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For the phenylpropene derivative, see apiole.

Apiol, also known as 'liquid apiol' or 'green oil of parsley' is the extracted oleoresin of parsley, rather than the distilled oil. Due to its similarity to the term apiole, care should be taken to avoid confusion.[1] Apiol is an irritant and, in high doses, it can cause liver and kidney damage.[2] Cases of death due to attempted abortion using apiol have been reported.[3][4]

Hippocrates wrote about parsley as a herb to cause an abortion.[5] Plants containing apiole were used by women in the Middle Ages to terminate pregnancies.

Its use was widespread in the USA, often as ergoapiol or apergol, until a highly toxic adulterated product containing apiol and tri-ortho-cresyl phosphate (also famous as the adulterant added to Jamaican ginger) was introduced on the American market.

Now that safer methods of abortion are available, apiol is almost forgotten.


  1. ^ Shulgin AT, Dr. (Apr 23, 1966). "Possible implication of myristicin as a psychotropic substance". Nature 210 (5034). pp. 380–4. 
  2. ^ Amerio A; De Benedictis G; Leondeff J; et al. (Jan–Apr 1968). "Nephropathy due to apiol". Minerva Nefrol (in Italian) 15 (1). pp. 49–70. 
  3. ^ Quinn LJ; Harris C; Joron GE (Apr 15, 1958). "Apiol poisoning". Can Med Assoc J 78 (8). pp. 635–6. 
  4. ^ Hermann K; Le Roux A; Fiddes FS (Jun 16, 1956). "Death from apiol used as abortifacient". Lancet 270 (6929). pp. 937–9. 
  5. ^ Sage-Femme Collective (2008). Natural Liberty: Rediscovering Self-Induced Abortion Methods. Sage-Femme Collective. ISBN 978-0964592001.