Parsley – what is it? We all know that parsley is used as a garnish to make foods look attractive when they are served but is it an herb? A salad green? Is it nutritious? And, as we always want to know, can dogs eat parsley? Find out more about parsley below.
As it turns out, parsley is, indeed, an herb. It’s widely used as a garnish, as a condiment, in foods, and as a flavoring. Parsley seed oil is also used as a fragrance in soaps, cosmetics, and perfumes. The leaves, seeds, and the root are all used to make medicines.
In folk medicine, parsley has been used to treat bladder infections, for kidney stones, for gastrointestinal problems, for constipation, skin problems, and other things. However, the scientific evidence for some of these uses is not conclusive.
Parsley is also associated with stimulating the appetite, improving digestion, increasing the production of urine, reducing spasms, and increasing menstrual flow.
Parsley is native to parts of the Mediterranean but it is widely naturalized. It’s widely grown as both an herb and as a vegetable. Parsley has been cultivated for over 2000 years. It was likely grown in the British Isles during Anglo-Saxon times and known in Europe in the middle ages.
Parsley is used as an ingredient in Mediterranean, American, and European cuisines (Central, Eastern, and Southern). It’s also used in Brazilian dishes.
Parsley contributes a modest amount of most vitamins and minerals but it is high in vitamin A and folate. It’s also very high in vitamin C. Parsley is a super source of vitamin K. It’s also a good source of iron.
Parsley, fresh (100 grams or 3.5 ounces of parsley is more than most people will consume at one time.)
|Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)|
|Energy||151 kJ (36 kcal)|
|Dietary fiber||3.3 g|
|Vitamin A equiv.
|Pantothenic acid (B5)||8%
· μg = micrograms • mg = milligrams
· IU = International units
|†Percentages are roughly approximated using US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA FoodData Central
Parsley is also a source of flavonoids and antioxidants which are associated with good health. It contains luteolin and apigenin. One gram of dried parsley (half a teaspoon) contains about 6.0 ug of lycopene and 10.7 ug of alpha carotene. It also contains 82.9 ug of lutein+zeaxanthin and 80.7 ug of beta-carotene.
According to one study, dried parsley was even higher in antioxidants than fresh parsley.
Apigenin, found in parsley, was shown to decrease tumor size in a study of an aggressive form of breast cancer.
The high amount of vitamin K in parsley may help improve calcium absorption which may, in turn, reduce bone fractures.
Some studies have suggested that parsley (and other green herbs and vegetables) may be able to prevent skin cancer thanks to the presence of the flavonoid myricetin. Parsley is particularly high in myricetin. Myricetin may also help protect against diabetes.
Parsley does require some precautions. Normal food amounts are safe but pregnant women should avoid eating excessive amounts. Large amounts can have effects on the uterus. Parsley can also decrease milk production.
Vitamin K plays an important role in blood clotting. Parsley has a high amount of vitamin K so if you take a blood thinner such as Warfarin or Coumadin, use care. Talk to your doctor and watch how much parsley you eat.
For humans, consuming very large amounts of parsley can be unsafe, sometimes leading to anemia and problems with the liver or kidneys. Parsley is a high-oxalate food so if you have calcium oxalate kidney stones, it should be off the menu or very limited.
Can Dogs Have Parsley?
Parsley is safe for dogs to eat in small amounts. In fact, you can buy some dental chews that have parsley as a flavoring because it freshens dog breath.
Dogs can benefit from the same antioxidants and flavonoids that improve human health.
- Along with acting as an antimicrobial to kill bad breath germs and freshen your dog’s breath, parsley may also help with inflammatory problems due to arthritis in dogs.
- The vitamin K in parsley, in small amounts, appears to help blood clotting and boosts liver health.
- Parsley helps with digestive problems and soothes an upset stomach. It also acts as a diuretic to help prevent urinary tract infections. This also helps flush toxins from the body and supports kidney health.
- Parsley has lots of vitamin C and vitamin A which help support the immune system and eye health.
- Parsley may help slow the rate of growth for tumors and some cancers.
If your dog has problems with kidney stones or other health problems, talk to your veterinarian before adding parsley to his diet. If your dog is diabetic, parsley may affect blood sugar levels. Don’t give pregnant dogs parsley since it can affect the uterus. Female dogs that are producing milk should not have parsley since it can affect their milk production. Giving your dog large amounts of parsley can also lead to anemia in some cases.
If you are worried about something called “spring parsley poisoning ” you should set your mind at rest. This condition is more or less misnamed and does not really relate to the parsley you buy at the supermarket. The plants involved contain an ingredients called furanocoumarins but they are not closely related to the kind of parsley used for cooking. Your dog is more likely to have the condition from eating grapefruit or limes.
Small amounts of parsley are safe for most dogs. But what is a small amount? First, keep in mind that with parsley, the dried herb can be stronger than fresh sprigs of parsley. If you are using dried parsley, only use a very small amount at any one time.
You can give your dog ¼ to ½ teaspoon of dried parsley a few times per week. If you are using fresh parsley, a few sprigs are plenty.
If you are worried about giving your dog too much parsley, you can mix it with water and add it to your dog’s food or water. Or, you can brew it as a tea or make it into homemade dog cookies or treats.
How often ?
You can give your dog a small amount of parsley several times per week.
Parsley is safe for most dogs to eat. It appears to have some health benefits. It’s also used to freshen dog breath in some dental chews. If your dog is pregnant or lactating, you should avoid giving her parsley. Dogs with kidney stones should avoid parsley. It should only be given to dogs in small amounts. Large amounts of parsley can lead to problems such as anemia.