Coriandrum sativum, Chinese parsley, or cilantro, is a popular, flavorful herb used in different dishes. By adding a new profile on recipes, cilantro is a source of nutrients, antioxidants, antimicrobial compounds, and anxiolytic properties. One can make a connection that cilantro can be used for detox, reducing the risk of cancer, relieving pain and inflammation, protecting against heart diseases, antifungal effects, skin health, and managing blood sugar.
Amazingly, a plant we usually overlook can have so many benefits and uses. It wouldn’t even be laborious to grow your own cilantro in a greenhouse for a guaranteed fresh supply throughout the growing season. Refer to Krostrade.com to know more about the practices of growing your cilantro in a greenhouse.
What Is Cilantro?
Cilantro or Coriandrum sativum L is a tender herb from the same family of carrots, parsley, and celery. It’s a popular herb among various cuisines all over the world and is seen in Thai, Indian, Chinese, Caribbean, Mediterranean, Mexican, East European, and North African dishes. However, it can be confusing for some because cilantro is used interchangeably with coriander.
As an annual dry climate plant, growing cilantro is easy because it thrives well without too many requirements. It grows up to 90 cm tall with varying leaf shapes from the base to the flowering stems. The white to pale pink flowers are asymmetrical, and the symmetrical seed clusters will fall once the globular fruit ripens.
You can achieve a fresh supply of this herb throughout the growing season in a greenhouse. Plant every 2 to 3 weeks, with a temperature between 60 to 80°F as cilantro shouldn’t be subjected to extreme frost or heat. Late spring is also the best season to grow cilantro.
Are cilantro and coriander the same?
Technically speaking, cilantro and coriander are the same because they are from the same plant. Simplistically, cilantro is the leaves and stems, while coriander is what you’ll refer to as the seeds of Coriandrum sativum. Nonetheless, some regions will use both terms equivalent to each other, and cilantro is even the Spanish word for coriander.
One can describe cilantro as delicate green leaves that look reminiscent of parsley because of their lacy form. Coriander, on the other hand, is small, yellowish-brown round seeds with a ridge. Cilantro has a fresh and citrusy flavor, and its pungent taste weakens when subjected to cooking.
How to eat cilantro?
Cilantro is best to add after cooking because its citrusy taste enhances the flavor of the dish. You can eat the leaves raw to maintain the flavor, while also adding texture to the recipe. But because cilantro contains aldehyde, some people who are sensitive to it may find the herb too strong for the palate.
Cilantro can be beneficially paired well with other herbs and flavor-enhancers such as lime, basil, chili, and garlic. It also works best in marinades, salad dressings, guacamole, salsa, pasta, sandwiches, soups, and stews. You can opt to use the thin stems attached to the leaves to add some texture as well.
Coriander is often eaten dried, while cilantro is best eaten fresh.
What Are The Benefits of Cilantro?
Cilantro is packed with nutrients, antioxidants, antimicrobial compounds, and anxiolytic properties. They play various roles in the different processes of the body systems. Because this herb is a good source of the following, cilantro also opens different medicinal uses to maintain and protect the body against illnesses.
The leaves will provide 6% carbohydrates, 3% protein, 5% vitamin A, and 2% vitamin C of daily values. Cilantro is also a good source of other vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin, thiamin, pyridoxine, folate, niacin, pantothenic acid, vitamin E, vitamin K, dietary fiber, iron, calcium, zinc, manganese, magnesium, copper, and potassium. As for unhealthy saturated fats and cholesterol, cilantro is very low with them.
Cilantro is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, and active phenolic acid compounds. They include quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, terpinene, apigenin, tocopherols, caffeic acid, and chlorogenic acid. Eating sources of antioxidants like these will help you combat the effects of free radicals.
Free radicals cause damage to the cells, and antioxidants neutralize them before it can lead to cancer conditions. Both the antioxidant activity and phenolic content of cilantro leads to more effective protection against unwanted oxidation. In turn, you will have a lower risk of developing illnesses while also protecting the immune and neurological system.
Compounds are found in cilantro like duodenal offer bactericidal properties.
In particular, it works against Salmonella that can cause different illnesses to the digestive system, such as food poisoning. Coriander oil is also shown to fight infections, and even the seeds itself can protect the urinary tract.
Cilantro is also beneficial for psychological health because it has anxiolytic properties. In fact, studies have shown how it can reduce anxiety, similar to prescription medications. The same extract also has sedative and muscle-relaxing effects.
Uses Of Cilantro
Cilantro goes beyond gastronomy and culinary uses because it also has used for health. The different nutrients, compounds, and properties in the leaves are useful for detox, reducing the risk of cancer, relieving pain and inflammation, protecting against heart diseases, antifungal, skin health, and managing blood sugar. Cilantro is also good for the kidneys, which we will discuss in more detail later on.
One of the uses of cilantro that is gaining popularity is for detox. Different studies are done and resulted in concluding that cilantro is effective in the chelation of heavy metals and neurotoxin elimination. By helping the body get rid of heavy metals and neurotoxins like mercury and lead, cilantro is useful to help the body respond against chemical exposures.
For example, cilantro can remove excess mercury in different organs. This deposition sometimes happens to the body from the removal of amalgam dental fillings. At the same time, researchers also discovered that cilantro could detoxify the body from phthalates, plasticizers, and insecticides.
