effect;7-9,20 because diuretics would increase the flow of urine, this might help the body to wash out bacteria as well as stones. However, no studies have as yet evaluated whether parsley is actually beneficial for either health problem.

A test tube study evaluated parsley extract as a topical antibiotic, finding that the extract had a weak effect against Staphylococcusbacteria.10 However, it did not appear to be strong enough to be practically useful for this purpose.