Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) belongs to the mint family. An annual plant, cilantro was originally found in Southern Europe, particularly Italy, Greece and Spain. Cilantro can also be traced back to North Africa, specifically in Libya, Morocco and Tunisia.
A 3.5 oz (100 g) serving of cilantro contains the following vitamins and minerals:
In traditional medicine, cilantro is used to address minor complaints like diarrhea, excessive flatulence, nausea and toothache.
Cilantro tinctures are also used as a part of medical formulations together with other medicinal herbs to relieve conditions like bacterial infections, diabetes, heavy metal poisoning, indigestion, respiratory troubles and vitamin K deficiency.
In a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology, researchers from the University of Beira Interior in Portugal tested coriander oil against 12 bacterial strains.
Coriander oil is derived from coriander or cilantro seeds.
Out of all the tested strains, which included Escherichia coli, Salmonella enterica, Bacillus cereus and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), all showed reduced growth. Findings also showed that most of the strains were killed by solutions with 1.6 percent coriander oil or less.
Additionally, cilantro helps flush out toxic metals like aluminum, arsenic, cadmium and mercury from your body.
Several studies suggest that coriander contains antioxidants that can prevent cellular damage from free radicals. Antioxidants from the herbs also help minimize inflammation in the body.
Animal studies and test-tube studies have found that compounds such as terpinene, quercetin and tocopherols may offer anticancer, immune-boosting and neuroprotective effects. (Related: Molecular mechanism explained: How cilantro helps delay seizures common in epilepsy and other neurological disorders.)
It's best to consume fresh and uncooked cilantro because heat lowers its abilities and breaks it down.
Here are some interesting facts about this tasty herb:
Try this recipe for a tasty salad to reap the many health benefits of cilantro!
Cilantro is a nutritious herb that deserves to be used as more than a garnish. Serve cilantro in a refreshing salad or use it in savory dishes so you can reap its many health benefits!