Desert Parsley

Reviewed on 6/11/2021
Other Name(s):

Biscuitroot, Bradshaw's Desert Parsley, Carrotleaf Biscuitroot, Carrotleaf Indian Root, Chocolate Tips, Cough Root, Fernleaf Biscuitroot, Giant Desert Parsley, Giant Lomatium, Indian Parsley, Lomatium, Lomatium bradshawii, Lomatium californicum, Lomatium dissectum, Lomatium erythrocarpum, Lomatium grayi, Lomatium nudicaule, Lumatium nuttalii, and Lomatium suksdorfii, Red-Fruit Desert Parsley.


Desert parsley is a group of plants. The most commonly used type of desert parsley is Lomatium dissectum (fernleaf biscuitroot). The roots of this plant are used to make medicine.

Desert parsley is taken by mouth for asthma, colds, cough, flu, lung injuries, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and viral infections.

Desert parsley is applied as a dressing to treat sores, cuts, boils, bruises, sprains, and broken bones. Powdered root of desert parsley is applied to the skin to treat burns, boils, and other skin wounds. Desert parsley is added to steam baths to treat joint problems, sprains, pain, and pneumonia.

Some types of desert parsley are eaten as food.

How does it work?

Desert parsley might help eliminate different types of bacteria, fungi, or viruses that can cause infections.


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Uses & Effectiveness

Insufficient Evidence to Rate Effectiveness for...

More evidence is needed to rate desert parsley for these uses.

Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database rates effectiveness based on scientific evidence according to the following scale: Effective, Likely Effective, Possibly Effective, Possibly Ineffective, Likely Ineffective, and Insufficient Evidence to Rate (detailed description of each of the ratings).

Side Effects

There isn't enough reliable information to know whether desert parsley is safe. When applied to the skin, desert parsley might cause rash or hives. When taken by mouth, desert parsley might cause nausea.


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Special Precautions & Warnings

Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Not enough is known about the use of desert parsley during pregnancy and breast-feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.


The appropriate dose of desert parsley depends on several factors such as the user's age, health, and several other conditions. At this time there is not enough scientific information to determine an appropriate range of doses for desert parsley. Keep in mind that natural products are not always necessarily safe and dosages can be important. Be sure to follow relevant directions on product labels and consult your pharmacist or physician or other healthcare professional before using.

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Alstat E. Lomatium dissectum and fresh corn silk. NHAA International Conference 1995;116-125.

Chou SC, Everngam MC, Sturtz G, Beck JJ. Antibacterial activity of components from Lomatium californicum. Phytother Res 2006;20(2):153-156. View abstract.

Lee KH, Soine TO. Coumarins. VII. The coumarins of Lomatium nuttallii. J Pharm Sci. 1968;57(5):865-8. View abstract.

Lee TT, Kashiwada Y, Huang L, et al. Suksdorfin: an anti-HIV principle from Lomatium suksdorfii, its structure-activity correlation with related coumarins, and synergistic effects with anti-AIDS nucleosides. Bioorg Med Chem. 1994;2(10):1051-6. View abstract.

McCutcheon AR, Ellis SM, Hancock REW, Towers GHN. Antibiotic screening of medicinal plants of the British Columbian native peoples. J Ethnopharmacol. 1992;37(3):213-223. View abstract.

McCutcheon AR, Roberts TE, Gibbons E, et al. Antiviral screening of British Columbian medicinal plants. J Ethnopharmacol 1995;49:101-10. View abstract.

Meepagala KM, Sturtz G, Wedge DE, Schrader KK, Duke SO. Phytotoxic and antifungal compounds from two Apiaceae species, Lomatium californicum and Ligusticum hultenii, rich sources of Z-ligustilide and apiol, respectively. J Chem Ecol 2005;31(7):1567-1578. View abstract.

Vanwagenen BC, Cardellina JH. Native American food and medicinal plants 7: Antimicrobial tetronic acid from Lomatium dissectum. Tetrahedron. 1986;42(4):1117-22.

VanWagenen BC, Huddleston J, Cardellina JH. Native American food and medicinal plants, 8. Water-soluble constituents of Lomatium dissectum. J Nat Prod. 1988;51(1):136-141. View abstract.