Taste & Travel - - Taste & Travel Kitchen -

PCRISPUM is a medic­i­nal and culi­nary herb with an­cient ori­gins. We know it as a com­mon kitchen herb with curly leaves used as dec­o­ra­tion on hors d’oeu­vres plates as well as in cook­ing, ei­ther as seeds, leaves or roots be­cause all parts of this plant are ed­i­ble. Be­sides look­ing at­trac­tive as a gar­nish on a din­ner plate, fresh pars­ley leaves are rich in vi­ta­min C and vi­ta­min K. Another pro for pars­ley: the juice from fresh pars­ley roots helps to heal wounds and re­duces swellings. Chew­ing the leaves also wards off bad breath from foods such as gar­lic. Some say pars­ley was once used to ward off drunk­en­ness.

Na­tive to the Mediter­ranean area, this pop­u­lar aro­matic herb in the fam­ily Api­aceae is cul­ti­vated in many coun­tries. The plain-leaved type is pre­ferred in Europe but in Eng­land, where it was first cul­ti­vated as a mar­ket-gar­den herb in 1548, the curly leaved va­ri­ety is grown. It is now com­pletely nat­u­ral­ized in Eng­land, Scot­land and Ire­land. In North Amer­ica, both va­ri­eties are avail­able.

Pars­ley’s use as both a medic­i­nal and sa­cred plant dates from very an­cient Greek times. In fact, the name it­self is de­rived from the Greek word for rock, which is pe­tra and the word for cel­ery, which is seli­non. Ac­cord­ing to the Guide to Herbal Reme­dies pub­lished by Brock­hamp­ton Press, this herb is “slightly aro­matic and con­tains mu­cilage, sugar, volatile oils and apiin.” It goes on to say that a poul­tice of pars­ley leaves is “ef­fec­tive against bites and stings of

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