A quick Google with "Parsley Kidney Cleanse", would return a search results of blogs and personal articles where it claims how regularly drinking refrigerated filtered water boiled with Parsley helps in cleaning Kidney from accumulated Salt.

Some of these claims like

How To Clean Your Kidneys | Kidney Cleanse

Kidney Cleanse: Second Preparation | Ingredients:

  • 4 bunches of fresh parsley

Rinse with very hot water to cleanse it. Add the parsley to 1 quart of water and boil for 5 minutes. Drink 1/4 cup as soon as it is cool enough. Refrigerate a pint and freeze 1 pint. Drink daily for 3 weeks: 3/4 cup of the root mixture and 1/2 cup of the parsley water

Simple Kidney Cleanse With Parsley

Easy Steps For Kidney Cleanse.

Follow these easy steps for kidney cleanse.

  1. Cut a bunch of parsley into smaller pieces.
  2. Boil the parsley in a pot of water for 10 minutes.
  3. Let it cool down and then sieve and discard the parsley.
  4. Pour the filtered water into bottles or any container and keep in fridge.
  5. Drink one glass of the water daily.
  6. You should notice the sediments in your urine.
  7. You should feel a sense of well-being after that.

Does Parsley Clean the Kidneys?

What's In It?

Parsley owes its diuretic effect to the presence of two ingredients, apiol and myristicin, which are found in parsley oil. The amount of these substances varies across the more than 30 varieties of parsley, and the amount of oil varies in different parts of the plant, being more concentrated in the leaves than in the root. The German agency Commission E indicates that parsley may be used for ridding the body of kidney stones. There is currently no clinical evidence to support this, according to the Tufts Medical Center, but increased urine flow could potentially have this effect.

Unfortunately none of the links leads me to a research paper or the claim that was backed by a reputed medical practitioner.

So, is this a Myth or a Fact?

  • 2
    Note that this question is unanswerable, in that medical science does not admit to any "cure" of kidney stones and related disorders. Commented Sep 17, 2017 at 14:33
  • In three years time, I predict "Cilantro Kidney Cleanse" therapies all around the internet.
    – user22865
    Commented Sep 18, 2017 at 10:09
  • Note: this won't do a thing about larger pre-existing kidney stones, but definitely will restrict rate of their creation or growth. The mechanism is simple; the diuretic action makes urine contain more water, less mineral substances, and flushes more concentrated urine from kidneys. It might, with some luck, flush minuscule (sand-sized) kidney stones too. It's a purely mechanical, simple action of flushing the kidneys with low-concentration urine, no magical "purification".
    – SF.
    Commented Sep 19, 2017 at 9:41
  • @SF. -- The problem is that it's very challenging, through dilution alone, to reduce the concentration of stone-forming chemicals in the urine to a level where they will not form. Based just on the chemistry of those chemicals the kidneys should fill up with stones in a matter of weeks. But this is prevented by other chemicals in the urine (of stone-free folks) which block accretion. Partly this has to do with the chemicals coating the urinary tract (they won't let stones attach), and partly it has to do with chemicals that are sort of "anti-catalysts". Commented Sep 22, 2017 at 21:15

1 Answer 1


The sources from the OPs question are ‘naturally’ (and) dubious. Both in their presentation and claims. For ‘cleaning a kidney’ a human body needs adequate amounts of water. Calling a concept relating to internal medicine a “cleansing” seems like a surefire way to indicate quackery. If the goal is to keep the kidneys in a good, healthy, working condition then parsley does not feature on a reputable list. Quite the opposite:

What about herbal supplements that act like a "water pill"? –– Some herbal supplements that act like a diuretic or "water pill" may cause "kidney irritation" or damage. These include bucha leaves and juniper berries. Uva Ursi and parsley capsules may also have bad side effects.

This part from the livestrong link is beyond the borderline of absurd:

"The German agency Commission E indicates that parsley may be used for ridding the body of kidney stones. There is currently no clinical evidence to support this, according to the Tufts Medical Center[…]"

That commission was set up to promote clinical evidence and I haven't found anything that brings parsley and kidney stones together there. Further: using a diuretic to ‘get rid of’ a kidney stone will in the vast majority of cases just not work.

The original Commission E papers on parsley (in German and as images!):

Petroselini fructus (Petersilienfrüchte). / Petroselini herba/-radix (Petersilienkraut/-wurzel).

Although there is a kernel of truth at the root.

