Cilantro vs Coriander: Differences and benefits

Know in one minute about Cilantro and Coriander

  • Cilantro and coriander are the same herb but have different uses and tastes.
  • Edible leaves and stems are known as cilantro.
  • Whereas dried seeds, leaves, stems are known as coriander.
  • Mainly used for garnishing, marinating, flavoring, and seasoning foods.
  • Cilantro leaves have a fresh, aromatic, and citrusy flavor.
  • Whereas the aroma and flavor of coriander are milder, earthy, bittersweet, and slightly nutty.
  • Coriander can be used during cooking while cilantro is added only after cooking due to its soft leaves.
  • Cilantro is a rich source of vitamins while coriander contains a high amount of dietary fiber and minerals.

Introduction

Although cilantro vs coriander is generally the same thing. And are called by different names in different places. Hence Cilantro and coriander (Coriandrum sativum; Apiaceae family) both come from the same plant having different uses, tastes carry different meanings.

When the plant is freshly harvested, the green leaves of the plant are called cilantro. Whereas if the dried fruits are used, the herb is called coriander (1)

In many European countries (like the United Kingdom) these plant leaves are referred to as Chinese parsley or coriander leaves. On the other hand, this herb is generally pronounced as cilantro in North American countries (2).

What is a Cilantro? 

Cilantro is the fresh leaves and stems of the coriander plant. It is the first or vegetative stage of the plant’s life cycle. 

Cilantro is also the Spanish word for coriander and known for its delicate, bright green leaves and lacy like parsley. It is also known as green coriander and Mexican or Chinese parsley (3).

People either love or hate cilantro due to its taste. Those who love it find the flavor fresh, aromatic, and citrusy with a slight peppery tone. Whereas those who dislike (about 4%–14%) cilantro find the flavor is soapy, mold, insect, or bug-like. 

A research study suggested that cilantro or coriander aroma is mostly due to the presence of aldehydes. Those who do not like the taste and smell are sensitive to harmful aldehydes. On the other hand, those not able to detect aromatic chemicals find it pleasant (4).

Botanical description

Cilantro stem is erect, thin, contains several branches and sub-branches. Cilantro leaves are green, oval, and slightly lobed but sections of the upper leaves are elongated and more divided (5).

Health benefits of cilantro

1. Good for skin

Cilantro protects the skin against UVB-induced damages as well as increases collagen synthesis (6).

2. Antioxidant, anti-diabetic, and lowers cholesterol level

Cilantro helps to maintain blood sugar levels (7). It also decreases bad cholesterol and increases good cholesterol levels. Thus, fight against various infections (8).

3. To keep the kidney and liver healthy

Cilantro treats liver injury and protects the kidney from heavy metal (9, 10).

4. Treat food poisoning 

Cilantro fights against the Salmonella choleraesuis bacteria that cause typhoid, stomach flu (diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and vomiting), and severe infections (11).

3. Treat Memory Loss

Daily intake of cilantro helps to reverse the memory loss induced by the aging process and is beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients (12).

4. Treat epileptic seizures 

Cilantro helps to prevent or delay the duration, amplitude, and frequency of epileptic fits and other seizures (13).

5. Treat arthritis

Cilantro reduces joint swelling and helps to relieve pain (14, 15).

6. Induce sleep

Cilantro is beneficial to increase sleep time and shows a calming or sedative effect (16).

Uses in recipes

Cilantro can be eaten raw or frequently used as an important ingredient in eastern, Indian, Thai, and Vietnamese cuisine. It is used to garnish the salad, salsa, soups, and meat dishes due to its attractive green color and aroma (17).

What is coriander?

The word “coriander” is used for different parts of the plant including leaves, stems, seeds, etc. When the plant flowers and develops seeds, it is referred to as coriander in most places. The seeds are earthy, warmer, slightly nutty, bittersweet, and spicy that produces a lovely aroma when toasted (5).

Botanical description

It is globular and light yellowish-brown in color while ground coriander is a similar light brown. The seeds when pressed break into two locules each having one seed (19).

Health benefits of coriander

1. Treat arthritis

Coriander seed consumption helps to reduce joint swelling and prevent inflammation (20).

