In many places around the world, peoples are using coriander or cilantro as a traditional medicine as well as ingredient to cuisines. It has scientific name as Coriandrum sativum and belongs to Apiaceae family. The seeds of Coriandrum sativum is denotes as coriander and leaf is cilantro. However people with different part of the world may have different name. Some also call as chinese parsley. Due to the presence of a multitude of bio-actives, a wide array of pharmacological activities have been ascribed to different parts of this herb, which include anti‐microbial, anti‐oxidant, anti‐diabetic, anxiolytic, anti‐epileptic, anti‐depressant, anti‐mutagenic, anti‐inflammatory, anti‐dyslipidemic, anti‐hypertensive, neuro‐protective and diuretic. Here we go through 5 health facts insight of cilantro or coriander.
Nutrition profiles (Source: nutritionvalue.org)
Although cilantro and coriander belong to the same plant they have different nutrition profiles. Cilantro has vitamin rich and on the other hand coriander has mineral dense profile.
|Nutrition facts analysis per serving, 100g|
|Folate||62.00 mcg||0.00 mcg|
|Niacin||1.114 mg||6 %||2.130 mg||11 %|
|Pantothenic acid||0.570 mg||6 %|
|Riboflavin||0.162 mg||10 %||0.290 mg||17 %|
|Thiamin||0.067 mg||4 %||0.239 mg||16 %|
|Vitamin A||6748.00 IU||135 %||0.00 IU||0 %|
|Vitamin A, RAE||337.00 mcg||0.00 mcg|
|Carotene, alpha||36.00 mcg|
|Carotene, beta||3930.00 mcg|
|Cryptoxanthin, beta||202.00 mcg|
|Lutein + zeaxanthin||865.00 mcg|
|Vitamin B6||0.149 mg||7 %|
|Vitamin C||27.0 mg||45 %||21.0 mg||35 %|
|Vitamin D||0.00 IU||0 %||0.00 IU||0 %|
|Vitamin E||2.50 mg||8 %|
|Tocopherol, alpha||2.50 mg|
|Vitamin K||310.0 mcg|
|Calcium, Ca||67.00 mg||7 %||709.00 mg||71 %|
|Copper, Cu||0.225 mg||11 %||0.975 mg||49 %|
|Iron, Fe||1.77 mg||10 %||16.32 mg||91 %|
|Magnesium, Mg||26.00 mg||6 %||330.00 mg||82 %|
|Manganese, Mn||0.426 mg||21 %||1.900 mg||95 %|
|Phosphorus, P||48.00 mg||5 %||409.00 mg||41 %|
|Potassium, K||521.00 mg||11 %||1267.00 mg||27 %|
|Selenium, Se||0.9 mcg||1 %||26.2 mcg||37 %|
|Sodium, Na||46.00 mg||2 %||35.00 mg||2 %|
|Zinc, Zn||0.50 mg||3 %||4.70 mg||31 %|
5 health facts insight of cilantro or coriander
Botanically cilantro is part of the Apiaceae genus. This family of aromatic herbs and vegetables have anti-fungal, antibacterial properties as well as anti-inflammatory effects throughout the body. Cilantro showed significant increase in the activity of various antioxidant enzymes such as catalase, superoxide dismutase, and glutathione peroxidase in the liver in animal study. (1)We will discuss later why glutathione poses critical rule protection of cells and which declines with ages. It also contains significant amount of flavonoid quercetin which has powerful antioxidant and anti inflammatory action. Apart from flavonoid cilantro has rich profile of antioxidant nutrient including vitamin C, E and carotene.
And on the other hand coriander seeds has shown antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities and inhibited the growth of human cancer cells in gastric, prostate, colon, breast and lung by 4-34%, respectively in vitro.(2)
Cilantro gained attention and becomes popular as a medicinal herbs which helps in heavy metal detoxification. Some research found it possessed lead‐detoxifying potential. In animal studies, it showed elimination of mercury, lead and suppressive activity on lead deposition.(3,4,5)
On the other hand, in a human study (RCT) as published in Journal of Birjand University of Medical Sciences, on 32 children aged 3- to 7-year old children exposed to lead with treatment of extract given for 14 days found that cilantro decreased lead concentration in blood while increased its excretion in urine. However, it didn’t show significant difference than the placebo group.(6)
Despite of many believe of removing heavy metal from body no major human study showing detoxification property of cilantro till now. Coriander may help in protecting the body in general and particularly the liver from heavy metal and toxins.(7)
Chelating agents bind to heavy metal toxin ions, and then help to remove from the body through our regular excretory channels. Some experts believe cilantro helps in removing heavy metal.(8,9)
Besides this cilantro also have other health beneficial effects along with almost negligible adverse effects. You can easily add cilantro with soups and salads.
