This super green plant has done relatively well for its size. Its scientific name is Coriandum Sativum and belongs to the parsley family. Coriander refers to the entire plant and the leaves are called Cilantro which is the Spanish term for coriander.
No one really knows where the coriander plant originated, although it is commonly thought to be native to the Mediterranean and southwestern Europe. It is believed to have been cultivated during the Neolithic times, thus making coriander the oldest herb used by man. It’s use dates back around 5,000 BC where ancient Egyptians are known to plant and use coriander. There are even references to it in Sanskrit writings and in the Holy Bible. A Greek physician named Dioscorides believed that it can increase man’s sexual potency.
The use of both names (cilantro and coriander) is quite appropriate since the leaves and seeds taste entirely different. The taste of the cilantro leaves is peppery and mild with a unique aroma which is pungent and soapy. Some find it amusingly musky. As for the seed, Coriander has a pleasant lemony flavor which makes it a well-liked spice. It is largely grown in both tropical and subtropical countries around the world.
The seed is commonly applied as medicine. It can treat toothaches, joint pains, measles, including infections caused by fungus and bacteria. It can also be used for upset stomach as well as digestion problems, nausea, loss of appetite and diarrhea. This superfood is also known to lower blood sugar in the body.
The Chinese have been using cilantro in their cooking for hundreds of years because of its unique flavor. You can mince it and sprinkle on your eggs, salad or any dish that you have. It is also great for garnishing.
Coriander is generally safe when taken in food amounts. It can cause inflammation and skin irritation when it touches the skin and can also increase sensitivity to sunlight. Although there is not enough findings on the dangers of using coriander during pregnancy, it is better to be on the safe side by avoiding its use.
Here is one fascinating fact about Cilantro. Did you know that it has the ability to remove heavy metals like mercury and lead from our body? In fact, it’s the cheapest “Chelation therapy” that can remove these heavy metals the natural way!
Picture courtesy of: http://www.foodrepublic.com/sites/default/files/imagecache/enlarge/cilantro.jpg