Cilantro & Coriander

Anticancer. Antioxidant. Antimicrobial. Cholesterol reduction. Liver health. Cilantro originated in the Mediterranean and Western Asian regions, though “Chinese parsley” can be found around the world in many windowsill herb gardens. The plant is formally known as coriandrum sativum. The leafy greens are referred to as cilantro and the seeds are called coriander, each offering a wealth of health benefits and different flavors.

Whether it’s in a fresh salsa, Thai food or an Indian curry, chances are you have probably had cilantro and weren’t even aware of it. If you were to try it on its own; well, that is a different story. Cilantro is a robust herb with a bittersweet citrusy flavor. Not only does it offer flavor to a wide variety of dishes, it is also known for its high antioxidant properties and high mineral content.

Cilantro has been used in the treatment of jaundice, and studies show that it reduces fatty deposits that can collect in the liver and impair its function. Additionally, cilantro appears to inhibit the growth of E. coli, responsible for many food-borne ailments. In animal studies, eating coriander seeds was associated with a significant drop in triglycerides and total cholesterol levels. In addition, coriander has been shown to lower the risk of colon cancer.  Studies have shown a potential link between high coriander consumption and low rates of cancer among populations in the Eastern Bloc.

Not everyone shares the love of cilantro as about 20% of the population is genetically offended by the herb. Yes, genetics. People who report that "cilantro tastes bad" have a variation of olfactory-receptor genes that allows them to detect aldehydes - a compound found in cilantro that is also a by-product of soap and part of the chemical makeup of fluids sprayed by some bugs. This is why cilantrophobes say that cilantro tastes like soap, aluminum foil or stink bugs.