What is the effect of parsley on menstruation?

Parsley contains some substances in its essential oil that have emmenagogue effect and it is the reason why it is used to regulate menstruation. Although the evidence of this effect is not very abundant and there is no standardized norm, parsley has been used to promote the onset of menstruation for centuries, as well as for other medicinal purposes, especially diuretic. Women who wish to use parsley to regulate menstruation should seek professional advice and be aware of its possible adverse effects.

What is parsley?

Parsley is an aromatic herb from the carrot family. There are more than 30 types of parsley but the species Petroselinum crispum (P. sativum – Hoffman), known as Italian parsley in some areas, is the most widely used. It is currently present in gastronomy around the world but it is believed that it originates from the Asian countries that overlook the Mediterranean. The ancient Greeks already used it as a medicinal plant, as evidenced by the works of Galen and Hippocrates.

Use of parsley in menstruation

The emmenagogue effect of parsley, that is, increased blood flow to the pelvic area and uterus, would be responsible for promoting the onset of menstruation. Many naturopaths use it for this purpose and claim that parsley intake encourages the shedding of the endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) and the dilation of the cervix, thus favoring the start of menstruation. It can be an effective treatment in regulating irregular periods or forcing the onset of delays caused by stress, fibroids, or hormonal disorders.

How does it work?

Parsley's effect on menstruation is thought to be due to apiol Yet the myristicin, two substances present in the essential oil of parsley. Both substances have stimulating effect on the uterus, which can induce mild contractions and dilation of the cervix. The amounts of these substances present in parsley can vary depending on the growing and harvesting conditions. Generally, the concentration of apiol is much higher in seeds (∼2 – 7%) than in leaves (∼0.3%) and root (∼0.1%).

How is it used?

To encourage the onset of menstruation, parsley can be used in various ways. It can be ingested directly through the diet or use the parsley leaves to make juice or prepare infusion. They can also be taken parsley extract capsules and tablets with controlled amounts of active ingredients, which allows precise control of the doses ingested. It is not recommended to use the essential oil directly due to its possible toxic effects.

There is little literature and studies on the safe and effective dosage of parsley to treat menstruation, so there is no widely accepted recommendation. Also, the amount of parsley needed to induce menstruation can vary from woman to woman based on age, weight, and other factors. Andres Sierra, of the School of Higher Studies in Alternative and Complementary Medicines MASHACH (City of Puebla), recommends the following doses:

  • Juice: Blend enough parsley to obtain 1/3 of a glass of juice. Complete the remaining 2/3 of the glass with blended carrot. Take on an empty stomach twice a day.
  • cooking (tea)Directions: Bring two liters of water to a boil and add 10 medium stalks of parsley including the leaves, 1 tablespoon of oregano and 5 sprigs of epazote. Boil for 5 minutes, remove from heat and let stand covered for 10 minutes. This water must be consumed throughout the day as drinking water.

Both preparations can be taken for a month or more until menstruation begins.

action time

There are some reports of women experiencing the onset of menstruation within hours of consuming medicinal doses of parsley. However, the time of action can vary considerably depending on the amount ingested, the characteristics of the woman and, above all, the cause of the delayed menstruation. Due to the time required, it is often difficult to know exactly if the onset of menstruation was due to parsley or other factors.

Warnings and possible risks

Although the effects of parsley on the female reproductive system are considered mild, the fact that apiol and myristicin can stimulate uterine contractions means that pregnant women should avoid consuming parsley in medicinal doses. Doing so could cause a miscarriage.

Women using parsley to induce menstruation may need increase water consumption since the diuretic effect of parsley can cause dehydration. They should also be careful if they have kidney problems because parsley contains high amounts of oxalic acid, substance involved in the formation of kidney stones and related to some nutritional deficiencies. Other possible adverse effects, caused by hypotensive effect, may appear in the form of dizziness, vertigo, headache and seizures.

In some parts of the world where parsley grows wild, people who want to pick it up should be on the lookout for its resemblance to Aethusa cynapium (called little hemlock) and with Conium maculatum (hemlock), both highly toxic to humans.

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