The fragrant, green, leafy and versatile herb called cilantro is generally known as a culinary herb that is used to add flavor, aroma, and a touch of freshness to foods. However, this is not the only purpose it serves. Cilantro contains a range of beneficial nutrients, which means it can also offer several health benefits.
Bearing the scientific name Coriandrum Sativum, cilantro is also called coriander in some parts of the world. In the US, however, the leaves of the coriandrum sativum plants are called cilantro, whereas the term coriander is used for the seeds of the plant, which are also used in both cooking and herbal medicine.
Let’s take a look at what this versatile culinary herb contains and what it has been used for through the ages.
The Nutritional and Chemical Profile of Cilantro
Cilantro contains a range of essential vitamins and minerals. It’s interesting to note that even though both leaves and seeds come from the same plant, they have different nutrient concentrations. Fresh cilantro leaves are low-caloric and have higher levels of vitamins than the seeds. Coriander seeds, on the other hand, have higher amounts of minerals.
Both leaves and seeds of the cilantro plant contain the following essential nutrients:
- Vitamins A, B6, C, E, K
- Dietary fiber
In addition to these nutrients, the cilantro plant also contains folate, riboflavin, beta-carotene, choline, lutein, beta-cryptoxanthin, zeaxanthin, flavones, tannins, alkaloids, caffeic acid, gallic acid, and chlorogenic acid.
A Brief History of Cilantro’s Use
The history of cilantro’s use can be traced as far back as 5000 BC.The herb has been used for a variety of purposes, other than to enhance the flavor of foods and give them a distinctive, fresh aroma throughout history. Hebrews used it in passover rituals,Hippocrates used it as a medicine, and Chinese used it in love potions as they believed the herb has aphrodisiac properties.
Cilantro has also been a prominent herb in Ayurveda, the traditional Indian medicinal system, for a very long time. Ayurvedicshighly value the herb for its digestive and purifying properties. In Iran, the seeds of the cilantro plant have historically been used for indigestion, anxiety, and sleeplessness.
Health Benefits of Cilantro
Following are some of the purposes cilantro is used for in herbal medicine:
· Reduce Inflammation
Cilantro has long been purported as a great natural anti-inflammatory by herbalists. Now, there is also a growing body of scientific evidence supporting the claim. Research has found that both the leaves and seeds of C. sativum plant are packed with antioxidants known to help reduce inflammation in the body by fighting against free radicals.
Cilantro is found to be effective in reducing inflammation of the joints along with providing pain relief.
· Improve Digestion
The seeds of cilantro have long been used for indigestion. In traditional Persian medicine, coriander seeds are used as an appetite stimulant.
Modern research also shows that the seeds of the cilantro plant can help improve digestion and stimulate the appetite. Along with these, they are also found to offer relief from abdominal discomfort, pain, and bloating.
· Fight Infections
Research has also found that cilantro possesses antibacterial, antifungal, and antimicrobial properties that help fight against various infections. Although the research findings are not conclusive yet, there is promising evidence that the herb can help with foodborne infections, particularly the ones caused by Salmonella enterica.There is also some evidence regarding cilantro’s efficacy against drug-resistant UTI-causing bacteria.
A study conducted in 2014 also found that the essential oil derived from cilantro leaves can also help with fungal infections.
· Detoxify the Body
Cilantro is prized in herbal medicine for its detoxifying properties. The herb is highly effective for removing toxins and heavy metals from the body. The buildup of heavy metals can lead to various chronic diseases. An animal study also found that herb can help significantly decrease lead-induced oxidative stress.
· Cilantro May Also Help Fight Skin Aging
Antioxidants not only help reduce inflammation, they are also known to help prevent and fight against the signs of premature skin aging, as the root cause of both isthe same: free radical damage. Since cilantro is packed with antioxidants, it can also help fight against skin aging. In research, cilantro leaf extract has shown promising results against photoaging.
The Sum Up
Cilantro is an incredibly versatile herb. From adding flavor, fragrance, and freshness to meals to alleviating health issues, the herb can be used for a variety of purposes. While you can easily enhance your foods with fresh cilantro, it won’t offer you quick health benefits. For that, you need potent formulations of cilantro extract. At HerbEra, we offer organic cilantro tincture to help you experience the real benefits of this leafy herb. Get them today to experience the amazing health benefits of cilantro.