Cilantro (Hu Sui Ye)/Coriander (Xiang Cai)
Botanical Name: Coriander sativum
In the west, the plant is called cilantro and the seeds are known as coriander. Cilantro looks like parsley but has a more citrus flavor and the seeds are have a warm nutty flavor. Both are used in cooking and both have important medicinal properties. Cilantro and coriander seeds are full of phytonutrients, flavonoids, essential oils and phenolic compounds that can help not only treat a wide variety of digestive issues, but also smallpox, diabetes, menstrual cramping, and anemia. Cilantro significantly helps clear the body of heavy metal toxicity.
Below is an overview of Cilantro (Hu Sui Ye)/Coriander (Xiang Cai), combining and interpreting the best of Western Science, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore and more. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of Cilantro (Hu Sui Ye)/Coriander (Xiang Cai).
Western Name: Cilantro and Coriander
Also Known As: Dhaniya, Chinese Parsley, Mexican Parsley
Key Western Actions & Medicinal Uses: Leaves – Antidiabetic, Antioxidant, Sedating, Relaxant, Detoxifier, Antibacterial, Stomachic, Carminative. Seeds – Antioxidant, Carminative, Digestive, Halitosis (bad breath), Antifungal, Antibacterial, Antiviral, Antimicrobial, Vermifuge, Emmenagogue, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Expectorant, Mild Laxative, Mild Sedative. Leaves – Supports healthy digestion, manages and prevents diabetes, rids the body of heavy metals, supports a healthy sleep cycle, anxiety, chest pain, regulates bowels. Seeds – Poor digestion, nausea, gas, bad breath, fungal and bacterial infections, food poisoning, intestinal parasites, regulates menses, skin inflammation, anemia, mouth ulcers, blood sugar disorders, bronchitis, constipation, lowers cholesterol (both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides), anxiety, restlessness.
Pin Yin: Hu Sui Ye (Cilantro), Xiang Cai (Coriander)
Also Known As: Hu Sui (Cilantro), Xiang Cai Zhong Zi (Coriander)
Meridians: Leaves – Spleen, Stomach, Lung, Large Intestine. Seeds – Spleen, Stomach, Lung, Large Intestine.
Key TCM Actions & Medicinal Uses: Leaves – Strengthens Spleen and Stomach: promotes digestion, nutritive tonic, anemia, nausea, hernias, vomiting. Moves Qi and Blood: menstrual cramps, stomach cramps, intestinal cramping, constipation. Disperses Wind and Cold: measles, coughs, bronchitis. Seeds – Soothes the Stomach: nausea, gastrointestinal disorders, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, dysentery. Disperses Wind and Cold: bronchitis, coughs, arthritic pains, rheumatism. Moves Qi and Blood: menstrual cramps, stomach cramps, intestinal cramping, constipation, restlessness, anxiety, high blood pressure.
Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaves, Seeds
Flavors/Temps: Aromatic, Spicy, Warming, Bitter, Pungent
Caution: Considered very safe.
History/Folklore: The seeds (coriander) and the leaves (cilantro) are a popular spice ingredient in many cultures worldwide. Cilantro’s strength is derived from its high vitamin content and corianders nutritive strengths comes from its high mineral content, though both are high in nutritional value, antioxidants, essential oils and acids that aid digestion, manage diabetes and more.
In some parts of Europe cilantro is considered an antidiabetic herb. Studies are showing that cilantro helps support healthy liver function and thereby aids the balancing of blood sugar levels in the body. It has also been shown to increase the secretion of insulin from the pancreas, which in turn increases the insulin levels in the blood.
Research also indicates that cilantro helps lower cholesterol, blood pressure and supports healthy heart function. The leaves can also be used externally to help relieve chest pains and coughs.
Further research confirms that cilantro binds with heavy metals (arsenic, cadmium, aluminum, lead and mercury), loosening these toxins from the body’s tissues, preventing them from being absorbed by the body and facilitating and accelerating their removal from the body. One study found that cilantro significantly protects against lead induced oxidative stress. The herb has been studied as a natural water purifier because of its ability to combat and suppress lead and heavy metal accumulation in rats. The flavonoid, quercetin in cilantro further helps protect against the oxidative damage caused by free radicals in the body.
A study from India found that high levels of cilantro extract produce the same levels of anti-anxiety effects as the prescription drug, Valium (Diazepam), with none of the negative side effects.
In Ayurvedic medicine, cilantro is considered bitter, astringing, cooling and cleansing. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) it is considered bitter, aromatic, and warming, though the Chinese will use it in cooking to counteract the heating effects of spicy foods.
In Iranian traditions coriander seeds were typically used to treat anxiety and insomnia.
Coriander seeds are ready for harvest when the plant turns brown and its leaves begin to dry and fall off. Immature seeds are light green and taste bitter.
The fatty acids found in coriander seeds are responsible for the seeds digestive, carminative and antiflatulent properties. The rich fiber content in the seeds promote proper and regular bowel movements. The fibers combined with flavonoids also help lower serum LDL-cholesterol levels protecting the colon from cancers.
The copper in coriander seeds is critical for the production of red blood cells and the zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development. The seeds are also high in vitamin C and B-complex vitamins.
A study published in Molecular Neurobiology found that diets high in turmeric, pepper, clove, ginger, garlic, cinnamon and coriander help prevent the inflammation specifically associated with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, and certain brain tumors.
To help relieve the discomfort of urinary tract infections (UTIs), soak 11/2 teaspoons of dried coriander seeds overnight in 2 cups of water. Strain and drink, or add the liquid to your morning tea or smoothy. It will ease your pain and help hasten your recovery.
Coriander seeds help regulate menstrual cycles by supporting endocrine gland function and the hormones that regulate menses.
Cineol, one of the 11 components of the essential oils in coriander seeds, and linoleic acid, also found in seeds, possess antirheumatic and antiarthritic properties that help to reduce the painful swelling associated with these conditions.
The citronelol in coriander is an excellent antiseptic giving coriander seeds an ability to heal mouth wounds and ulcers, and preventing bad breath. Before toothpaste coriander seeds were chewed on to reduce bad breath.
Cilantro/Coriander has been used dating back to the Neolithic age, or over 7,000 years BCE. It is mentioned in ancient Indian Sanskrit texts, the Old Testament and Egyptian papyrus scrolls. The plant’s name derives from the Greek word, “koros,” meaning bug, in reference to the smell of the plant’s leaves. Hippocrates and other Greek physicians used cilantro/coriander as a medicine and aphrodisiac. The Ancient Greeks also used it in perfumes.
Coriander seeds are used to flavor gin and other liquors, such as Chartreuse and Benedictine.
Leaves – Phytonutrients, Flavonoids (including Qeurcetin), Phenolic compounds, Vitamin A, C, E and K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Potassium and Magnesium. Seeds – Phosphorus, Potassium, Calcium, Iron, Zinc, Fiber, Magnesium, Vitamin C, B-complex vitamins, Essential oils (including 60-70% linalool, a terpenoid that is a powerful antioxidant, and citronelol), Antioxidants, Fatty acids (including: petroselinic acid, Linoleic acid (omega 6), Oleic acid and Palmitic acid).
Internal or External
Used internally or externally, cilantro is a remedy for hives, sunburns and poison ivy. It contains natural antihistamines that help the immune system respond against allergens. Blend with coconut oil to use topically.
Research is indicating that by reducing cholesterol levels and increasing the excretion of sterol compounds and bile, coriander helps reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Cilantro has been and still is a reliable choice for preventing and curing smallpox. It is rich in antimicrobial, antioxidant and detoxifying components and acids that aid the fight against smallpox.
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