Of preferred acne remedies, drinking tea might be low on the list. But some swear by parsley tea as the drink of choice for those with blemish-prone skin. Is there any truth to that? We decided to check it out.
Why is parsley tea good for your skin?
Parsley is raved about, even medicinally in studies1, because of its high nutritional content: It is packed with vitamins A, C, and K, the minerals magnesium, potassium, and calcium, as well as chlorophyll and folic acid. But to note, there are no studies or research on the direct link between acne and parsley, so we can't make any direct claims. Nor do we know for sure how many of the myriad nutritional benefits of parsley get into a cup of parsley tea, or how much you’d have to drink to absorb those benefits. But the two most compelling reasons to drink parsley tea for your skin are its high vitamin content and its whole-body detoxifying properties.
It's high in antioxidants.
Let’s start with the skin-healthy antioxidants. As we know from much research2, ingesting antioxidants is incredibly good for the skin, as they are anti-inflammatory agents and help neutralize free radicals (the same reason dermatologists and research suggests putting it on topically3).
Another point of note: research shows4 that vitamin C can help improve collagen production in the skin, which isn’t necessarily related to acne, but is related to overall skin health. As board-certified dermatologist Whitney Bowe, M.D., tells us, "It not only promotes fibroblast proliferation4 (fibroblasts are the cells that produce collagen and other fibers), but it also acts as an assistant in enzymatic activity that relates directly to skin health and function."
Vitamin A is another huge component, says Brigitte Zeitlin, R.N.: "The high vitamin content is going to be the main reason parsley might improve skin health. Vitamin A is a big part of that, especially with acne. Vitamin A promotes skin turnover." Topically we know this is true, but increasing the amount of vitamin A in your diet may have similar affects, as research shows5 that increasing your intake of vitamin A improves cell regeneration.
It supports liver and kidney function, which might help skin.
And as board-certified physician and integrative doctor Taz Bhatia M.D., tells us, parsley is a “well-known liver-supporting herb. Parsley contains chlorophyll, folic acid, and beta-carotene to support the liver and aid in hormone production.” This is important because we know the liver is the largest detoxifying agents in the body. So the thought-process is that if your liver is supported, you'll better deal with toxin buildup in the whole body, the skin included—leading to less acne. And some research has shown the connection between the liver and skin, even if it's not fully understood in relation to acne.
But be cautious of direct claims, says Zeitlin. "Parsley is a diuretic, so it flushes out your system through your kidneys by encouraging urine production. So it can help remove any sort of access salt, alcohol, or stuff like that, which might be triggers for acne in some people—but we can't draw a direct line between parsley detoxes and acne-reduction."
Here's the easiest way to enjoy parsley tea daily:
As Zeitlin notes, you can get the benefits of parsley in many ways: "If you want to increase the benefits from parsley, simply increase your intake in all forms: Add it to smoothies, salads, or make this tea."
- Boil water.
- Rinse ¼ cup chopped, fresh parsley.
- Add your parsley to the bottom of a teacup, and pour your boiled water over it.
- Let the tea steep for 5 to 10 minutes before straining the mixture to rid the tea of the parsley leaves (think of this like making any loose-leaf tea).
- From there you can add other typical tea additives, like lemon, to your taste.
Or try these face masks.
For oil production:
- Blend together a handful of chopped parsley, 2 spoonfuls of apple cider vinegar, and 3 spoonfuls of cooling plain yogurt.
- Apply to skin and let sit for 20 minutes.
- Rinse off with warm water.
- Combine 2 to 3 inches of fresh cucumber, ¼ cup aloe vera, and ¼ cup fresh parsley in a food processor.
- Apply to face and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Remove with a cool washcloth.
Note: parsley tea is not recommended for pregnant women, or for people taking diuretics or blood thinners.
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Alexandra Engler is the beauty director at mindbodygreen and host of the beauty podcast Clean Beauty School. Previously, she's held beauty roles at Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire, SELF, and Cosmopolitan; her byline has appeared in Esquire, Sports Illustrated, and Allure.com. In her current role, she covers all the latest trends in the clean and natural beauty space, as well as lifestyle topics, such as travel. She received her journalism degree from Marquette University, graduating first in the department. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.