Cilantro

background

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual herb in the Apiaceae family. The leaves are also referred to as "coriander leaves," "Chinese parsley," or "cilantro" (from Spanish) in the Americas. "Coriander" also refers to the spice produced from coriander seeds.
Known for its strong flavor, cilantro is often used in Mexican, Asian, and Caribbean cooking. Recipes that specifically call for "fresh coriander" are referring to the leaves (cilantro). Both coriander and cilantro are commonly used in soups, salads, dressings, salsa, and chutney. The leaves are used in curry and guacamole.
There is some evidence that Coriandrum sativum may improve vision, digestion, and blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Clinical studies have been done testing the use of cilantro to treat antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections and irritable bowel syndrome. It has also been used to treat mercury poisoning. However, better-designed clinical trials are needed before conclusions can be made regarding the effectiveness of cilantro for any condition.
Chinese herbal medicine uses cilantro and coriander for measles, stomachache, and nausea. It is traditionally used as a home remedy for heat stroke, high blood sugar, and hemorrhoids. Some studies suggest that coriander juice mixed with turmeric powder or mint juice may be used as a treatment for acne.
The flavor of cilantro has been described as a mix of parsley and citrus. Coriander is popular in Indian curries, spice mixtures, and tea infusions. Coriander oil is used for its antibacterial effects and as a natural fragrance in perfumes, soaps, and other cosmetics

Related Terms

Apiaceae (family), carotenoid, Chinese parsley, coentro (Portuguese), coriander, coriander leaf, coriander leaves, Coriandrum sativum, curry leaf, curry leaves, Indian parsley, ko-en-do-ro (Japanese), koriander, Mexican parsley, tannin, Umbelliferae (family).
Combination product: Carmint (Melissa officinalis, Mentha spicata, Coriandrum sativum).
Note: This monograph includes information about cilantro, the leaf of the coriander plant (Coriandrum sativum), and the coriander plant in general. It does not include information about the seed, the fruit, coriander spice, or coriander essential oil. The name "Chinese parsley" is used to refer to both cilantro (Coriandrum sativum), as well as an unrelated species, Heliotropium curassavicum; the latter is not covered in this monograph. This monograph does not cover false coriander, called culantro (Eryngium foetidum).

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
 
Bacterial infections (Grade: C)
There is preliminary evidence that cilantro and antibiotic coadministration is effective at treating antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections. Further research is needed in this area.
Chelating agent (heavy metals) (Grade: C)
Cilantro has been reported to remove mercury, lead, and aluminum from the body by promoting the urination of these metals. There is preliminary evidence that cilantro may prevent the body from absorbing mercury found in dental fillings.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (Grade: C)
There is preliminary evidence that a combination product containing