Cilantro benefits and side effects

Know in one minute about Culantro benefits

  • Cilantro is an evergreen, flavorsome, and lush leafy herb.
  • It is used for garnishing, marinating, flavoring, and seasoning foods.
  • It grows in well-drained humus-rich soil with partial sunlight
  • This plant requires water thoroughly and regularly.
  • Mulching is necessary to protect the root from weed and maintain moisture.
  • Once a month, fertilize the plant with liquid mild fertilizer solution
  • Easy to propagate by seeds.
  • It helps to keep the skin, liver, and kidney healthy, fight against diabetes, pain, and inflammation.
  • Treat food poisoning, memory loss, epileptic seizures, and cholesterol problems.
  • Cilantro helps to increase appetite and induce sleep.

Introduction

Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum L.; family Umbelliferae) is the name of coriander leaves generally pronounced in North American countries. It is the most commonly used spice in culinary worldwide due to its unique aroma and flavor. Cilantro has a slightly strong, citrus-like, and soapy flavor with a nauseating odor. Cilantro benefits and side effects are discussed as follows.

Geographical distribution

It was originated in the Mediterranean region and commercially grown in the tropical areas of Ukraine, Russia, Romania, Morocco, Mexico, India, and Argentina

Botanical description

Cilantro is a small herb and contains several branches and sub-branches.  It is an annual plant with pronounced taproot, white or pink flowers, and 20-70 cm in height. Cilantro has green and variable-shaped leaves.  The lowest leaves are broadly lobed and the uppermost leaves are slender as well as more divided (1).

Common name

Cilantro (Spanish), Chinese parsley, Phak chee (Thai), Dhanya (Sanskirt)

How to grow and take care of cilantro

Cilantro can be easily propagated using seeds and grows best from mid to late autumn through to early spring. Moreover, cilantro is a short-lived plant; it readily produces seeds and self-seeds. So for a steady supply of cilantro, sow seeds every few weeks throughout the growing season.

Common problems with this plant are, it survives in extreme conditions like neither too cold nor too hot. To obtain flavorsome and lush, leafy cilantro we need some right conditions such as proper water, light, temperature, soil, and fertilizer. Let’s take a closure look at these conditions in detail.

1. Germination

Sow the seeds about one inch deep in the soil and space the seeds 4 to 6 inches apart. Germination of seeds takes up to 2-3 weeks but avoid transplanting or repotting the germinated seeds because it may cause bolting. 

2. Light

This plant needs bright indirect light.  Morning sunlight or partial sun is best for the growth of this plant.

3. Soil

Cilantro plants prefer well-drained humus-rich soil with a pH of 6.2 to 6.8 which gives space to grow roots healthy.

4. Temperature 

The ideal temperatures required for healthy growth are 17°C-30°C.  

5. Water

Water thoroughly and regularly because this plant requires about 1 inch of water per week.  Keep the soil moist and not soaked as it causes root rot.

6. Fertilizer

Fertilize the plant with a liquid mild fertilizer solution once a month helps it grow in its best possible way.

7. Harvesting

Cilantro leaves can be harvested when they are bright green and young and plants are 10-15cm (4-6 inch) tall. 

You can also harvest the seeds once the coriander plant develops flowers and seed heads. 

8. Mulch

To protect the root from weeds, this plant needs mulching around the base of the plant. 

9. Potting and Repotting

Cilantro has a deep taproot so does not require being repotted, it grows best in one place for the rest of its life

Cilantro benefits

1. Cilantro helps in keeping skin healthy

Cilantro benefits is due to Linolenic acid that helps to increase collagen synthesis as well as prevent the degradation of collagen and elastin fiber thus protecting the skin against UVB-induced damages (2).

2. Antioxidant, anti-diabetic, and lower cholesterol level by cilantro 

Cilantro contains a good amount of phenolics, flavonoids, steroids, and tannins. These bioactive compounds help to decrease blood glucose levels by enhancing the level of insulin in the pancreas (3).

It also decreases total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level and increases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (4).

Furthermore, cilantro is also effective to remove harmful radicals from the body and protect the body from various diseases. Therefore, cilantro can be used as a remedy for diabetes (5).

3. Cilantro treat liver disease

Other cilantro benefits are due to phenolic compounds that increase the activity of various antioxidant enzymes (6). Thus cilantro protects liver function and treats liver injury caused by different chemicals (7).

4. Treat food poisoning 

Cilantro is an excellent source of the bioactive compound that fights against the Salmonella choleraesuis bacteria. These bacteria may cause enteric fever (typhoid), stomach flu (diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and vomiting) to severe infections (8).

5. Treat Memory Loss

Daily intake of cilantro helps to increase acetylcholine concentration in the brain which is important to regulate cognitive functions.

Thus cilantro reversed the memory deficits induced by the aging process and was beneficial for Alzheimer patients (9).

6. Treat epileptic seizures 

Cilantro contains a bioactive compound known as dodecenal that activates a class of potassium channels in the brain. This compound helps to prevent or delay the duration, amplitude, and frequency of epileptic fits and other seizures (10)

7. Treat arthritis

Cilantro controls oxidative stress by increasing antioxidants like beta carotene, vitamin C, and enzymes as well as decrease lipid peroxidation. Thus, cilantro increases serum calcium levels in arthritis patients (11).

8. Treat pain

Flavonoids such as quercetin found in cilantro act as an analgesic agent that helps to relieve pain (12).

9. Cilantro increases appetite

Cilantro contains linalool which helps to increase food intake and body weight. Therefore, cilantro can be used as an appetite stimulant, however; further study is needed to determine this effect on the human (13).

10. To keep the kidney healthy by cilantro

Intake of cilantro helps to decrease the concentrations of iron, arsenic, and cadmium in the kidney (14)

11. Induce sleep

The presence of linalool in cilantro is beneficial to show a calming or sedative effect. It increases sleep time without any neurotoxic effect (15).

Side effect of cilantro

Cilantro is very popular as a food flavoring agent and as a fragrance in many cosmetic products such as soap, lotion, cream, perfume.

Moreover, the consumption of cilantro is generally recognized as safe. But besides cilantro benefits, there may be some side effects are also. Like it may causes mild allergic symptoms such as itching/stinging of lips and mouth.

However, the severe anaphylactic reaction is rare thus cilantro is considered safe as a food and food ingredient (16).

Uses in recipes

Cilantro can be eaten raw or used in all sorts of cuisines, from Latin American to Asian. It is used as a parsley-like garnish with a fresh fragrance in the salad, soups, and meat dishes 

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