Is it called cilantro, or coriander? First, let’s clear up some confusion: unlike many herbs, all parts of the coriander plant are useful, but the terminology can be confusing. The seeds, either used whole or ground, are called coriander. The leaves are called cilantro, and provide a strong, fresh flavor. In addition, the tiny, white flowers are a fun addition, contributing a light cilantro flavor to salads. The root can also be frozen and used in soup stocks. When cooking or supporting health, be sure to use the correct plant part.
Studies have shown that not only does coriander reduce LDL (the bad one), it increases HDL (the good one). Not only that, it also reduces the build-up of LDL cholesterol on vein and artery walls. Plaque build-up can lead to cardiovascular disease, atherosclerosis and strokes.
Incredible Nutritional Value
Cilantro leaves and coriander seeds are jam-packed with nutrients vital for health. They contain minerals like phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and sodium, as well as vitamins like vitamin A, B, C, and K. These nutrients support health throughout the body, including brain function, bone and muscle health, energy, endocrine and immune systems, and more.
By promoting liver and bowel function, and aiding in digestion, coriander helps food move smoothly through the digestive system. It also helps increase absorption of nutrients into the body. Thanks to its antimicrobial and antifungal properties, coriander can be an effective treatment for diarrhea.
Controls Blood Pressure
Components of coriander enhance nervous system function and reduce inflammation. As a result, it can reduce the risk or decrease the effects, of hypertension.
Components also support the endocrine system, helping the pancreas by stimulating insulin production. This has been shown to lower and balance blood sugar levels effectively.
There have been several studies of the anti-inflammatory properties in various parts of the coriander plant. A 2008 study done at the University Medical Center Freiburg and published in the Journal of the German Society of Dermatology proved the benefits to skin. Using concentrated light, researchers irritated a small portion of skin on human test subject’s backs and applied one of three treatment options. Test subjects treated with 0.5% coriander oil showed significantly reduced skin irritation through an anti-inflammatory effect.
With antiseptic, disinfectant, detoxifying, antiseptic, antifungal, and antioxidant qualities, products made with coriander or cilantro treat and cure a wide variety of ailments. Components Cineole and linoleic acid both provide antirheumatic and antiarthritic properties, treating the swelling both conditions cause. It has been used to treat conjunctivitis, a common eye infection that can lead to blindness. Coriander is effective in treating mouth ulcers and wounds and is a common ingredient in natural toothpastes. In fact, before the advent of toothpaste, coriander seeds were commonly chewed to freshen breath!
So grow some cilantro plants and enjoy the tasty leaves, allow a few go to seed and gather your coriander! Grow year round in your indoor garden to ensure access to fresh, delicious leaves at all times.
Like many herbs, cilantro can be a finicky grower, preferring cool weather to heat. For many people, outdoors is just too hot for happy coriander plants. Growing indoors is ideal, where soil and ambient temperatures are more easily controlled year round. Due to its delicate, intertwining root structure, cilantro doesn’t transplant well, so start it from the seed and keep it in the same pot throughout its life cycle. Sprinkle seeds fairly densely in your container and cover with about a half inch of soil. Seeds typically take 2-3 weeks to germinate, so water occasionally and be patient!
Cilantro also sprouts well from cuttings; simply stick the stem end in an inch of water on your windowsill and watch roots emerge from the bottom. Choose a short stalk to avoid leggy growth from the beginning. Cilantro likes well-drained soil even more than other herbs, so create a 50/50 soil and sand mixture to ensure drainage and increase airflow around the roots. Water only when the soil is dry to the touch. Cilantro grows quickly, rapidly becoming spindly with narrow leaves. Prevent this by harvesting low, cutting the stem an inch above the bottom-most large leaves or those second from the bottom. The dormant nodes at the base of the remaining leaves will then sprout, creating a dense, healthy plant. Cilantro requires high light conditions, needing a minimum of fourteen hours of bright light per day. The higher-than-average light requirements make cilantro an ideal option for indoor growing under LED bulbs.
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Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be used to diagnose or treat any health concern. Consult your medical professional regarding all health concerns and treatment options.
Gina Kegel is a freelance copywriter in Southern California. Like a heat-seeking missile for human interest angles, underlying driving factors and the hidden gem that connects, Gina engages readers across a wide variety of businesses and industries, from startups through multinational corporations. Find her at LinkedIn.com/in/ginaiswrite.