Cilantro (Hu Sui Ye)/Coriander (Xiang Cai)

Botanical Name: Coriander sativum

In the West, the plant is called cilantro, the seeds are known as coriander. Cilantro looks like parsley but has a more citrus flavor and the seeds 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 treat a wide variety of digestive issues smallpox, diabetes, menstrual cramping, and anemia. Cilantro significantly helps clear the body of heavy metal toxicity.

Watch a short video, from Ann Christensen, Founder and Creator of White Rabbit Institute of Healing™ – Cilantro Treats Heavy Metals.

Below is an overview of cilantro, combining the best of Western Science, Oriental Medicine, Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), Shamanism, Folklore, and a wide range of healing modalities. Gain a balanced and thorough understanding of the healing properties of cilantro.

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Western Name: Cilantro

Also Known As: Dhaniya, Chinese Parsley, Mexican Parsley

Organs/Systems: Digestive

Key Actions: Leaf – Antidiabetic, Antioxidant, Sedating, Relaxant, Detoxifier, Antimicrobial, Stomachic, Carminative
Seed – Antioxidant, Carminative, Digestive, Halitosis (bad breath), Antimicrobial, Vermifuge, Emmenagogue, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Expectorant, Mild Laxative, Mild Sedative

Medicinal Uses: Leaf – Supports healthy digestion, manages and prevents diabetes, rids the body of heavy metals, supports a healthy sleep cycle, regulates bowels, treats anxiety, chest pain.
Seed – Poor digestion, nausea, gas, bad breath, fungal and bacterial infections, food poisoning, intestinal parasites, regulate menses, skin inflammation, anemia, mouth ulcers, blood sugar disorders, bronchitis, constipation, lower cholesterol (both LDL cholesterol and triglycerides), anxiety, restlessness.


Pin Yin: Cilantro – Hu Sui Ye.  Coriander: – Xiang Cai

Also Known As: Cilantro – Hu Sui.  Coriander Seeds – Xiang Cai Zhong Zi

Meridians: Lung, Liver, Spleen

Key Actions: Leaf – Antidiabetic, Antioxidant, Sedating, Relaxant, Detoxifier, Antimicrobial, Stomachic, Carminative
Seed – Antioxidant, Carminative, Digestive, Halitosis (bad breath), Antimicrobial, Vermifuge, Emmenagogue, Anti-inflammatory, Antiseptic, Antispasmodic, Expectorant, Mild Laxative, Mild Sedative

Medicinal Uses: Leaf – Promotes digestion, nutritive tonic, anemia, nausea, hernias, vomiting, menstrual cramps, stomach cramps, intestinal cramping, constipation, measles, sunburns, coughs, bronchitis.
Seed – Nausea, gastrointestinal disorders, indigestion, vomiting, diarrhea, dysentery, bronchitis, coughs, arthritic pains, rheumatism, menstrual cramps, stomach cramps, intestinal cramping, constipation, restlessness, anxiety, high blood pressure.

Basic Habitat / Botany:

Coriander is a small, hollow-stemmed plant in the Apiaceae (carrot) family. In the West, it is known as cilantro. It is an herbaceous plant that can grow 2 feet tall with branching stems and deep-green soft, hairless bi-lobed or tri-lobed leaves. The mature plant bears small light pink flowers that become globular or oval shaped fruit (seeds).

Coriander is native to South-Eastern Europe and the Mediterranean region and is now grown all over Europe, the Middle East, China, India, and Turkey.

Parts Most Frequently Used: Leaf, Seed

Flavors/Temps: Aromatic, Spicy, Warming, Bitter, Pungent

Caution: Considered very safe.

Key Constituents: Leaf – Phytonutrients, flavonoids (including Quercetin), Phenolic compounds, Vitamins A, C, E, and K, Folate, Calcium, Iron, Potassium, and Magnesium.    Seed – 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 citronellol), antioxidants, fatty acids (including petroselinic acid, Linoleic acid (omega 6), Oleic acid and Palmitic acid)

The seeds (coriander) and the leaves (cilantro) are popular spice ingredients in many cultures worldwide. Cilantro’s strength is derived from its high vitamin content and coriander’s nutritive strength comes from its high mineral content, both are high in nutritional value, antioxidants, essential oils, and acids that aid digestion, manage diabetes, and more.

Cilantro seeds are called coriander in American English b because the seeds are from the Coriandrum sativum plant, known as coriander. The word “cilantro” is Spanish for coriander and is commonly used to refer to the plant’s leaves and stems because they are often used in Mexican cuisine.

In some parts of Europe, cilantro is considered an antidiabetic herb. Studies show 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 insulin secretion from the pancreas, increasing insulin levels in the blood.

Research also indicates that cilantro helps lower cholesterol, and 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 seed’s digestive, carminative, and antiflatulent properties. The rich fiber content in the seeds promotes 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 cofactor 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 (link), pepper (link), clove (link), ginger (link), garlic (link), cinnamon (link) 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 smoothie. 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 possess antirheumatic and antiarthritic properties that help to reduce the painful swelling associated with these conditions.

The citronellol in coriander is an excellent antiseptic giving coriander seeds the ability to heal mouth wounds and ulcers, and prevent 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.

Did you know?

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 to allergens. Blend with coconut oil to use topically.


Colon Cancer

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.

Fun fact!


Cilantro has been and remains 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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