Parsley is a good dietary source of folate, vitamin C, and vitamin K. Parsley has been shown to have potent anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities, as well as moderate antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, radioprotective, antispasmodic, anti-anxiety, and cholesterol-lowering properties. Because parsley typically does not comprise a large portion of the diet of any group of people, there are no population-based studies that specifically isolate the association between consuming parsley and the risk of cancer. Instead, the epidemiological information available comes from studies in which parsley was a vegetable component of the diet.
There are numerous studies concerning the anti-cancer components of parsley. Parsley contains 8-methoxypsoralen, which has been shown to inhibit the development of carcinogen-induced lung cancer in laboratory mice. Parsley also is a dietary source of imperatorin and isopimpinellin, which have been shown to have chemopreventive effects in liver, lung and mammary epithelial cells. Parsley leaf oil and parsley seed oil contain myristicin, which has been shown to inhibit the proliferation of carcinogen-induced lung cancer in mice. Parsley is a good dietary source of apigenin, which has been shown to induce apoptosis in human skin, thyroid, gastric, liver, colon, cervical, and prostate cancer cells, and to inhibit migration and invasion of ovarian cancer cells.
Breast cancer-related effects of eating parsley
Parsley contains the flavones apigenin, luteolin, chrysoeriol, the flavonols quercetin, myricetin and isorhamnetin, and the carotenoids beta-carotene and lutein. Apigenin has been shown to exhibit potent growth-inhibitory effects in HER2+ breast cancer cells. The growth-inhibitory effects of apigenin are less powerful for those cells expressing normal levels of HER2/neu.
Lutein consumption and circulating lutein levels have been found to be associated with reduced risk of breast cancer in several epidemiological studies. Lutein has been shown to inhibit the progression of both ER+ and ER+ breast cancer cells under hypoxia, a low-oxygen condition in which solid breast tumors can thrive. Lutein has also been shown to potentiate the effect of taxane chemotherapy drugs (Taxol and Taxotere) in breast cancer cells.
Quercetin has been shown to inhibit proliferation of estrogen receptor negative (ER-) breast cancer cells. A major Italian population study including 2,569 women with breast cancer found that the risk of breast cancer was reduced for increasing intake of flavones and flavonols.
Italian, or flat leaf parsley is named for its leaves, which are flat compared to the curly leaves of common parsley. Cilantro, also called Chinese parsley, consists of the stems and leaves of the coriander plant (coriandrum sativum), which is in the parsley family. The antioxidant capacity of parsley is enhanced when it is used in soups or stews (i.e., when it is boiled) but is reduced when grilled or fried.
Parsley seed oil is an ingredient in some breath freshening products, presumably for its antimicrobial and antiseptic properties. Parsley seed oil contains oleic acid (the main fatty acid in olive oil). However, the biologically active components of parsley seed oil are very concentrated and it should generally be avoided, especially by those who are pregnant (since it can cause miscarriage), have kidney, heart, or liver disorders, or are on high blood pressure medications, lithium, monoamine oxidase Inhibitors, or opiates.
Below are links to recent studies concerning this food. For a more complete list, including less recent studies, please click on parsley.