Cilantro is also known as coriander leaves or Chinese parsley. Its seeds and leaves are used as a seasoning condiment hence it is considered both a spice and a herb.
Cilantro bears strong resemblance to Italian flat leaf parsley with the latter having less fragrant or smell. Both belong to the same family Umbelliferae.
The leaves of this herb should look vibrantly fresh and deep green in color. They should be crisp, firm and free from yellow or brown spots. It has a strong smell that you either love or hate.
Nutritional Benefits Of Cilantro
Cilantro is full of an unusual array of healing phytonutrients and antioxidants. Its leaves and seeds contain some amount of various essential oils that makes this herb useful for use in traditional medicines. It is antiseptic, analgesic, aphrodisiac, helps with digestion, fungicidal and a natural stimulant.
It is a very good source of vitamins A, C, K and traces of the B vitamins. In the minerals department, it provides high amount of calcium and potassium. Both of these would have already been helpful for relieving various ailments. Then there are iron, manganese and sodium.
Health Benefits Of Cilantro
Cilantro has such a wide variety of goodness in the little leaves, making it a very useful herb for relieving many ailments. Include a bunch into your juice regularly for its life-giving properties.
Antibiotic properties: An antibiotic compound, dodecenal, was isolated from cilantro and tested in the laboratory. The impressive result showed that it is twice as effective as the commonly used antibiotic drug gentamicin at killing the food-borne bacteria, salmonella.
Anticancer: The anti-oxidant properties from cilantro include beta carotene, vitamin C and E, ferulic, caffeic acid, kaempferol, and quercetin. This broad spectrum of anti-oxidant helps to lower the risk of oxidative stress in the cells that are carcinogenic (cancer-causing).
Antimicrobial properties: Cilantro contains volatile oils that have antimicrobial properties, making it a very useful herb that can be used for fungal, bacterial or yeast infections.
Anti-inflammatory properties: Cilantro is an excellent source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Omega 3 fatty acids is the building block for several of the body’s most widely used families of anti-inflammatory messaging molecules and many other uses.
Blood sugar: A study that was done on mice confirmed that this herb has an anti-diabetic effect and can control blood sugar. When juiced and consumed regularly, cilantro can help stimulate the secretion of insulin, thereby lowering blood sugar.
Bone Health: Cilantro is an excellent source of calcium. Calcium is a vital nutrient that is required for formation and maintenance of strong bones.
Cholesterol lowering ability: Cilantro when juiced and consumed on a regular basis can help reduce the amount of damaged fats (lipid peroxides) in the cell membranes. Studies have shown that cilantro can lower bad cholesterol level and increase the good cholesterol level.
Eyesight: The high beta-carotene and anti-oxidants in cilantro make it one of the best herbs that helps alleviate eye problems thus improving eyesight. In addition, it also help reduce the threat posed by age; associated with vision disorders such as macular degeneration, and cataract.
Heavy metal detox: Cilantro is one of the very few herbs that is used as a heavy metal detox agent, to detoxify mercury, aluminium and lead among others. Eating cilantro or drinking its juice regularly helps prevent Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
Immune booster: The presence of antioxidants, rich phytonutrients, minerals and vitamins in cilantro all work synergistically to boost the body’s overall immunity system against infection.
Insomnia: Due to the various phytonutrients and medicinal values of cilantro, it helps rebalance the internal chemicals, providing a calming effect to the nerves that enable sleep to come easier.
Kidney stones: Cilantro has a diuretic and detoxifying effect that can help lower the risk for kidney stones.
How to store: Wrap cilantro (still with the roots) loosely in a piece of newspaper to keep it free of moisture. Put in a plastic bag and store in the fridge to preserve it for a longer period of time. When stored properly, it can last for up to a week. When you want to use it, remove it from storage and soak in a bucket of clean water for about 10 minutes for it to revert back to its crisp state.
Since cilantro is very fragile, it should be washed very delicately before juicing. Put it inside a bowl filled with clean water, and moving it around with your hands gently. This process will make sure that all dirt and sand on the leaves are dislodged, and settled at the bottom of the bowl. Remove the leaves from the bowl, and replace the water. Continue this procedure till it is clean.
Include a bunch in any of your green juices with a slice of lemon. Cilantro has a distinct taste that may be too strong for some people. It is an acquired taste that you may choose not to acquire. Those who acquired it love it!
Cilantro is best juiced using a masticating juicer, especially with the horizontal gears. Here’s a juice recipe that I like to use for heavy metal detox/cleanse. Also read about heavy metal poisoning and heavy metal detox drink.