Is Parsley Oil Worth Trying?

Parsley oil has great health benefits but you must use it with caution. It can be irritating and it can cause drug interactions. But that’s not all! If ingested, it can be fatal.

You read that right. Parsley oil is serious stuff. Here’s more about this unique essential oil.

Parsley oil: properties, benefits, and uses

Parsley Essential Oil Properties

Botanical Name

There are a couple botanical names for parsley. The main ones you will see are Petroselinum crispum or Petroselinum sativum.

Color and smell

Parsley oil ranges in color from clear to very pale yellow. And, even though the seeds are used to make the oil, it still smells like parsley. You know herbaceous, fresh and a little spicy.

What’s in the oil?

There is a lot of variability in the chemical composition of parsley essential oil. But apiole, myristicin, alpha-pinene and beta-pinene are the predominant compounds.

Limonene, dillapiole, and elemicin have also been reported.

Parsley Oil Benefits

The oil is:

  • antioxidant
  • antibacterial
  • antifungal
  • antiviral
  • immune suppressing
  • insecticidal

Here’s more on parsley oil benefits.

It is antioxidant

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There are a few studies that suggest parsley essential oil is antioxidant like this one from the University of California. It tested combinations of parsley, thyme, clove leaf, cinnamon leaf and rose oils. The study found the thyme and clove leaf combination was the most antioxidant. But the clove leaf-parsley and the thyme-parsley combos were the next best antioxidant mixtures. Not bad at all!

A follow-up study noted the compounds myristicin and alpha-pinene had high antioxidant activity.

It may be antibacterial

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There is some debate on the antibacterial nature of parsley oil.

For instance, this 2016 study tested the oil on seven bacterial species. They included Staphylococcus aureus, Listeria monocytogenes, and Salmonella enterica. When compared to the control, parsley oil inhibited and killed all the bacteria tested.

That’s awesome, right?

But then there is a 2017 study that tested lovage, basil, thyme and parsley oils too. The bacteria used here included Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, and Salmonella typhimurium. The study found thyme had very strong antibacterial benefits. But parsley and lovage essential oils did not have any. So here parsley oil did not show it was antibacterial.

Bummer! I think we need more studies to clarify parsley’s antibacterial nature.

It is antifungal

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The same 2016 study just mentioned also looked at the oil’s antifungal benefits. It found the oil inhibited and killed all the fungi tested.

It has antiviral benefits too

This isn’t an essential oil benefit you see everyday.

Check out this 2010 study published in the Journal of Applied Sciences Research. It looked at the antiviral activity of some essential oils on the herpes simplex virus 1. The oils tested included: basil, coriander, cumin, garlic, onion, and parsley.

The results showed garlic oil had the best antiviral benefits, followed by coriander seed and parsley oils.

That’s pretty neat!

It may suppress your immune system

Here is another benefit you don’t see every day.

Parsley has long been used to treat allergies, autoimmune conditions and inflammation. And this 2012 animal study attempted to verify if parsley oil shares these benefits.

The study found the oil:

may be able to suppress the cellular and humoral immune response … and the functions of macrophages as the main innate immune cells …

That’s great news since most treatments for autoimmune or inflammatory conditions involve steroids.

The oil is insecticidal

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This 2015 study looked at the larvicidal nature of 12 essential oils on mosquitoes. The oils studied here included ajowan, caraway, carrot seed, celery, cumin, dill, and parsley. All these oils were very effective against the larvae, even in low doses. And the compounds – myristicin and apiol – had strong insecticidal benefits too.

Another study from 2016 found parsley oil worked well against mosquitoes, especially the carrier for dengue fever. The study noted the oil:

promises to form a new larvicide and adulticide against … strains of A. aegypti.


Parsley Oil Uses

This essential oil must be used with caution since it can be irritating. And it can cause drug interactions too. Plus if it is ever accidentally ingested, it can be fatal. So please use the oil with caution and store it in a safe place, out of the reach of kids and pets.

I should also mention apiole, one of the main compounds in parsley oil, may cause abortions. So you should avoid using this oil if you are pregnant, planning to be or breastfeeding.

If you do decide to use the oil, talk to your doctor first. Make sure it won’t interact with any medications you may be taking. And find out if it can help you with any allergies, chronic inflammation or autoimmune disorders you may have.

Also patch test the oil properly. It can irritate your skin so less is more with this oil.

You can also blend parsley oil with other herb-like, spicy oils too. So you can diffuse it with tea tree, clary sage, and even orange essential oil.


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