Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Health Benefits of Cilantro

Cilantro is a popular Mediterranean herb commonly recognized in Asia as coriander. It is widely employed in particularly savory dishes all cultures both in modern as well as traditional cusines.The herb contains many notable plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have disease preventing and health-promoting properties. It is quite similar to dill in utility terms of its leaves and seeds which can be used as seasoning.
Botanically, the herb belongs to the family of apiaceae, of the genus: Coriandrum. Scientific name: Coriandrum sativum.
Cilantro herb is native to Mediterranean and Asia Minor (Turkey) regions. This perennial plant requires well-draining fertile soil supplemented with warm summer climates to flourish. It grows 1 to 2 feet in height and features dark green, hairless, soft leaves that are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on near the flowering stems. The leaves and stem have slightly citrus flavor. It bears umbels of small white or light pink flowers in midsummer, followed by round-oval shaped aroamtic seeds.

Health benefits of cilantro (coriander)

  • Cilantro herb contains no cholesterol; but is rich in anti-oxidants and dietary fiber which help reduce LDL or "bad cholesterol" while increasing HDL or "good cholesterol" levels.
  • The leaves and seeds contain many essential volatile oils such as borneol, linalool, cineole, cymene, terpineol, dipentene, phellandrene, pinene and terpinolene.
  • The leaves and stem tips are also rich in numerous anti-oxidant polyphenolic flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin and epigenin.
  • The herb is a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Iron is essential for red blood cell production. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
  • It is also rich in many vital vitamins including folic-acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-A, beta carotene, vitamin-C that are essential for optimum health. Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant. Cilantro leaves provides 30% of daily recommended levels of vitamin-C.
  • It provides 6748 IU of vitamin-A per 100 g, about 225% of recommended daily intake. Vitamin-A, an important fat soluble vitamin and anti-oxidant, is also required for maintaining healthy mucus membranes and skin and is also essential for vision. Consumption of natural foods rich in vitamin-A and flavonoids (carotenes) helps body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • Cilantro is one of the richest herbal sources for vitamin K; provides about 258% of DRI. Vitamin-K has potential role in bone mass building by promoting osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.
  • The coriander seeds oil have found application in many traditional medicines as analgesic, aphrodisiac, anti-spasmodic, deodorant, digestive, carminative, fungicidal, lipolytic (weight loss), stimulant and stomachic.
Just imagine! Cilantro leaves provides only 39 cal/100 g, but their phyto-nutrients profile is no less than any high calorie food source; be it nuts, pulses or cereals or meat group.

This humble backyard herb provides (% of RDA/100g)-
15% of folates,
11% of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
45% of vitamin C,
225% of vitamin A,
258% of vitamin K,
22% of iron and
18% of manganese.
(Note: RDA-Recommended daily allowance)


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