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(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Anemone (wood)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)

Least Viewed Herbs

(archangelica Officinalis Hoffm)
And There Is Pansies That's For Thoughts
Bluebell (wild Hyacinth)
Anemone (wood)
House Leek (crassulaceoe)


Parsely is found in this country only as a cultivated plant, having
been introduced into England from Sardinia in the sixteenth century.
It is an umbelliferous herb, which has been long of garden growth
for kitchen uses. The name was formerly spelt Percely, and the
herb was known as March, or Merich (in Anglo-Saxon, Merici). Its
adjective title, Petroselinum, signifies growing on a rock. The
Greeks held Parsley in high esteem, making therewith the victor's
crown of dried and withered Parsley, at their Isthmian games, and
the wreath for adorning the tombs of their dead. Hence the proverb,
Deeisthai selinon (to need only Parsley) was applied to persons
dangerously ill, and not expected to live. The herb was never
brought to table of old, being held sacred to oblivion and the

It is reputed to have sprung from the blood of a Greek hero,
Archemorus, the fore-runner of death; and Homer relates that
chariot horses were fed by warriors with this herb. Greek gardens
were often bordered with Parsley and Rue: and hence arose the
saying when an undertaking was in contemplation but not yet
commenced, Oh! we are only at the Parsley and Rue.

Garden Parsley was not cultivated in England until the second year
of Edward the Sixth's reign, 1548. In our modern times the domestic
herb is associated rather with those who come into the world than
with those [408] who go out of it. Proverbially the Parsley-bed is
propounded to our little people who ask awkward questions, as the
fruitful source of new-born brothers and sisters when suddenly
appearing within the limits of the family circle. In Suffolk there is
an old belief that to ensure the herb coming up double, Parsley
seed must be sown on Good Friday.

The root is faintly aromatic, and has a sweetish taste. It contains a
chemical principle, apiin, sugar, starch, and a volatile oil.
Likewise the fruit furnishes the same volatile oil in larger
abundance, this oil comprising parsley-camphor, and apiol, the
true essential oil of parsley, which may be now had from all leading
druggists. Apiol exercises all the virtues of the entire plant, and is
especially beneficial for women who are irregular as to their
monthly courses because of ovarian debility. From three to six drops
should be given on sugar, or in milk (or as a prepared capsule) twice
or three times in the day for some days together, at the times
indicated, beginning early at the expected date of each period. If too
large a dose of apiol be taken it will cause headache, giddiness,
staggering, and deafness; and if going still further, it will induce
epileptiform convulsions. For which reason, in small diluted doses,
the same medicament will curatively meet this train of symptoms
when occurring as a morbid state. And it is most likely on such
account Parsley has been popularly said to be poison to men, and
salvation to women. Apiol was first obtained in 1849, by Drs. Joret
and Homolle, of Brittany, and proved an excellent remedy there for
a prevailing ague. It exercises a singular influence on the great
nervous centres within the head and spine. Bruised Parsley seeds
make a decoction which is likewise beneficial against [409] ague
and intermittent fever. They have gained a reputation in America as
having a special tendency to regulate the reproductive functions in
either sex. Country folk in many places think it unlucky to sow
Parsley, or to move its roots; and a rustic adage runs thus: Fried
parsley brings a man to his saddle, and a Woman to her grave.
Taking Parsley in excess at table will impair the eyesight, especially
the tall Parsley; for which reason it was forbidden by Chrysippus
and Dionysius.

The root acts more readily on the kidneys than other parts of the
herb; therefore its decoction is useful when the urine becomes
difficult through a chill, or because of gravel. The bruised leaves
applied externally will serve to soften hard breasts early in
lactation, and to resolve the glands in nursing, when they become
knotty and painful, with a threatened abscess. Sheep are fond of
the plant, which protects them from foot-rot; but it acts as a
deadly poison to parrots.

In France a rustic application to scrofulous swellings is successfully
used, which consists of Parsley and snails pounded together in a
mortar to the thickness of an ointment. This is spread on coarse
linen and applied freely every day. Also on the Continent, and in
some parts of England, snails as well as slugs are thought to be
efficacious medicinally in consumption of the lungs, even more so
than cod-liver oil. The Helix pomatia (or Apple Snail) is specially
used in France, being kept for the purpose in a snaillery, or
boarded-in space of which the floor is covered half-a-foot deep
with herbs.

The Romans were very partial to these Apple Snails, and fattened
them for the table with bran soaked in wine until the creatures
attained almost a fabulous size. Even in this country shells of Apple
Snails have been [410] found which would hold a pound's worth of
silver. The large Snail was brought to England in the sixteenth
century, to the South downs of Surrey, and Sussex, and to Box Hill
by an Earl of Arundel for his Countess, who had them dressed, and
ate them because of her consumptive disease. Likewise in Pliny's
time Snails beaten up with warm water were commended for the
cure of coughs. Gipsies are great Snail eaters, but they first starve
the creatures, which are given to devour the deadly Night Shade,
and other poisonous plants. It is certain, that Snails retain the
flavour and odour of the vegetables which they consume.