2. Keep the brain healthy

Coriander is effective to reduce oxidative stress and improve cognition and memory.  Thus protect the brain from abnormalities (21).

3. Antioxidant and Anti-diabetic properties

Coriander seed helps to lower the blood glucose level. It also increases antioxidant levels in a diabetic person (22).

Coriander is also effective to prevent eye complications such as cataract and retinopathy in diabetes mellitus patients (23).

4. Lower cholesterol level

Intake of coriander seed in the diet is beneficial to reduce bad cholesterol levels and increase the good cholesterol levels. It also enhances bile acid formation by the degradation of cholesterol thus preventing hypocholesterolemia (24).

5. Contraceptive properties

Coriander helps to decrease serum progesterone levels and may be used as an antifertility agent in women (25).

6. Treat indigestion, abdominal colic, and diarrhea

Coriander stimulates the gastric acid secretion, relax smooth muscles and fight against bacteria (26).

It also helps in reducing the inflammation in the colon thus treating abdominal colic, diarrhea, and inflammatory bowel disorders (27).

7. Treat hypertension

Coriander is beneficial to lower both systolic and diastolic blood pressure as well as increase the urine output (diuresis)  (27).

Uses in recipes

Coriander seed is the basic ingredient in curry and is often added to meats, stews, and bakery products. It is also used in pickling and special drinks, such as mulled wine.

Culantro vs Cilantro

The nutritional difference between cilantro and coriander 

Cilantro and coriander vary in terms of nutritional content. Coriander contains a good amount of dietary fiber and minerals while cilantro is a rich source of vitamin C and carotene.

Cilantro leaves contain more than 10 times higher concentrations of carotene than tomatoes, beans, and cucumbers (4).  According to USDA nutrient value of cilantro and coriander per 100 g is as follows (28, 29).

Compound Cilantro (Amounts per 100 g) Coriander  (Amounts per 100 g)
Water 92.21 g 8.86 g
Energy 23 kcal 298 kcal
Protein 2.13 g 12.37 g
Total lipid (fat) 0.52 g 17.77 g
Carbohydrate 3.67 g 54.99 g
Fiber, total dietary 2.8 g 41.9 g
Sugar 0.87 g
Calcium 67 mg 709 mg
Iron, Fe 1.77 mg 16.32 mg
Magnesium 26 mg 330 mg
Phosphorus 48 mg 409 mg
Potassium 521 mg 1267 mg
Sodium 46 mg 35 mg
Zinc 0.5 mg 4.7 mg
Copper 0.225 mg 0.975 mg
Manganese 0.426 mg 1.9 mg
Vitamin C 27 mg 21 mg
Thiamin 0.067 mg 0.24 mg
Riboflavin 0.16 mg 0.29 mg
Niacin 1.114 mg 2.13 mg
Pantothenic acid 0.57 mg
Folate total 62 µg 0 µg
Vitamin B-6 0.149 mg
Vitamin A, RAE 337 µg 0 µg
Vitamin A 6748 IU 0 IU
Vitamin E 2.5 mg
Vitamin K 310 µg
Fatty acids, total saturated 0.014 g 0.99 g
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated 0.275 g 13.58 g
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated 0.04 g 1.75 g
Taste or flavor Cilantro is bright, citrusy and a little soapy flavor Coriander has an earthy, warm, aromatic, and slightly sweet curry flavor.
How to use Cilantro is very delicate and soft, that’s why it is added only after cooking.  Coriander is best to add during the cooking process to bring out the flavor of foods.
Appearance  Cilantro is small and lacy like parsley, has three ‘fingers’ that are rounded. Coriander is oval and yellowish-brown in color.
Health benefits

(Both the cilantro and coriander provide some of the same benefits but each provides its own distinct set of benefits as well.)

Cilantro is good for the skin, liver, kidney, and brain.  Coriander helps to treat indigestion, abdominal colic, and diarrhea
Uses Cilantro is used in many Mexican, Middle Eastern, Indian and Asian recipes Coriander is widely used in Asian, Latin, and Indian dishes.

 

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