It is a bright green biennial herb, often used as spice. It is common in Middle Eastern, European, and American cooking. Parsley is used for its leaf in much the same way as coriander (which is also known as Chinese parsley or cilantro), although parsley has a milder flavor. Two forms of parsley are used as herbs: curly leaf (P. crispum) and Italian, or flat leaf (P. neapolitanum). Curly leaf parsley is often used as a garnish. One of the compounds of the essential oil is apiol. The use of curly leaf parsley may be favored by some because it cannot be confused with poison hemlock, like flat leaf parsley or chervil.
When added to tea may be used as an enema. Chinese and German herbologists recommend parsley tea to help control high blood pressure, and the Cherokees used it as a tonic to strengthen the bladder. It is also often used as an emmenagogue. Parsley also appears to increase diuresis by inhibiting the Na+/K+-ATPase pump in the kidney, thereby enhancing sodium and water excretion while increasing potassium reabsorption. It is also valued as an aquaretic. When crushed and rubbed on the skin, parsley can reduce itching in mosquito bites. It’s commonly believed that when chewed, parsley can freshen bad breath. However, some people regard this as a myth – it is no more effective than chewing any other substance (such as chewing gum).
In Central and Eastern Europe and in West Asia, many dishes are served with fresh green chopped parsley sprinkled on top. Green parsley is often used as a garnish. The fresh flavor of the green parsley goes extremely well with potato dishes (French fries, boiled buttered potatoes or mashed potato), with rice dishes with fish, fried chicken, lamb or goose, steaks, meat or vegetable stews. In Southern and Central Europe, parsley is part of bouquet garni, a bundle of fresh herbs used to flavor stocks, soups, and sauces. Freshly chopped green parsley is used as a topping for soups like chicken soup, green salads or salads like Salad Olivier, on open sandwiches with cold cuts. Parsley is a key ingredient in several West Asian salads, e.g., tabbouleh (the national dish of Lebanon, also called terchots by Armenians from Van, historic Armenia). Persillade is mixture of chopped garlic and chopped parsley in the French cuisine. Root parsley is very common in Central and Eastern European cuisines, where it is used as soup vegetable in many soups and in most meat or vegetable stews and casseroles.