What can I substitute for parsley?

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “What can I substitute for parsley?” with an in-depth analysis of parsley along with some alternatives of parsley as well as their advantages and disadvantages. 

What can I substitute for parsley?

Parsley can be best substituted with oregano, fresh chives, coconut amino, canola oil, basil. 

Nearly 80% of the African and Asian population use traditional medicines predominantly consisting of herbal sources. Herbal medications are claimed and widely believed to be beneficial; however, there are reported cases of poisoning and toxicity associated with their use. These untoward effects may be due to contaminant constituents, such as alkaloids, microbes, pesticides, and metals, or due to their metabolites in the body (1).

What is parsley? 

Parsley is a hardy, biennial. The growth of parsley is treated like an annual. Concerning garnish and flavour, parsley is the most widely grown herb. Parsley is of two different types which are moss-curled and flat-leaf. A rosette of leaves is formed by a moss curl. These leaves are finely cut and tightly curled.

The parsley is known in traditional medicine as an effective remedy against digestive disorders, nephritis, kidney trouble, high blood pressure, and eye disorders. The effect relates to the presence of biologically active compounds in the leaves in stems. Parsley is rich in secondary metabolites of a wide spectrum of biological activities, such as phenylpropanoid apiol, oleanolic acid, furanocoumarin isoimperatorin and oxypeucedanin. It is also rich in vitamin C (2).

Substitutes of Parsley

Parsley has multiple alternatives. Following are some substitutes of parsley

Oregano 

Oregano is a herb whose main function is to provide flavour to common food amounts. The leaves of oregano are olive green and the colour of its flower is purple. It has many similarities with other herbs like mint, thyme, and basil. 

Oregano is a natural antioxidant. It has much potential for lowering blood pressure,  modulation of steroid metabolism or of detoxification enzymes, interference with calcium-transport and favorable effects on lipid and lipoprotein profiles.cholesterol levels in our bodies. Oregano is also used to lower pain by promoting smooth muscle relaxation and it has anti-inflammatory properties. It is anti-carcinogenic and helps to protect us from cancer. These properties are due to the presence of Luteolin and Apigenin, which are the main phytochemicals of oregano (3).

Oregano is lethal for the body when it is taken in a large amount.  Oregano is an allergen so it can cause rashes on the body, because the essential oils have been increasingly reported to cause allergic contact dermatitis (4). It also has some diuretic effects.

Fresh chives 

Fresh chive is a flowering plant that belongs to the Amaryllidaceae family. Common onions, garlic, shallot, leek, scallion, and Chinese onion are the intimate relatives of fresh chives.

A lot of vitamin C is present in chives. These vitamins are very good to prevent us from common cold and fever. Apart from vitamin C, a lot of other nutrients like potassium, vitamin A, iron, thiamin, and beta carotene are also present in fresh chives. Some benefits of these nutrients are that they help to maintain blood pressure. Immunity can also be enhanced. Many studies showed a low incidence of stomach, colorectal, prostate, esophagus cancers and female breast carcinoma in societies with high Allium vegetables consumption (5).

Chives are not safe to use for skin as these can cause allergies. Digestive problems can occur from the consumption of chives. Blood pressure problems like high blood pressure problems are seen in people who consume fresh chives.

Coconut amino 

Coconut amino is a healthy substitute for parsley and is made by  the fermentation of coconut water and sap of coconut palm by Saccharomyces cerevisiae (6)using sea salt and fermented sap of coconut palm. Coconut amino is  in fact coconut vinegar and is utilized to make various food products. As its consistency and colour resemble much of parsley, it can easily replace parsley.

Coconut amino has many advantages like it has a good content of protein which is very healthy for our bones. Coconut amino contains  phenolic compounds and organic acids, such as citric acid, malic acid, tartaric acid, acetic acid, and lactic acid resulting from the fermentation, which are beneficial for health (6).amino acids that help to prevent diabetes and some other diseases like heart issues. Coconut amino Is anti-carcinogenic and thus protects us from the risk of cancer, due to its antioxidative properties.

