Root - raw or cooked. They can be grated into salads, baked or added to soups etc. The root is harvested from autumn until new growth commences in the spring. It is hardy enough to be left in the ground during the winter, though can also be harvested in late autumn or early winter and stored in a cool, frost-free place, making sure that it does not dry out. Alternatively, the root can be cut into slices and then dried in a cool oven. The root has a delicious flavour, intermediate between that of celery and parsley but with a nuttier flavour. A tea is made from the fresh or dried leaves, it is rich in vitamin C.An essential oil is obtained mainly from the leaves - used as a food flavouring.
Caution is advised on the internal use of this herb, especially in the form of the essential oil. Excessive doses can cause liver and kidney damage, nerve inflammation and gastro-intestinal haemorrhage. It should not be prescribed for pregnant women or people with kidney diseases. A poultice of the leaves has been applied externally to soothe bites and stings, it is also said to be of value in treating tumours of a cancerous nature. It has been used to treat eye infections, whilst a wad of cotton soaked in the juice will relieve toothache or earache. It is also said to prevent hair loss and to make freckles disappear.If the leaves are kept close to the breasts of a nursing mother for a few days, the milk flow will cease.
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A form of P. crispum (parsley) grown mainly for its enlarged edible root, the leaves can be used in all the ways that parsley is used and they are said to be hardier than parsley. Superficially similar to several poisonous species. A good bee plant.A good companion plant, especially for growing near roses, tomatoes, carrots, chives and asparagus, giving them all added vigour and protection against certain pests, especially carrot root fly and rose beetles.
Problems, pests & diseases
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