The International Herb Association established National Herb Week in 1991, and every year since 1995 they have chosen an Herb of the Year. The Herb of the Year must fulfill its mandate by being useful in at least two out of three categories: medicinal, culinary or decorative. This year that herb is parsley, Petroselinum crispum, and it qualifies on all counts.
Parsley was cultivated as early as the third century BC. The Greeks tied it to their horses before battles to make them impervious to weapons. The Romans used it as a garnish and flavoring and decorated their tables and floors with it to absorb unpleasant odors. Medieval Europeans believed that if you spoke your enemy’s name while plucking a sprig of parsley, your enemy would drop dead. Parsley came to the U.S. with the early settlers, and it continued to grow widely throughout the country as a culinary herb. We don’t use it much to kill enemies anymore.
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