Coconut amino also has some drawbacks like their cost is very high and there is also an availability issue as it is available in all regions. Besides this, coconut amino can act as an allergen in certain people and cause itching and redness of the skin. Reports of immunoglobulin E (IgE)-mediated coconut allergy are rare and only a handful of cases have been reported in the literature in adults and children (7). 

Canola oil 

Canola oil can be obtained from various rapeseeds which are low in erucic acid. Canola oil can be used for edible purposes as well as for industrial purposes. An unopened bottle of shelf life can be around two years if it is kept under proper storage. It is mandatory to check il before utilizing it.

The benefit of canola oil is that it contains a high amount of nutrients which are essential to maintain body functions. Canola oil is composed of omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids which make it the healthiest cooking oil. It also helps to fight acne problems.

A high ratio of omega 3 fatty acids and omega 6 fatty acids which are present in canola oil can enhance the risk of certain diseases like Alzheimer’s disease. A high quantity of fatty acids can also lead to obesity. Trans fats present in canola oil are also harmful to us. Although these are present in low amounts they are not good even in low quantities.

Marjoram

Sweet marjoram is characterized by a strong spicy and pleasant odor. The flavor is fragrant, spicy, slightly sharp, bitterish and camphoraceous. Though a perennial, it is

treated as an annual under cultivation. The color of the dried herb is light green with a slight grayish tint. Essential oils from aromatic and medicinal plants have been known since antiquity to possess biological activity, notably antibacterial, antifungal as well as antioxidant properties. Marjoram has properties of antiseptic, antispasmodic, carminative, stimulant, expectorant and nerve tonic. It functions as a cure for asthma, coughs, indigestion, rheumatism, toothache and heart conditions (8).

Basil 

Basil is also known as great basil belonging to the family Lamiaceae. Basil is a tender plant that is utilized in cuisines all over the whole world. Basil has numerous types and many related species of basil also exist.

Basil has a lot of potentials to protect us against infections. Blood sugar levels can be lowered by using basils and patients with high cholesterol levels are also advised to use basil (9). 

Basil is not beneficial if it is consumed in high quantities.

Other FAQs about Parsley that you may be interested in.

How to preserve Italian parsley

How to preserve parsley

How long does parsley last in the fridge?

Conclusion

In this brief article, we have answered the question, “What can I substitute for parsley?” with an in-depth analysis of parsley along with some alternatives of parsley as well as their advantages and disadvantages. 

References

  1. Kohzadi, Shadi, et al. Concentration, source, and potential human health risk of heavy metals in the commonly consumed medicinal plants. Biol trace elem res, 2019, 187, 41-50.
  2. Sitarek-Andrzejczyk, Monika, Jarosław Przybył, and Marek Gajewski. The effect of post-harvest treatment and storage conditions on vitamin C content in two leafy parsley cultivars. International scientific conference RURAL DEVELOP, 2017
  3. Prakash, Dhan, Charu Gupta, and Girish Sharma. Importance of phytochemicals in nutraceuticals. J Chin Med Res Develop, 2012, 1, 70-78.  
  4. Jennifer Ragi, M. D., M. D. Amy Pappert, and M. D. Babar Rao. Oregano extract ointment for wound healing: a randomized, double-blind, petrolatum-controlled study evaluating efficacy. J Drug Dermatol, 2011, 10, 1168-1172.
  5. Al-Snafi, Ali Esmail. Pharmacological effects of Allium species grown in Iraq. An overview. Int J Pharmaceut health care Res, 2013, 1, 132-147.
  6. Malakul, Wachirawadee, et al. Novel coconut vinegar attenuates hepatic and vascular oxidative stress in rats fed a high-cholesterol diet. Front nutr, 2022, 156.
  7. Anagnostou K. Coconut Allergy Revisited. Children, 2017, 4, 85. 
  8. Peter, Kuruppacharil V., ed. Handbook of herbs and spices: volume 3. Woodhead publishing, 2006.
  9. Kaur, Simranjeet, et al. An overview of Tulsi (Holy basil). Euro J Molec Clin Med, 2020, 7, 2020.