Helps in diabetes
The causes of diabetes are associated with disease state, environmental impact, food habit and also with genetics. Diabetic complications are mainly mediated through oxidative stress such as increased production of free radicals or impaired antioxidant defense systems. Some main factors involved in the development of diabetes include enhancement of lipid oxidation, alteration in antioxidant enzymes and impaired glutathione metabolism.
Destruction of pancreatic β-cell which synthesize and secrete insulin can leads to the cause in diabetes mellitus and deregulation of blood glucose level. Antioxidants protect β-cells from oxidation and free radicals. Plants containing natural antioxidants such as tannins, flavonoids, vitamin C and E can preserve β-cell function and prevent diabetes induced free radical formation. Free radicals also play an important role in the development of secondary complications in diabetes such as cataract, neuropathy and nephropathy.(10)
Cilantro has shown to have bio-active compounds including phenolics, flavonoids, steroids, and tannins. It showed significant increase in the activity of various antioxidant enzymes in the body and free radical scavenging capacity. Cilantro has shown anti diabetic properties and significantly lower blood glucose level in animal study. Study indicates that the cilantro could protect liver function and exhibited anti diabetic and antioxidant efficacies.(1)
Coriander seeds have been documented as traditional Persian medicine for diabetes.(11)
In a study of 10 patients of type 2 diabetes mellitus with no previous medication and 10 type-2 taking oral anti diabetic medication with history of inadequate control were treated with coriander seed dry powder part, aqueous and alcoholic extract for two weeks. Researchers found that coriandrum sativum significantly lowered blood glucose level compared to lowered dose. They also concluded that it can be successfully combined with oral anti diabetic medication in type-2 diabetic patients whose diabetes is not controlled by these agents. In the study they used 2.5 g tid as low dose and 4.5 g tid as high dose of the plant.(12)
Improve cardiovascular health
With rich in potassium, which counter effects of sodium, lower fluid volume and thus helps in lowering blood pressure.Cilantro also has shown its effects in lowering total blood cholesterol, triglycerides, and LDL cholesterol. Coriander leaves or cilantro exhibited strong free radical neutralizing effect and prevent cholesterol oxidation. Cholesterol oxidation is identified as a leading factor of blockage or artery as well as heart disease and stroke.(1)Another study published in Food and Chemical Toxicology found that he rich polyphenolic content of coriander seed extract is responsible for preventing oxidative damage by neutralizing free radical and able to prevent risk of heart attack.(13)
Prevents Neurological Inflammation and disease
Chronic inflammation plays a major role in the development of various neurodegenerative diseases including brain diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumor, and meningitis. And lifestyle habits have close link with chronic inflammation as well as development of such neurodegenerative diseases. Research showed that spices as turmeric, red pepper, black pepper, licorice, clove, ginger, garlic, coriander, and cinnamon lower inflammation and thus give protection against neurodegenerative diseases.(14) It also helps to lower anxiety and thus helps to sleep better.
Turmeric has extensive health beneficial effects, you can read more about this and preparation guide here.
Other Health Claims
Cilantro contains vitamin K, which helps in vitamin D absorption and further helps in calcium absorption. So it helps in stronger bone formation. Having anti-bacterial activity against intestinal pathogenic bacteria, it may also prevent diarrheal diseases.(15) Cilantro contains excellent vitamins profile A, C, E, K and also contains health protective flavonoid. On the other side coriander seeds has rich mineral profile with iron, copper, calcium, potassium, Phosphorus, manganese, zinc and magnesium. All play vital roles inside the body. Such as magnesium helps in relaxing tissues. Copper helps in proper functioning of organs as well as metabolic processes. Zinc plays important roles in proper functioning of immune system, cells division as well as growth, wound healing and more. Manganese helps in activating various enzyme as well as plays important roles in various chemical processes inside the body. And may others..
Although most of the studies till now are animal study, nutrient and mineral dense coriander or cilantro shown medicinal value. In the future we aspect more rigorous studies for better picture, as it has gained attention. You may use cilantro or coriander with different cuisines specially cuisines of Asia, China, Latin America and Spain. They also work as flavoring agent with cuisines. You can add cilantro with your salads, soups as well as top to dishes made from meats, fish, grains or legumes. It nicely combines with onion, beets, lentils, potatoes and some others.
