Know in one minute about Culantro vs Cilantro
What is Culantro: Introduction
Culantro (Eryngium foetidum) is a leafy vegetable herb, belonging to the family Apiaceae (Carrot family), which includes carrots, celery, and parsley.
It is widely used as a spice as well as a medicinal plant. Its tender leaves can be consumed by stir fry, boiled, in salsas, chutneys, sauces, rice, stews, and soups, and mixed with meat stuffing.
Culantro has a pungent odor and bitter, soapy flavor similar to cilantro, but stronger. With a description like that, it is apparent that this is a flavor that some love and some hate.
Culantro originated in Mexico, the Caribbean, Central, and South America. On the other hand, it is cultivated worldwide in America, South Asia, Pacific Islands, South Europe, and Africa.
Culantro is a small, evergreen, branched, biennial plant that grows 8 to 40 cm tall. The leaves are waxy, long with harmless yellow spiny toothed margins that grow rosette patterns around a small central stem.
On the other hand, leaves on the stalks are smaller and tougher. The herb has clustered green flowers along with rounded fruits (1).
Health benefits of Culantro leaves
1. Antimicrobial properties
Culantro helps to fight against various bacteria and fungus as well as protect the body from infections (2).
2. Anti-inflammatory properties
3. Gastroprotective properties of culantro leaves
Culantro leaf is effective to inhibit the growth of Helicobacter pylori that causes stomach pain and ulcers (5).
Furthermore, culantro leaves help in killing skin-penetrating parasitic worms that cause internal infections in the intestines (6).
4. Antioxidant properties of culantro leaves
5. Antidiabetic properties of culantro leaves
Culantro leaves are rich in flavonoids and saponins that help to reduce blood glucose levels (10).
6. Treat infertility by culantro leaves
Culantro leaves are useful to treat menstrual pain, infertility, problems related to childbirth like placenta removal, and shorten labor (11).
7. Analgesic properties
Culantro leaves are a good source of alkaloids, triterpenoids, and flavonoids which are beneficial to reduce pain by blocking the sensation of pain by sensory neurons (12).
8. Relieve from flatulence or gas
Intake of culantro leaves is effective to treat acidity and prevent the formation of gas in the gastrointestinal tract (13).
9. Anticlastogenic properties
β-carotene and Kaempferol obtained from culantro leaves inhibit the disruption or breakages of chromosomes.
Therefore daily intake of culantro leaves act as blocking agents and/or suppressing agents for cancer (14).
10. Treat parasitic infections
Culantro leaves are a popular condiment widely used in flavoring, marinating, and seasoning foods like soups and sauces. It is also used to garnishing salads, salsa, sofrito, noodles, curries, vegetables, meat dishes, and snacks.
What is Cilantro: Introduction
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum L.; family Umbelliferae) is the name of coriander leaves widely used in Asian, European, and Central American cuisine.
It is a small herb and contains several branches and sub-branches. The taste of cilantro differs to individuals who like cilantro may describe it as fresh, fragrant, or citrusy. Whereas those who dislike cilantro report that it tastes soapy, mold, insect, or bug-like (18).
Geographical distribution- This plant is native to Italy, is presently cultivated in (Morocco, Malta, Egypt), and Asia (China, Pakistan, India, and Bangladesh).
The height of the plant can range anywhere between 20 and 140 cm. The recently produced leaves are oval, but aerial leaves are elongated and more divided (19). It is an annual herbaceous plant best grown between October and February (20).
Health benefits of cilantro
1. Good for skin
Cilantro intake helps to increase collagen synthesis and protect the skin against UVB-induced damages (21).
2. Anti-diabetic and lower cholesterol level by cilantro
Cilantro contains a good amount of phenolics, flavonoids, steroids, and tannins which help to decrease blood glucose levels (22). It also decreases total cholesterol, triglycerides, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level and increases high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (23).
3. Cilantro treat liver disease
4. Treat food poisoning
Cilantro helps to fight against the bacteria Salmonella choleraesuis that causes typhoid, diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and vomiting to severe infections (26).
5. Treat Memory Loss
Daily intake of cilantro helps to reverse the memory deficits induced by the aging process and beneficial for Alzheimer’s patients (27).
6. Treat epileptic seizures
Cilantro consumption helps to prevent or delay the duration, amplitude, and frequency of epileptic fits and other seizures (28).
7. Treat arthritis
Cilantro controls oxidative stress and increases serum calcium levels in arthritis patients (29).
8. Treat pain
Flavonoids such as quercetin found in cilantro act as an analgesic agent that helps to relieve pain (30).
9. Cilantro increases appetite
Cilantro acts as an appetite stimulant which helps to increase food intake and body weight. However, further study is needed to determine this effect on humans (31).
10. To keep the kidney healthy by cilantro
Intake of cilantro helps to decrease the concentrations of iron, arsenic, and cadmium in the kidney (32).
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 (33).
Uses in recipes
Cilantro can be eaten raw or used in countless ways to enhance taste and nutrition. It is used as a parsley-like to add some color and flavor in the salad, soups, sauces, chutneys, and meat dishes.
Culantro vs. Cilantro
Culantro is a botanical cousin of cilantro, but they are two different herbs. They look nothing alike although they have a similar aroma and flavor. Let’s take a look at some differences between them.
|Common Name||Spiny coriander, long-leaf coriander (bandhania), Mexican coriander, or Mexican parsley||Coriander (dhaniya), Chinese parsley, or Phak chee|
|Taste or flavor||It has stronger citrus or earthy flavor and pungent aroma than cilantro.||Cilantro is much lighter in flavor than culantro.|
|Consumption||Culantro has a more robust flavor that’s why it isn’t usually consumed fresh. It can be put in a salad but cut into thin ribbons||Raw cilantro is used to garnish or chopped and sprinkled into the top of the dish.|
|How to use||It works best to add culantro during the cooking process to bring out the flavor of foods.|
The leaves are tougher than cilantro and can be boiled at a high heat without damage.
|Added only after cooking as the leaves are delicate and soft.|
The leaves are more soft and delicate than culantro so high heat diminishes its flavor.
|Amount or proportion||Culantro tastes bitter in great amounts because it is ten times stronger than that of cilantro. Thus it can be used in fewer amounts so it doesn’t overpower the dish.||Used in moderate amount than culantro|
|Annual or biennial||It is a biennial herb (lasts for two years). It means to come back for several years from the same shoot.||Cilantro is an annual plant, which means it dies off every year and comes back from the seeds it produced.|
|Leaves||Culantro leaves are long, waxy, saw-toothed, and lettuce-shaped with several small yellow spines.||The leaves are small and lacy like parsley, have three ‘fingers’ that are rounded with no spines|
|Leaf structure||The leaves grow in rosettes form on a thick short stem and are arranged spirally.||The leaves grow on the tips of long, thin stems which are several inches above the ground.|
|Flower||Culantro flowers are green and also have spines. The spines become quite sharp as the plant matures.||The flowers of cilantro are white and have no spines.|
They have a different nutritional profile
When it comes to nutrition, culantro is quite distinct in all the nutrients and minerals. Culantro contains a lower amount of multi-elements than cilantro.
|Crude protein (%)||2.63||3.3|
|Reducing sugar (%)||8.26||6.5|
|Ascorbic acid (mg/100g)||32.33||135|
However, there is less difference and can be used in the place of cilantro for daily consumption or dietary supplement (1).