Life Extension Magazine®
Sprigs of parsley that high in anti-inflammatory properties

Issue: Mar 2019


Commonly seen as a mere garnish, flavonoid-rich parsley contains several compounds now being studied for their effects against arthritis, inflammation, diabetes, and cancer.

Scientifically reviewed by: Holli Ryan, RD, LD/N, on March 2021.

Native to the Mediterranean region, parsley is a culinary herb cultivated around the world. Although parsley is often regarded only as a garnish or topping to add color and fresh flavor to dishes, it is, in fact, a nutritional powerhouse. Include parsley in your daily diet whenever possible to benefit from its rich nutritional compounds.

Parsley is also a rich source of flavonoid compounds and other nutrients that have potent anti-mutagenic and anti-inflammatory properties. Compounds found in parsley in small amounts such as apigenin, eugenol, and myricetin are being actively studied as options for treatment or prevention of various conditions.

What you need to know

Parsley–It’s not just a plate decoration or addition of color to a dull dish. It’s been found to help reduce inflammation and diabetes, while also having anticancer effects. Parsley makes an excellent complement to any healthy meal. Discover more in this article.

Arthritis and Inflammation

Several compounds in parsley have been shown to reduce inflammation. This effect can help guard against and reduce the symptoms of many chronic, age-related diseases.

For example, eugenol has been studied in animal models of arthritis.1,2 In these studies, treatment with this component of parsley reversed the redness and swelling around joints. At the same time, the inflammatory cells and compounds that normally accompany arthritis were reduced in the involved joints.


Diet plays an important role in the control of type II diabetes and parsley can provide a powerful aid. Myricetin, found in parsley, reduces insulin resistance.3,4 Not only does it help the body respond better to its own insulin, but it mimics the action of insulin, improving glucose and fat metabolism.

Anticancer Effects

Many compounds found in parsley have demonstrated the ability to prevent and/or treat various forms of cancer.5-7

High-heat grilling of meats can create cancer-causing chemicals called heterocyclic amines. Parsley has been found to block these and other dangerous compounds, preventing the damage to DNA that can lead to cancer.8

Compounds in parsley may help treat existing tumors. In an animal model, apigenin stopped the growth of aggressive human breast cancer tumors, even inducing cell death of the cancer cells.9


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  2. Biol Pharm Bull. 2012;35(10):1818-20.
  3. Food Science and Human Wellness. 2012;1(1):19-25.
  4. FASEB J. 2017 Jun;31(6):2603-11.
  5. J Cell Biochem. 2018 Oct 2.
  6. Nutrients. 2017 Dec 17;9(12).
  7. Cell Physiol Biochem. 2018;48(3):1230-44.
  8. Mutat Res. 2002 Nov 26;521(1-2):57-72.
  9. Horm Cancer. 2012 Aug;3(4):160-71.