Parsley seed (Petroselini fructus)

Published March 2, 1989.
List of German Commission E Monographs (Phytotherapy)


Name of Drug

Petroselini fructus, parsley fruit, parsley seed.

Composition of Drug

Parsley seed consists of the dried ripe fruits of Petroselinum crispum (Miller) Nyman ex A. W. Hill [Fam. Apiaceae], as well as preparations thereof.


Parsley seed is used for ailments and complaints of the gastrointestinal tract, as well as the kidney and lower urinary tract, and for stimulating digestion.

The claimed efficacy has not been sufficiently documented.


Large doses of parsley seed essential oil and of the phenylpropane derivative it contains, apiol, bring about vascular congestion and increased contractility of the smooth muscle of the bladder, intestines, and especially the uterus.

Parsley seed and oil are therefore often used to bring about abortion.

After taking parsley seed preparations, the renal epithelium becomes irritated or damaged; cardiac arrhythmias have also been described.

Large doses of apiol can lead to fatty liver, emaciation, extensive mucosal bleeding, and inflammatory hemorrhagic infiltration of the gastrointestinal tract, hemoglobulinuria, methemoglobulinuria, and anuria.

In animal experiments, myristicin, present in the essential oil, has been shown to be bound to mouse-liver DNA. No hepatocarcinogenic effects have been observed with either myristicin or apiol.

The toxicological risk of aqueous extracts [i.e., teas] from parsley seeds is less, because of the smaller essential oil content.


Since the efficacy of parsley seed and preparations thereof is not documented, a therapeutic application cannot be justified because of high risks.