Ask the Pharmacist: Surprising medicinal benefits of cilantro
When you think of fresh cilantro, what comes to mind? Is it guacamole, tacos or other Mexican cuisine? You may be surprised but cilantro can be used in everything, it’s a delicious herb with medicinal benefits galore.
Cilantro refers to the leaves, which look a little bit like a parsley bunch. I always squint to make sure I’m grabbing the right one at the grocery store. But the seeds of this plant are called coriander and so both names are used for the respective spices. And even more interesting, did you know that consumers have been pushing for antibiotic-free chicken and cilantro is used as one herbal antibiotic? That’s how strong the anti-microbial effects are!
Cilantro is rich in carotenoids, as well as quercetin, kaempferol, apigenin and rhamnetin. This simply means it provides excellent antioxidant power to clean up your body like a cellular Roomba. Plus, because it’s green the chlorophyll you consume from it acts as an excellent detoxifier. More on that momentarily.
It’s rare but true, that some people find the smell and taste of cilantro quite foul! That’s because they have a cilantro SNP in one of their ‘smell genes’ the olfactory receptor OR6A2. Polymorphisms in this specific gene cause some people to hate the herb, but again it’s rare. Still, some people are going to hate it! That’s too bad because there are tremendous medicinal benefits for cilantro. Here are the top three surprising medicinal benefits of cilantro.
Cilantro is useful for gentle chelation and detoxification of heavy metals from the body. These metals get into your bloodstream if you eat certain foods processed with metals or are exposed to environmental pollutants, contaminated water, old dental fillings, household chemicals, smoking and more. While cilantro can’t remove all metals, nor does it prevent any disease, it is still widely revered for its detoxification capabilities and there are studies to prove that.
Cilantro is one of the best herbal sources for vitamin K which helps put calcium back into your bones by shuttling it out of your bloodstream. We also know that cilantro is a great source of minerals which are also needed for strong bones. It contains calcium of course, but also potassium, iron, magnesium and manganese.
Epilepsy is a serious condition that requires proper treatment by a qualified practitioner. Traditional medications often included those in the category of anti-convulsants and tricyclic antidepressants. But what about an herb like cilantro? The therapeutic action of cilantro comes as a surprise to most; however, it is proven and in my professional opinion, it is a promising adjunctive therapy to controlling seizures along with conventional treatments.
My article refers to eating the fresh herb which you can buy at any supermarket, so I am uncertain if pills and extracts (i.e. cilantro supplementation) are right for everyone. Please ask your doctor or pharmacist before taking dietary supplements of cilantro to be sure they are right for you. If you would like additional information, please subscribe to my free newsletter at suzycohen.com.
Suzy Cohen is a registered pharmacist. The information presented here is not intended to treat, cure or diagnose any condition. Visit SuzyCohen.com.