Botanical: Coriandrum sativum
Family: Umbelliferae (carrot) - Apiaceae (parsley)
Other common names: Chinese Parsley, Cilantro, Coriander, Koriandrum
Cilantro Leaf acts mainly on the digestive system. For thousands of years, it has been used as an herbal digestive aid to improve the appetite, relieve flatulence, upset stomach and indigestion, kill bacteria and even make your food taste better. The volatile oil in Cilantro Leaf also appears to be an effective anti-inflammatory that safely eases the pain of arthritis, rheumatism and sore muscles.
The information presented herein by Herbal Extracts Plus is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Cilantro Leaf grows on the Coriander plant, a native of the Mediterranean regions of southern Europe, southwestern Asia and northern Africa, that now grows in Europe and North and South America. It is a small, annual ornamental that reaches about two to three feet in height and grows on both cultivated and waste ground, thriving in moist, well-drained soil in a sunny position, but those plants cultivated solely for their leaves (Cilantro) do best in partial shade. Cilantro Leaf resembles the parsley leaf, but becomes more jagged and is much smaller and more tender. The plant prefers a cool, damp springtime, followed by a hot, dry summer. All parts of the plant (both the seeds [Coriander]and leaves) have an extremely pungent and disagreeable scent, but upon drying, the Coriander seeds, which are also harvested for their sweet, spicy flavor and medicinal qualities, lose their odor and become more and more fragrant the longer they are dried. Coriander seeds have similar medicinal properties as the leaf of the plant, but there are slightly different applications. The leaves are rich in volatile oil and are gathered when young for commercial uses in herbal medicines and cuisines. One of the world's oldest known herbs, Cilantro Leaf has been an important medicinal herb that supports good digestion for over three thousand years and was mentioned in Sanskrit texts, ancient Egyptian papyri, The Bible (where it was compared to manna) and in the writings of the Greek physician, Hippocrates. The first-century Roman scholar, Pliny, claimed that the best Cilantro came from Egypt, where, no doubt, the Israelites gained their knowledge of its properties. The botanical name, Coriandrum, is derived from the Greek, koriannon or koros, a type of bedbug that is thought to smell like Cilantro and also giving rise to Cilantro's other name, Coriander. We can thank the Roman armies for carrying the plant to northern Europe, where it was included in herbal medicine, cooking and used to preserve meats. The Chinese believed that Cilantro conferred immortality, and the herb was recommended to counteract certain types of food poisonings caused by decaying matter in the Chinese Materia Medica. In the Middle Ages, Cilantro was included in love potions as a potent aphrodisiac and was mentioned in virtually all medieval herbals. Cilantro Leaf is widely used to flavor food, especially in the cuisines of the Middle East and Southeast Asia, and it is said that one South American tribe is so fond of it that they actually exude its unpleasant scent. The essential oil is highly valued commercially in perfumery, the spice industry and, of course, herbal medicines. Some of Cilantro Leaf's constituents include essential oil (its active ingredient), malic acid, tannin and fatty matter.
Cilantro Leaf's main reputation lies with its ability to support the digestive system. It is a fine stomach tonic that stimulates the secretion of gastric juices, thereby helping to promote healthy digestion. Cilantro is said to soothe the stomach of both adults and colicky babies and generally reduce irritation in the gastrointestinal tract, including heartburn, nausea, dyspepsia, intestinal gas and stomach pain. It also helps to improve the appetite and is often used as an aperitif.
Cilantro Leaf is considered a carminative that will help prevent gas from forming in the intestines and will also help expel wind from the bowels. In addition, Cilantro is believed to allay "griping" (pain and grumbling in the bowels).
Cilantro Leaf is also thought to be an expectorant that encourages the loosening and expulsion of phlegm from the respiratory system.
As an antispasmodic, Cilantro Leaf is believed to help relieve diarrhea and ease abdominal cramps, further supporting its beneficial actions on the gastrointestinal system.
Cilantro Leaf contains substances that are antibacterial and antifungal, helping to prevent infections from developing in wounds. Topically applied, the essential oil in Cilantro Leaf has been used as an herbal pain reliever to ease the discomforts of rheumatic joints, sore muscles, neuralgia and sciatica, which also appears to attest to its anti-inflammatory reputation.
Cilantro Leaf has been described as a chelator of lead, mercury or other heavy metals, and although it is often used in Chelation Therapy as such, there is little research to substantiate the claim, and the controversial treatment is not approved by the established medical community.
Cilantro Leaf Herbal Supplement may increase your chance of miscarriage if you are pregnant, or it may cause problems getting pregnant. Before using Cilantro, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine, or if you are breast feeding or have stomach problems.