Drugs A - Z
Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)
Generic Name: parsnip
CategoryHerbs & Supplements
Apiaceae (family), Pastinaca sativa L., sweet parsnip, wild parsnip.
Like their close relative the carrot, parsnip roots are used for food. The Romans thought that the parsnip was an aphrodisiac. There is very little research available on medicinal uses for parsnip. One laboratory study indicates that polyacetylenes in parsnip may be cytotoxic (damaging to cells). However, currently, there is insufficient evidence in humans to support the use of parsnip for any indication.
EvidenceDISCLAIMER: These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
TraditionWARNING: DISCLAIMER: The below uses are based on tradition, scientific theories, or limited research. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider. There may be other proposed uses that are not listed below.
Adults (18 years and older):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for parsnip in adults.
Children (younger than 18 years):
There is no proven safe or effective dose for parsnip in children.
SafetyDISCLAIMER: Many complementary techniques are practiced by healthcare professionals with formal training, in accordance with the standards of national organizations. However, this is not universally the case, and adverse effects are possible. Due to limited research, in some cases only limited safety information is available.
Avoid in individuals with a known allergy or hypersensitivity to parsnip (Pastinaca sativa). Parsnip has caused skin lesions and rash. Individuals allergic to birch pollen may have cross-sensitivity to parsnip.
Side Effects and Warnings
There are very few reports of parsnip and its adverse effects. Of the available literature, there are a few reports of phytodermatitis and phytophototoxicity in patients handling or ingesting parsnip. Parsnip has caused skin lesions and rash. Use cautiously in patients who are photosensitive or taking agents that may increase the chance of photosensitivity.
Pregnancy and Breastfeeding
Interactions with Drugs
Parsnip contains polyacetylenes, which have shown cytotoxic activity. Caution is advised in patients taking anticancer agents, as the combination may have additive effects.
Parsnip may cause photosensitivity. Caution is advised in patients taking other agents that cause light sensitivity, as the combination may increase this side effect.
Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements
Parsnip contains polyacetylenes, which have shown cytotoxic activity. Caution is advised in patients taking herbs or supplements with anticancer effects, as the combination may have additive effects.
Parsnip may cause photosensitivity. Caution is advised in patients taking other agents that cause light sensitivity, such as St. John's wort, as the combination may increase this side effect.
This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature, and was peer-reviewed and edited by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com): J. Kathryn Bryan, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Dawn Costa, BA, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Nicole Giese, MS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Shaina Tanguay-Colucci, BS (Natural Standard Research Collaboration); Catherine Ulbricht, PharmD (Massachusetts General Hospital); Wendy Weissner, BA (Natural Standard Research Collaboration).
BibliographyDISCLAIMER: Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.
Aberer W. Occupational dermatitis from organically grown parsnip (Pastinaca sativa L.). Contact Dermatitis 1992;26(1):62.
Bang Pedersen N, Pla Arles UB. Phototoxic reaction to parsnip and UV-A sunbed. Contact Dermatitis 1998;39(2):97.
Egan CL, Sterling G. Phytophotodermatitis: a visit to Margaritaville. Cutis 1993;51(1):41-42.
Eriksson NE. Clustering of foodstuffs in food hypersensitivity. An inquiry study in pollen allergic patients. Allergol.Immunopathol.(Madr.) 1984;12(1):28-32.
Gral N, Beani JC, Bonnot D, et al. [Plasma levels of psoralens after celery ingestion]. Ann.Dermatol Venereol 1993;120(9):599-603.
Hannuksela M, Lahti A. Immediate reactions to fruits and vegetables. Contact Dermatitis 1977;3(2):79-84.
Lutchman L, Inyang V, Hodgkinson D. Phytophotodermatitis associated with parsnip picking. J.Accid.Emerg.Med. 1999;16(6):453-454.
Poljacki M, Paravina M, Jovanovic M, et al. [Contact allergic dermatitis caused by plants]. Med Pregl. 1993;46(9-10):371-375.
Poniecka H. [Plants as the cause of contact allergy diagnosed at the Dermatological Clinic, Medical Academy, in Bialystok]. Przegl.Dermatol 1990;77(4):262-265.
Quickenden TI, Creamer JI. A study of common interferences with the forensic luminol test for blood. Luminescence. 2001;16(4):295-298.
Vinokurov GI. [On dermatitis caused by the sweet parsnip plant]. Voen.Med.Zh. 1965;7:67-69.
Zidorn C, Johrer K, Ganzera M, et al. Polyacetylenes from the Apiaceae vegetables carrot, celery, fennel, parsley, and parsnip and their cytotoxic activities. J Agric.Food Chem 4-6-2005;53(7):2518-2523.
Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.