The chalky downs of the South of England are literally covered with
small snails, and many persons suppose that the superior flavour of
South Down mutton is due to the thousands of these snails which
the sheep consume together with the pasture on which they feed. In
1854 a medical writer set forth the curative virtues of Helicin, a
glutinous constituent principle derived from the Snail, and to be
given in broth as a remedy for pulmonary consumption. In France
the Apple Snail is known as the great Escargot; and the Snail
gardens in which the gasteropods are fattened, and reared, go by the
name of Escargotoires. Throughout the winter the creatures
hybernate, shutting themselves up by their operculum whilst lying
among dead leaves, or having fixed themselves by their glutinous
secretion to a wall or tree. They are only taken for use whilst in this
state. According to a gipsy, the common English Snail is quite as
good to be eaten, and quite as beneficial as an Apple Snail, but there
is less of him. In Wiltshire, when collected whilst hybernating,
snails are soaked in salted water, and then grilled on the bars of the
grate. About France the Escargots are dried, and prepared as a
lozenge [411] for coughs. Our common garden Snail is the Helix
aspersa. On the Continent for many years past the large Apple Snail,
together with a reddish-brown slug, the Arion Rufus, has been
employed in medicine for colds, sore throats, and a tendency to
consumption of the lungs. These contain limacine, and eight per
cent. of emollient mucilage, together with helicin, and uric acid
just under the shell. Many quarts of cooked garden snails are sold
every week to the labouring classes in Bristol; and an annual Feast
of Snails is held in the neighbourhood of Newcastle. Mrs. Delaney
in 1708, recommended that two or three snails should be boiled in
the barley-water which Mary takes who coughs at night. She must
know nothing of it; they give no manner of taste. Six or eight boiled
in water, and strained off, and put in a bottle would be a good way
of adding a spoonful of the same to every liquid thing she takes.
They must be fresh done every two or three days, otherwise they
grow too thick. The London Gazette, of March 23rd, 1739, tells
that Mrs. Joanna Stephens received from the Government five
thousand pounds for revealing the secret of her famous cure against
stone in the bladder, and gravel. This consisted chiefly of eggshells,
and snails, mixed with soap, honey and herbs. It was given in
powders, decoctions, and pills. To help weak eyes in South
Hampshire, snails and bread crust are made into a poultice.

A moderate dose of Parsley oil when taken in health, induces a
sense of warmth at the pit of the stomach, and of general well-being.
The powdered seeds may be taken in doses of from ten to fifteen
grains. The bruised leaves have successfully resolved tumours of
hard (scirrhous) cancer when cicuta, and mercury had failed.

Though used so commonly at table, facts have proved [412] that the
herb, especially when uncooked, may bring on epilepsy in certain
constitutions, or at least aggravate the fits in those who are subject
to them. Alston says: I have observed after eating plentifully of raw
Parsley, a fulness of the vessels about the head, and a tenderness of
the eyes (somewhat inflamed) and face, as if the cravat were too

The victors at the old Grecian games were crowned with chaplets of
Parsley leaves; and it is more than probable our present custom of
encircling a joint, and garnishing a dish with the herb had its origin
in this practice. The Romans named Parsley Apium, either
because their bee (apis) was specially fond of the herb, or from
apex, the head of a conqueror, who was crowned with it. The
tincture has a decided action on the lining membrane of the urinary
passages, and may be given usefully when this is inflamed, or
congested through catarrh, in doses of from five to ten drops three
times in the day with a spoonful or two of cold water.

Wild Parsley is probably identical with our garden herb. It is called
in the Western counties Eltrot, perhaps because associated with the
gambols of the elves.

The Fool's Parsley (oethusa cynapium) is a very common wayside
weed, and grows wild in our gardens. It differs botanically from all
other parsleys in having no bracts, but three narrow leaves at the
base of each umbel. This is a more or less poisonous herb,
producing, when eaten in a harmful quantity, convulsive and
epileptic symptoms; also an inflamed state of the eyelids, just such
as is seen in the scrofulous ophthalmia of children, the condition
being accompanied with swelling of glands and eruptions on the
skin. Therefore the tincture which is made (H.) of Fool's Parsley,
when given in small doses, and diluted, proves [413] very useful for
such ophthalmia, and for obviating the convulsive attacks of young
children, especially if connected with derangement of the digestive
organs. Also as a medicine it has done much good in some cases of
mental imbecility. And this tincture will correct the Summer
diarrhoea of infants, when the stools are watery, greenish, and
without smell. From three to ten drops of the tincture diluted to the
third decimal strength, should be given as a dose, and repeated at
intervals, for the symptoms just recited.

This variety is named oethusa, because of its acridity, from the
Greek verb aitho (to burn). It has faculties, says Gerard,
answerable to the common Hemlock, the poisonous effects being
inflamed stomach and bowels, giddiness, delirium, convulsions, and
insensibility. It is called also Dog's Parsley and Kicks.

The leaves of the Fool's Parsley are glossy beneath, with lanceolate
lobes, whereas the leaflets of other parsleys are woolly below.
Gerard calls it Dog's Parsley, and says: The whole plant is of a
naughty smell. It contains a peculiar alkaloid cynapina. The
tincture, third decimal strength, in half-drop doses, with a
teaspoonful of water, will prevent an infant from vomiting the breast
milk in thick curds.

Another variety which grows in chalky districts, the Stone Parsley,
Sison, or breakstone, was formerly known as the Hone-wort,
from curing a hone, or boil, on the cheek. It was believed at one
time to break a glass goblet or tumbler if rubbed against this article.

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