“The Garden is the Poor Man’s Apothecary”~German Proverb

Parsley: a member of the carrot, parsnip and celery family.  We always grow parsley and usually start our own plants from seed.  Slow to germinate, there’s an old saying that parsley must go to the devil and back seven times before it comes up and the devil likes it so much he always keeps some.  The flat-leafed Italian variety is best for cooking.  Parsley is one of the herbs preferred by the Eastern Black swallowtail butterfly to lay its eggs on.  If you spot some funny looking caterpillars eating your parsley or dill don’t be alarmed, they will transform into lovely butterflies.  There’s nothing like fresh parsley in leek and potato soup made from your own vegetables.  Home grown onions can be substituted for the leeks.

Let thy kitchen be thy apothecary;
and, Let foods be your medicine.
–  Hippocratus

From Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs:

Parsley has the misfortune of being a token herb on plates of steak and fish.  But that resilient sprig is really edible and its high chlorophyll content makes it a natural breath sweetener.

The Romans are said to have used it at orgies to cover up the smell of alcohol on their breath, while aiding in digestion. (Who knew this even mattered at a Roman orgy?)

And there’s the unflattering reference remark that was once made about those who looked as if at death’s door: “That man’s in need of parsley.” (Corpses were sprinkled with parsley to deodorize them.)

*First two images of parsley in garden are of ours.

In ancient Greece parsley was used in funeral ceremonies long before it was thought of as a garnish.  It was also placed in wreaths given to winning athletes because the Greeks believed that the god Hercules had chosen parsley for his garlands.  And for athletic horses, the greens were thought to give stamina to win races.

The Greeks also associated parsley with oblivion and death.  According to one legend, parsley sprang up where the blood of the Greek hero Archemorus was spilled when he was eaten by serpents.  The Greeks used the wreaths for graves.

By the Middle Ages, parsley had made its appearance in herbal medicines. It has been given credit for curing a great range of human ills, especially those having to do with kidneys and liver.  It has also been used against plague, asthma, dropsy, and jaundice as a carminative, an emmenagogue, and an aide to digestion.

*A carminative is an herb or preparation that either prevents formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract, or facilitates the expulsion of said gas, thereby combating flatulence.

*An emmenagogue is an herb that has the ability to provoke menstruation and may be mild or dangerously potent.  More on this subject at: http://www.sisterzeus.com/Emmeno.htm

“Garlic is as good as ten mothers.”~

From A Modern Herbal:

Culpepper tells us:

‘It is very comfortable to the stomach…good for wind and to remove obstructions both of the liver and spleen…Galen commendeth it for the falling sickness…the seed is effectual to break the stone and ease the pains and torments thereof…The leaves of parsley laid to the eyes that are inflamed with heat or swollen, relieves them if it be used with bread or meat…The juice dropped into the ears with a little wine easeth the pains.’

Of our Garden Parsley (which he calls Parsele) Gerard says, ‘It is delightful to the taste and agreeable to the stomache,’ also ‘the roots or seeds boiled in ale and drank, cast foorth strong venome or poyson; but the seed is the strongest part of the herbe.’

Though the medicinal virtues of Parsley are still fully recognized, in former times it was considered a remedy for more disorders than it is now used for. Its imagined quality of destroying poison, to which Gerard refers, was probably attributed to the plant from its remarkable power of overcoming strong scents, even the odour of garlic being rendered almost imperceptible when mingled with that of Parsley.~

“Eat leeks in oile and ramsines in May,
And all the year after physicians may play.
(Ramsines were old-fashioned broad-leafed leeks.)

Royalty free images except for tiny bunny

2 responses to ““The Garden is the Poor Man’s Apothecary”~German Proverb

  1. Your posts are always so interesting and I love reading them, even though I don’t say all the time.

    The pictures a wonderful to look at. I’m so ready to see the heads of crotus pushing through the ground.


  2. Thanks Autumn. Yes, indeed. I’m so eager for spring.


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