Scientific Name:Pastinaca sativa
About this Herb:The parsnip is a root vegetable related to the carrot. Parsnips resemble carrots, but are paler in color than most carrots, and have a sweeter taste, especially when cooked. The buttery, slightly spicy, sweet flavor of cooked mature parsnips (often picked after the first frost) is reminiscent of butterscotch, honey, and subtle cardamom.
While the root of the parsnip is edible, the handling of its shoots and leaves requires protective clothing. Like many other members of the Apiaceae family, the parsnip contains furanocoumarin, a photosensitive chemical that causes a condition known as phytophotodermatitis. The condition is a type of chemical burn rather than an allergic reaction and should be treated as such. Symptoms include redness, burning, tingling, and blisters (often in the shape of the streak where the plant juices brushed against the body) within 24 to 48 hours of exposure.
Wild Parsnip is a member of the Umbelliferae (parsnip) family. They have a tough, creamy white root, tapering somewhat from the crown, from which arises the erect stem, 30 to 60 cm high. The leaf-stalks are about 20 cm long, the leaves divided into several pairs of leaflets, each 2 to 5 cm long, and up to 2cm wide. All the leaflets are finely toothed at their margins and softly hairy, especially on the underside. The flowers are yellow and in umbels at the ends of the stems, similar to the carrot. The flowers of the cultivated Parsnip are a deeper yellow color than those of the wild plant.
Common Names:Wild Parsnip
Uses:While parsnips can be eaten raw, they are more commonly served cooked. They can be boiled, roasted or used in stews, soups and casseroles. Be sure to wash and shave the root before ingesting.
The parsnip is richer in vitamins and minerals than its close relative, the carrot. Parsnip is rich in vitamins (B1, B2, C), minerals, potassium and dietetic fibers. These endow it with nutritive diuretic, antioxidant and anti-rheumatic properties.
The plant is recommended for treating kidney diseases, for controlling obesity and cellulite. To those suffering from anemia or asthenia, the natural consumption of parsnip is recommended as food. Also, it is recommended for states of convalescence or for stimulating growth.
Applications:Eating: Only the root is edible. It can be enjoyed as much as you like.
Decoction: Made from the root (see methods page for instructions), drink 1 cup a day for 3 consecutive days.
Tea: Cleanse, and slice a couple of Parsnips, and boil them in a quart of water from two to three hours, and strain. Drink 1 cup per day.