Shiny, smooth, delicate green herb; slender, grooved stems with compound pinnate (leaflets arranged on each side of a common stalk) lower leaves and finely segmented upper leaves.
Looks like parsley but feels softer – rub leaves to release fragrance to verify you are holding cilantro, not parsley.
Those who do not prefer the taste may claim that it tastes like “soap”.
Coriander (primarily refers to the seeds although some might use this in reference to the plant.)
* Cineole and linoleic acid are two primary components of cilantro that contain anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic properties and also help purge extra water present in the body due to swelling.
* Contains oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C), each of which are effective in lowering high cholesterol in the blood, as well as the internal walls of the veins and arteries.
* Borneol and Linalool work to cleanse the liver and reduce diarrhea.
* Cineole, Limonene, Alpha-pinene & beta-phelandrene offer anti-bacterial properties.
* Citronelol component is a well-known natural antiseptic, helping to reduce bad-breath, heal mouth-wounds and prevent oral ulcers.
* High amounts of vitamin-A, and important minerals like phosphorus
* The best known chemical found in cilantro is a substance called Dodecenal. In a recent study led by Isao Kubo, Ph.D at the University of Berkeley, laboratory tests have shown that this component of cilantro is two times as potent as the commonly-used allopathic antibiotic medicine, gentamicin. This is the same antibiotic used to kill Salmonella, a potentially deadly food-born disease. Researchers believe that cilantro is the only natural antibacterial agent that is more effective than gentamicin. These same researchers are even looking into using cilantro oil as a way to eradicate the ever-growing problem of allopathic antibiotic resistance. 1
* WARNING: Some sources that warn that cilantro leaf should not be used during pregnancy, as it may lead to an increase chance of miscarriage in mothers, or may reduce chances of conception in women trying to become pregnant. If you are pregnant or breast-feeding, please consult with your health care provider before consuming cilantro in any form.
Tips for Use:
* Before it is used, Cilantro should be crushed, either by hand or with a mortar and pestle.
* Mexican Cuisine: Cilantro is a perfect addition to Mexican dishes; add Cilantro to salsas and bean dips. Mix crushed Cilantro into sour cream and use it as a topping for chili, tacos, or enchiladas.
* Asian Cuisine: Sprinkle over stir-fried vegetables for color & flavor. Add to sesame-ginger dressing when making Chinese chicken salad.
* Dried cilantro is pretty much worthless since the flavor and aroma are lost in the drying process.
Coriander is probably one of the first herbs to be used by mankind, perhaps going back as far back as 5000 BC. It is mentioned in early Sanskrit writings dating from about 1500 BC. The Romans spread it throughout Europe, and it was one of the first spices to arrive in America.
Cilantro seed (known as Coriander) has been found in the burial sites of ancient Egyptians and Chinese, who associated it with powers of immortality. It is found in many Peruvian dishes, and is still used as a bitter herb in Passover a tradition passed down from the ancient Hebrews. The Romans included it in vinegars used to preserve meat. Pliny named it after a bedbug that emits an aroma similar to the herb. Coriander gained a reputation as an aphrodisiac in the tale The Thousand and One Arabian Nights.
1 Antibacterial Activity of Coriander Volatile Compounds against Salmonella choleraesuis. Isao Kubo, et. al. Journal of Agric. Food Chem., 2002, 50 (26), pp 7622-7626. Published 2002 American Chemical Society