The dried, ripe fruit and root of Petroselinum sativum, Hoffman (Nat. Ord. Umbelliferae). Native of Europe; cultivated in all moderate climes.
Common Names: (1) Parsley Fruit, Parsley Seed; (2) Parsley Root.
Principal Constituents.—(Root.) An essential oil containing Apiol; (Fruit) Fatty oil (22 per cent), volatile oil (oil of parsley) containing apiol and laevo-pinene.
Preparation.—Decoctum Petroselini, Decoction of Parsley. Dose, 1 to 4 fluidounces.
Action and Therapy.—Decoction of parsley root is an active diuretic, as is also the oil (three or four drops). Both relieve urinary irritation, and have been extensively employed to relieve dropsical effusions when the kidneys are in a condition to respond, especially when the edema follows scarlet fever.
Apiol is an active emmenagogue. When of good quality, doses of seven to fifteen grains are capable of producing effects similar to those of coffee—cerebral excitement with feeling of vigor and composure, and warmth in the stomach. Large doses (thirty to sixty grains) occasion intoxication, giddiness, flashes of light, ringing in ears, and headache similar to that resulting from cinchona. It is used almost entirely for the treatment of amenorrhea, due to ovarian inactivity. It should be administered in doses of seven to ten grains, three times a day for a week or so previous to the expected time of menstruation, and given oftener when the menses appear. It relieves pain by increasing the flow when menstruation is scanty. Owing to the uncertain quality of apiol preparations they frequently fail to produce any emmenagogue effects. A liquid apiol (Oleoresina Petroselini) is to be preferred, given in doses of eight to twelve minims.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.