previous next


Parsley1 is held in universal esteem; for we find sprigs of it swimming in the draughts of milk given us to drink in country-places; and we know that as a seasoning for sauces, it is looked upon with peculiar favour. Applied to the eyes with honey, which must also be fomented from time to time with a warm decoction of it, it has a most marvellous efficacy in cases of defluxion of those organs or of other parts of the body; as also when beaten up and applied by itself, or in combination with bread or with polenta. Fish, too, when found to be in an ailing state in the preserves, are greatly refreshed by giving them green parsley. As to the opinions entertained upon it among the learned, there is not a single production dug out of the earth in reference to which a greater diversity exists.

Parsley is distinguished as male and female:2 according to Chrysippus, the female plant has a hard leaf and more curled than the other, a thick stem, and an acrid, hot taste. Dionysius says, that the female is darker than the other kind, has a shorter root, and engenders small worms.3 Both of these writers, however, agree in saying that neither kind of parsley should be admitted into the number of our aliments; indeed, they look upon it as nothing less than sacrilege to do so, seeing that parsley is consecrated to the funereal feasts in honour of the dead. They say, too, that it is injurious to the eyesight, that the stalk of the female plant engenders small worms, for which reason it is that those who eat of it become barren—males as well as females; and that children suckled by females who live on a parsley diet, are sure to be epileptic. They agree, however, in stating that the male plant is not so injurious in its effects as the female, and that it is for this reason that it is not absolutely condemned and classed among the forbidden plants. The leaves of it, employed as a cataplasm, are used for dispersing hard tumours4 in the mamillæ; and when boiled in water, it makes it more agreeable to drink. The juice of the root more particularly, mixed with wine, allays the pains of lumbago, and, injected into the ears, it diminishes hardness of hearing. The seed of it acts as a diuretic, promotes the menstrual discharge, and brings away the afterbirth.

Bruises and livid spots, if fomented with a decoction of parsley-seeed, will resume their natural colour. Applied topically, with the white of egg, or boiled in water, and then drunk, it is remedial for affections of the kidneys; and beaten up in cold water it is a cure for ulcers of the mouth. The seed, mixed with wine, or the root, taken with old wine, has the effect of breaking calculi in the bladder. The seed, too, is given in white wine, to persons afflicted with the jaundice.

1 This is not consistent with fact.

2 This distinction, Fée says, cannot be admitted.

3 Or maggots.

4 This belief in its efficacy, Fée says, still exists.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

load focus Latin (Karl Friedrich Theodor Mayhoff, 1906)
hide Places (automatically extracted)

View a map of the most frequently mentioned places in this document.

hide References (5 total)
hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: