Drugs A - Z

Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)

Generic Name: parsnip

Category

Herbs & Supplements

Synonyms

Apiaceae (family), Pastinaca sativa L., sweet parsnip, wild parsnip.

Note: This monograph does not include information on cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum) or wild parsnip (Angelica archanglica).

Background

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.

Evidence

DISCLAIMER: 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.

Tradition

WARNING: 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.
Aphrodisiac, cancer.

Dosing

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.

Safety

DISCLAIMER: 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.

Allergies

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

Parsnip, as a medicinal agent, is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific research.

Interactions

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.

Attribution

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).

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