Coriander or cilantro appears to be safe. However in some cases may cause mild side effects such as allergic reaction, increases sunlight sensitivity. Excessive intake may cause sunburn and may lead to skin cancer in long term. Individuals with bronchitis or asthma should be careful in using dried or powdered coriander as it may cause irritation in that area.
Disclaimer: Information provided here are generalized information for educational purpose only, not intended to provide one to one health consultation or replace practice of a qualified practitioner. Different people may have different health condition and may have different reaction to the same food.Hence it has been advised to consult with health care provider before application of any of above guidelines.
References: 1.Antioxidant, Antihyperglycemic, and Antihyperlipidemic Effects of Coriandrum sativum Leaf and Stem in Alloxan‐Induced Diabetic Rats,S. Sreelatha,R. Inbavalli: Journal of Food Science,June 2012 2.Evaluation of coriander spice as a functional food by using in vitro bioassays,Zhang CR, Dissanayake AA, Kevseroğlu K, Nair MG.,Food Chem. 2015 Jan 15;167:24-9 3.Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.): A Potential Source of High‐Value Components for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals‐ A Review,Najla Gooda Sahib,Farooq Anwar,Anwarul‐Hassan Gilani,Azizah Abdul Hamid,Nazamid Saari,Khalid M. Alkharfy: Phytotherapy Research,December 2012 4.Role of mercury (Hg) in resistant infections & effective treatment of Chlamydia trachomatis and Herpes family viral infections (and potential treatment for cancer) by removing localized Hg deposits with Chinese parsley and delivering effective antibiotics using various drug uptake enhancement methods,Omura Y, Beckman SL,Acupunct Electrother Res. 1995 Aug-Dec;20(3-4):195-229 5.Prophylactic efficacy of Coriandrum sativum (Coriander) on testis of lead-exposed mice, Sharma V, Kansal L, Sharma A,Biol Trace Elem Res. 2010 Sep;136(3):337-54. 6.Deldar K, Nazemi E, Balali Mood M, et al. Effect of Coriandrum sativum L. extract on lead excretion in 3–7 year old children. Journal of Birjand University of Medical Sciences. 2008;15:11–19 7.Cilantro—Culinary Herb or Miracle Medicinal Plant?,Kathy Abascal,Eric Yarnell, Alternative and Complementary Therapies,Vol. 18, No. 5,Oct 2012 8.Possible Natural ways to eliminate Toxic Heavy Metals,S.Ravichandran,International Journal of ChemTech Research,Vol. 3, No.4, pp 1886-1890, Oct-Dec 2011 9.http://customers.hbci.com/~wenonah/new/9steps.htm 10.Diabetes mellitus: An overview on its pharmacological aspects and reported medicinal plants having antidiabetic activity,DK Patel, R Kumar, D Laloo, and S Hemalatha,Asian Pac J Trop Biomed. 2012 May; 2(5): 411–420 11.A Mechanistic Review on Medicinal Plants Used for Diabetes Mellitus in Traditional Persian Medicine, Fatemeh Farzaei,Mohammad Reza Morovati,Fatemeh Farjadmand,and Mohammad Hosein Farzaei, J Evid Based Complementary Altern Med. 2017 Oct; 22(4): 944–955 12.Clinical investigation of hypoglycemic effect of Coriandrum sativum in type-2 (NIDDM) diabetic patients,Akbar Waheed,Ghulam Abbas Miana,S I Ahmad,Munir A Khan,Pakistan Journal of Pharmacology Vol.23, No.1, January 2006, pp.7-11 13.Cardio protective effect of Coriandrum sativum L. on isoproterenol induced myocardial necrosis in rats,Patel DK, Desai SN, Gandhi HP, Devkar RV, Ramachandran AV,Food Chem Toxicol. 2012 Sep;50(9) :3120-5 14.Neuroprotection by spice-derived nutraceuticals: you are what you eat!,Kannappan R, Gupta SC, Kim JH, Reuter S, Aggarwal BB.,Mol Neurobiol. 2011 Oct;44(2):142-59 15.Antibacterial activity of natural spices on multiple drug resistant Escherichia coli isolated from drinking water, Bangladesh,Rahman S, Parvez AK, Islam R, Khan MH., Ann Clin Microbiol Antimicrob. 2011 Mar 15;10:10