Herb: Hamburg Parsley

Latin name: Petroselinum crispum tuberosum

Synonyms: Petroselinum crispum radicosum

Family: Umbelliferae

Medicinal use of Hamburg Parsley:

Parsley is a commonly grown culinary and medicinal herb that is often used as a domestic medicine. Its prime use is as a diuretic where it is effective in ridding the body of stones and in treating jaundice, dropsy, cystitis etc. It should not be used by pregnant women, however, because it is used to stimulate menstrual flow and can therefore provoke a miscarriage. An infusion of the roots and seeds is taken after childbirth to promote lactation and help contract the uterus. Parsley is also a mild laxative and is useful for treating anaemia and convalescents. All parts of the plant can be used medicinally, they are antidandruff, antispasmodic, aperient, carminative, digestive, diuretic, emmenagogue, expectorant, galactofuge, kidney, stomachic and tonic. Caution is advised on the internal use of this herb, especially in the form of the essential oil. Excessive doses can cause liver and kidney damage, nerve inflammation and gastro-intestinal haemorrhage. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women or people with kidney diseases. A poultice of the leaves has been applied externally to soothe bites and stings, it is also said to be of value in treating tumours of a cancerous nature. It has been used to treat eye infections, whilst a wad of cotton soaked in the juice will relieve toothache or earache. It is also said to prevent hair loss and to make freckles disappear. If the leaves are kept close to the breasts of a nursing mother for a few days, the milk flow will cease.

Description of the plant:


60 cm
(2 feet)

June to


Habitat of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Edible parts of Hamburg Parsley:

Leaves - raw or cooked. Parsley is frequently used as a garnish or as a flavouring in salads and many cooked dishes, but has too strong a flavour to be eaten in quantity for most palates. The flavour of this form is inferior to the species. The leaves are difficult to dry but are easily frozen. Very rich in iron, parsley is also a good source of vitamins A, B and C. Root - raw or cooked. They can be grated into salads, baked or added to soups etc. The root is harvested from autumn until new growth commences in the spring. It is hardy enough to be left in the ground during the winter, though can also be harvested in late autumn or early winter and stored in a cool, frost-free place, making sure that it does not dry out. Alternatively, the root can be cut into slices and then dried in a cool oven. The root has a delicious flavour, intermediate between that of celery and parsley but with a nuttier flavour. A tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves, it is rich in vitamin C. An essential oil is obtained mainly from the leaves - used as a food flavouring.

Other uses of the herb:

A good companion plant, repelling insects from nearby plants.

Propagation of Hamburg Parsley:

Seed - sow late winter to early spring in situ. Germination can be slow, it helps to mark the rows by mixing a few radish seeds with the parsley seed. Germination time can be reduced by pre-soaking the seed for 12 hours in hot water that is allowed to cool quickly, but be careful not to overdo the heat and cook the seed.

Cultivation of the herb:

Not known in the wild.

Known hazards of Petroselinum crispum tuberosum:

Parsley is said to contain the alleged 'psychotroph' myristicine. Although perfectly safe to eat and nutritious in amounts that are given in recipes, parsley is toxic in excess, especially when used as an essential oil.

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.