Apium Petroselinum. Parsley, Garden parsley.

Botanical name: 

Syn: Petroselinum Sativum.

Description: Natural Order, Umbelliferae. A biennial plant, native of Sardinia and France, but now much cultivated as a pleasant pot herb for soups. Stem two to four feet, round, furrowed, striated green and yellow, branched. Leaves decompound, with numerous narrow segments; lower cuneate-ovate, terminal ones trifid, cauline segments lance-linear; smooth and shining; on long, furrowed petioles. Umbels regularly compound, not sessile, in heads; involucels of three to five subulate bracts. Flowers greenish-white, calyx margin obsolete; petals roundish, with a small inflexed point. Fruit one line long, compressed laterally, five ribbed; vittae five to eight.

This plant possesses a small quantity of a pleasant volatile oil, upon which depend the culinary merits of the leaves. The root is the chief medicinal part. It is fleshy, fusiform, several inches in length, sweetish and aromatic to the taste, and of a pleasant odor. It yields its properties to water and alcohol. Its power is impaired by drying and by age.

Properties and Uses: The root is an agreeable, aromatic, relaxant, and mild stimulant. Its chief power is expended upon the kidneys; and a little of its action may be felt upon the skin.

It greatly increases the flow of urine; and may easily be made to exhaust the kidneys, which is too often done by such persistent diuretics as this. In ordinary suppressions of the urine, it is a reliable article; and gives relief in strangury, aching in the back, hysteria, and similar cases, where deficient excretion of urine is much concerned. It is better adapted to recent than chronic cases; and may be given even when sub-acute inflammation of the kidneys is present. It has been highly praised in dropsy, and will no doubt give temporary relief to the effusion; but as this malady depends so much less upon the kidneys than is generally supposed, any treatment that relies too largely upon forcing diuretics, is quite sure to fail. (See Diuretics.) In these cases, parsley root may be used in moderation with other suitable agents.

The leaves are reputed good, as a fomentation, in bruises, swelled breasts, and enlarged glands.

The oil has been obtained, and is used in lieu of the root–two drops, three times day.

The infusion, made by adding a pint of hot water to an ounce of the fresh root, is the usual mode of employing the article; and one ounce of this may be given at intervals of from two to four hours. The green root may also be eaten.

The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com