Cilantro is an all-natural plant-based chelating agent that can decrease lead deposition and reduce lead-induced inhibition of enzyme activity. If you frequently consume foods that may contain traces of heavy metals like mercury, you can help decrease the deposits in the bone and kidneys. Cilantro also offers the same benefit to those exposed to lead materials and environmental pollution.
Besides heavy metals and neurotoxins, cilantro can also detoxify the body from pathogens such as E. coli and C. Albicans. These microorganisms are drug-resistant, but the oil extracted from cilantro has strong antifungal and antimicrobial activities. Lastly, cilantro is a popular detox food because it is a good source of antioxidants.
Reduce the risk of cancer
The detoxifying properties of cilantro are not limited to chemicals and pathogens. Cilantro is also rich in phenolic compounds that detoxify reactive oxygen species. In turn, one can conclude that consuming cilantro can lower the risk of developing cancer because you’re protected against the effects of free radicals.
More studies are needed to use cilantro for anticancer therapy. However, researchers have found the effects of cilantro extract against prostate and breast cancer cells. They became less invasive with a slower proliferative rate.
Protecting the body against free radicals contributes to disease prevention. Oxidative stress can lead to cancer, and even other illnesses like diabetes, dementia, cardiovascular diseases, Parkinson’s disease, and cataracts. Oxidative stress also plays a role in the faster appearance of skin conditions from aging.
Is cilantro good for your kidneys?
Because of the multiple detoxification benefits one can get from cilantro, cilantro is good for the kidneys. Lead-related damage to the kidney can cause filtration problems resulting in a high risk of gout and high blood pressure. Because cilantro decreases the levels of heavy metals in the body, you can conclude that you’ll be preventing injuries to the kidneys.
Keeping the kidneys filtering will further help prevent other diseases. If the kidneys are injured, you can acquire diabetes and problems in lowering blood pressure levels. In turn, these conditions will cause cardiovascular problems.
Relieve pain and inflammation
People are also looking into cilantro as a remedy for pain and inflammation. Researchers have studied the potential of the plant in inducing an analgesic effect on mice. The study has concluded that cilantro reliefs pain similar to opioids, and it can reduce the severity, duration, and frequency of migraines.
Protect against heart diseases
The detoxifying properties of cilantro lower the risk of heart diseases. At the same time, cilantro can lower the blood pressure and bad cholesterol levels because of the effects it induces. Cilantro can act as a diuretic, which in turn helps the body excrete sodium to lower the blood pressure.
On the other hand, the seeds of the plant can increase good cholesterol. As a result, you will have an easier time managing the bad cholesterol in the body. Lastly, cilantro’s indirect effect on heart health is that it can act as a salt substitute for dishes.
Manage blood sugar
Cilantro is useful for managing the body’s blood sugar levels. This is due to the plant’s effect on the enzyme activity for removing sugar with similarities to the glibenclamide blood sugar medication. More so, people who already have low blood sugar should be cautious with cilantro because of this blood sugar lowering effect.
Remember that cilantro plays a role in detoxifying the body against microorganisms like fungi. It has compounds that can manage fungal infections without the risk of side effects. The oil extracted from cilantro leaves can be used against the fungus that causes yeast infection, oral thrush, and infections of the skin and nails.
Improve skin health
Cilantro is not only useful because of its effects on the internal body systems. Our external protection, which is the skin, also benefits from cilantro by the effect it offers. Cilantro extract is protective against the damages of UV rays, and studies concluded that it’s effective in reducing sun damage to the skin.
Cilantro Side Effects
Like with any food we take, usage and consumption of cilantro can have side effects on certain people. These include allergic reactions, digestive conditions, and low blood pressure. Make sure to consult your doctor regularly to be informed on your body’s potential response to this herb.
While cilantro is likely safe, some people might be allergic to this plant. Allergic reactions range from itchy skin, hives, and inflammation of face and throat. There are even reports of darkening of the skin.
There are many factors that one must take into account to understand what causes these reactions. However, we can find the connection between the acidic components and the cilantro’s protein content and the body’s immune response. Therefore, the immune system will try to fight them and will cause the reactions we mentioned.
The swelling and flushing of the face with some tingling and oral inflammation in the lips, gums, and throat are also common allergic reactions. An inflamed throat can cause breathing problems and chest pain as well. Therefore, a consultation with your doctor is important to know about the food allergies you may have.
Some people have also reported digestive issues such as stomach pain, diarrhea, and dehydration. While cilantro is excellent for detox, it’s still likely to experience these conditions. Cilantro can cause vomiting, stomach pain, and abdominal cramps because of the gas formed inside the body.
Low blood pressure and blood sugar
The uses of cilantro include lowering of blood pressure and blood sugar. However, these effects can be excessive for some patients. Therefore, be cautious in consuming cilantro if you already have these conditions.
Cilantro is not only a flavor enhancement for various cuisines. Different studies have also shown this herb’s effects that are beneficial for the maintenance of health and relieving illnesses. It’s also an effective plant to maintain the kidneys’ proper functioning because of its detoxifying capacities.
You can take advantage of the plant’s effects of reducing the risk of cancer, relieving pain and inflammation, protecting against heart diseases, antifungal effects, and skin health by growing the greenhouse’s low-maintenance herb. However, be aware that some people may have allergic reactions to cilantro, and its beneficial effects can be excessive to some patients. Nonetheless, there’s no question why scientists are interested in the potential of this delicious herb.