Note: This monograph does not include information on cow parsnip (Heracleum maximum) or wild parsnip (Angelica archanglica).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
Parsnip, as a medicinal agent, is not recommended in pregnant or breastfeeding women due to a lack of available scientific research.