One notable journal has the following claims substantiated:

Potency | Latin name           | Part used | Family   | Miscellaneous     | Commission E 
        | (common name)        |           |          | notes             | approved for diuresis
Strong  | Petroselinum crispum | Radix,    | Apiaceae | Antispasmodic,    | Yes  (root only)
        | (parsley)            | fructus   |          | anti-inflammatory |


Petroselinum crispus (parsley)

The humble parsley has an ancient reputation as a diuretic. The parts used are either the root or the fruit (often incorrectly termed the seed). Detailed investigations of aqueous extracts of parsley fruit extracts have been conducted in rats. Rats fed aqueous extracts had significantly higher 24-h urine outputs compared to when they drank regular water. Mechanistic investigations suggested parsley was inhibiting Na+/K+-ATPase, primarily in the renal cortex, and thus interfering primarily with potassium secretion. This appeared to cause the increased urine output. Though these findings do not place parsley in the same category as any existing class of synthetic diuretic drugs, they do strongly suggest parsley has diuretic and not just aquaretic activity.

Two groups of constituents are believed to be responsible for many of parsley’s effects – terpenoids, particularly apiol, and flavonoids, particularly apigenin. The volatile oil extract of parsley has shown, like its close cousin Apium graveolens (celery) and apiol in isolation, calcium channel blocking activity in vitro. This helps explain the traditional use of parsley as a carminative, or agent that relieves intestinal spasms. Apigenin from an orally administered parsley extract has been associated with antioxidant activity in humans. Apigenin also exerts anti-inflammatories effects in vitro.

Clinical trials were not located regarding the efficacy of parsley as a diuretic or any other indication. However, it is approved by the German Commission E for use as a diuretic as discussed above. Typically 2 g of root or fruit are decocted in a covered vessel at low heat for 10–15 min in a cup of water, and three such cups are drunk each day. A usual dose of tincture is 2–4 ml three times daily. Parsley should be avoided in large doses in pregnancy as apiol may stimulate uterine contractions and in renal failure or nephritis. Parsley contains furanocoumarins that may cause photosensitivity though the quantities are so low the chance of an actual problem from internal use of medicinal doses is slight.

quoted from: Eric Yarnell: Botanical medicines for the urinary tract. World Journal of Urology November 2002, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 285–293 https://doi.org/10.1007/s00345-002-0293-0 (amply sourced references)

But that's about it: it is a herbal remedy of which certain parts have been used in the studies that can promote diuresis.

“Cleaning kidneys” and “drinking that regularly” are certainly not advised and also not approved by Commission E!

If it is intended to be used as medicine it should be done so under some clinical supervision – especially for long term use. (Which probably runs diametrically against using this herb in the first place?)

This is especially urgent advice since one of the side effects of using parsley may lead to what?: Renal damage!

According to the sources cited in Robert Tisserand's Essential Oil Safety Book there are also several genuine side-effects and numerous interactions to consider. And among the quotes from that book there is an updated commission E statement:


  • with MAOIs
  • opioid analgesics
  • SSRIs
  • indirect sympathomimetic drugs including ephedrine and amphetamine

Side effects:

  • Apiole is demonstrated potential for nephrotoxicity at therapeutic doses
  • In cases of fatal toxicity from parsley apiole ingestion, considerable liver damage is generally found post mortem
  • parsley leaf and seed oils, is thought to be the active constituent, and is also used in its own right as an abortifacient. Data is often difficult to obtain, partly because of the legal implications of patients admitting to illegal abortion, and in some cases because death followed abortion and there is no record of how much apiole was taken.

Our safety advice: We have proposed a daily oral maximum for parsley apiole of 0.4 mg/kg.
Reproductive toxicity: Apiole and various preparations of parsley have been used for many years to procure illegal abortion in Italy. Post-abortive vaginal bleeding, sometimes profuse, is a feature of these cases. A cumulative effect is apparent, parsley apiole being taken daily for between two and eight days before either death or abortion ensued. The lowest daily dose of apiole which induced abortion was 0.9 g taken for eight consecutive days.

Parsley apiole is toxic in humans; the lowest total dose of apiole causing death is 4.2 g (2.1 g/day for 2 days) the lowest fatal daily dose is 770 mg, which was taken for 14 days; the lowest single fatal dose is 8 g. At least 19 g has been survived. Parsley apiole is hepatotoxic and nephrotoxic.

Summary: In fatal or almost-fatal doses, parsley apiole is abortifacient, and toxic to the liver, kidneys, heart and digestive system. Safety thresholds have not been established.

Regulatory guidelines

The Commission E Monograph for parsleyseed oil concludes that ‘a therapeutic application cannot be justified because of high risks.’ (Blumenthal, M., Busse, W.R., Goldberg, A., et al., 1998. The complete German Commission E monographs: therapeutic guide to herbal medicines. American Botanical Council, Austin, Texas.)

Another report that references the older Tisserand compilation but is available on the net: https://hfnet.nih.go.jp/usr/kiso/ninpu-herb/HerbalsSafetyReportJuly2002_Final.pdf

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