The unassuming parsley has many healing properties, including the ability to fight cancer

Parsley can do so much more than just make meals look, smell, and taste nice. An article in Natural Health 365 reported that it is packed with nutrients that can prevent all kinds of disease, up to and including cancer.

The herb contains numerous natural compounds that display strong antioxidant activity. Antioxidants protect the vulnerable cells that make up the tissues and organs of the body from oxidative stress that would otherwise destroy them.

Phytonutrients in parsley bolster the efficiency of the liver when it comes to detoxifying harmful compounds in the blood. They also improve vision and support healthy function of the eyes.(Related: These herbs promote overall well-being.)

Apigenin in parsley kills cancer cells

Perhaps the most interesting property of parsley is its ability to fight cancer. The herb contains plenty of apigenin, a phytonutrient that has been extensively studied for its anticancer properties. As of 2017, the PubMed search engine has indexed more than 600 articles on the effects of parsley and apigenin against different kinds of cancers.

One such research article came out in the September 2015 issue of the scientific journal Oncotarget. The article was the first to describe the inhibitory effects of apigenin on IKKa.

IKKA is an enzyme responsible for the growth and progress of cancer. In the report, apigenin slows the production of this enzyme down to a halt, thereby preventing the disease from progressing any further.

Other studies on apigenin indicated similar effects on different kinds of cancer. A 2008 clinical trial held by Saga University (SU) used a combination of apigenin and green tea – another foodstuff that is loaded with nutrients – on colon cancer cells.

A 2012 study by researchers from the University of Missouri (MU) tested the phytonutrient’s effect on breast cancer cells. And a 2013 study used lung cancer cells as the target.

All the aforementioned tests reported that apigenin was able to prevent the growth of cancer cells or even kill the cells. In the case of the 2013 study, the nutrient destroyed up to 86 percent of the lung cancer cells.

Get all the apigenin you need from a pinch of dried parsley

Every 100 grams of fresh parsley has anywhere from 225 to 300 milligrams of apigenin. Ten milligrams of the nutrient is enough to enjoy its cancer-fighting benefits, which translates to a tablespoon of chopped herb each day.

Heat decreases the benefits of parsley. If you need to cook it, save it for the very end of the process and don’t let it cook longer than necessary.

Interestingly, the dried form of the herb has much more potent levels of the apigenin. A whopping 13,000 milligrams of the phytochemical can be found in 100 grams of dried parsley. A pinch of it is enough to protect you from cancer.

Parsley is a very common and cheap herb. If you somehow cannot afford or acquire it, there are other sources of apigenin out there. Celery, chamomile flower tea, grapefruit, peppermint, rutabaga, and thyme have the phytonutrient, as well as other benefits.

Other anti-cancer compounds in parsley

Apigenin is not the only anti-cancer compound found in parsley. The herb also has essential oils that are effective against specific carcinogens.

Additionally, parsley has an abundance of carotenoids, another group of antioxidant phytonutrients that prevent cancer by shielding cells from inflammation. Its ability to protect healthy cells and tissues from the negative effects of many pharmaceutical drugs and toxic substances make it a chemoprotective food.

In addition to its antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, parsley is bursting with vitamins. It has vitamins A, C, and E, beta-carotene, chlorophyll, cryptoxanthin, folate, lutein, and zeaxanthin. It also has fibers that help digestion and more vitamin K than kale.

For more articles about the many ways that parsley can protect you from cancer, visit

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