Parsley and UTI

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I stumbled upon several articles about parsley and its beneficial effects for urinary tract in animals and humans. So I did some more digging and am sharing the results in this post.

Can Parsley cure my UTI?

Parsley contains several flavonoids such as apiin and luteolin, and its essential oil contains apiol and myristicin that in some studies is linked to antioxidant and antibacterial properties.

There were several studies that looked at the antibacterial properties of parsley especially in regards to E. coli and found that under certain circumstances parsley could inhibit growth of this bacteria. However, the studies that I am referencing were done in vitro (meaning that all the experiments were in a tube, not on humans or animals). It also looks like the type of extract (water based or alcohol based) influences the effectiveness of the plant against E. coli. Altogether, the studies are inconclusive and suggesting further investigation is needed. It is unclear, how much and in which form one should take parsley in order to achieve antibacterial benefits.

However, as we know, sometimes research data is lagging behind the centuries of folk medicinal plant knowledge. In many countries parsley is a known folk medicine that is used as a diuretic and an anti-inflammatory aid in a form of tea. There are over 1,500 reviews about Parsley Tea as well as Parsley Leaf Capsules on Amazon. The reviews range from “laxative and diuretic” to “sleep aid and great UTI prevention”. While, it could not hurt to try them, given that the price is only $6 I would not recommend using parsley tea or capsules as a treatment for UTI. Most likely its preventive effects are due to increased passing of urine rather than antibacterial properties.

Adding the following precautions according to WebMD in case you decide to try it for yourself.

  • Parsley is possibly safe for most adults when taken by mouth as medicine, short-term. In some people, parsley can cause allergic skin reactions.
  • Consuming very large amounts of parsley is likely unsafe, as this can cause other side effects like “tired blood” (anemia) and liver or kidney problems.
  • Also, parsley seed oil applied to the skin is likely unsafe as it can cause the skin to become extra sensitive to the sun and cause a rash. Not enough is known about the safety of applying parsley root and leaf to the skin.

Special Precautions & Warnings:

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Parsley in food amounts is fine, but parsley in larger medicinal amounts is likely unsafe when taken by mouth during pregnancy. Parsley has been used to cause an abortion and to start menstrual flow. In addition, developing evidence suggests that taking An-Tai-Yin, an herbal combination product containing parsley and dong quai, during the first three months of pregnancy increases the risk of serious birth defects. If you are pregnant, stick with using only the amount of parsley typically found in food.

Not enough is known about the safety of using parsley in medicinal amounts during breast-feeding. It’s best not to use more than typical food amounts of parsley.

Diabetes: Parsley might lower blood sugar levels. Watch for signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) and monitor your blood sugar carefully if you have diabetes and use parsley.

Fluid retention (edema): There is a concern that parsley might cause the body to hold onto sodium (salt), and this increases water retention.

High blood pressure: There is a concern that parsley might cause the body to hold onto sodium (salt), and this could make high blood pressure worse.

Kidney disease: Don’t take parsley if you have kidney disease. Parsley contains chemicals that can make kidney disease worse.

Surgery: Parsley might lower blood glucose levels and could interfere with blood sugar control during and after surgical procedures. Stop using parsley at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.

Have you used parsley to prevent UTI? Please share your experience, I would love to hear from you.

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