You will find 10 amazing health benefits of cilantro (coriander) leaves in this article.
What is cilantro?
Cilantro, also known as coriander or Chinese parsley, is an annual herb in the Apiaceae (Umbelliferae) family.
Its scientific name is Coriandrum sativum.
Where does cilantro come from?
This aromatic plant is commonly used in Mexican, Indian, Southeast Asian, and other types of cuisine3.
Cilantro also has a long history as a traditional medicine dating back to Ancient Egypt1.
Composition of cilantro leaves
The main biologically active substances of cilantro leaves are essential oils4.
Cilantro vs coriander, what is the difference?
In the United States, the fresh foliage of the plant Coriandrum sativum is called cilantro leaves, whereas the dried fruits are called coriander seeds1.
In the rest of the world, the foliage and dried fruits are called coriander leaves and coriander seeds, respectively.
What is known as coriander seeds are, in fact, dried fruits7.
Are the health benefits of cilantro leaves and coriander seeds the same?
Both cilantro leaves and coriander seeds have health benefits.
Nevertheless, the essential oils found in the leaves and seeds are different4.
Coriander seeds are high in linalool, whereas cilantro leaves are rich in aldehydes4.
This article deals with the health benefits of cilantro leaves and the names cilantro and coriander have been used interchangeably.
13 Health Benefits of cilantro leaves
Here are 13 amazing health benefits of cilantro leaves:
1. Antifungal effects
In recent years, the demand for new antifungal therapies has increased drastically12.
Cilantro leaves have antifungal properties.
Furthermore, plantaricin, a peptide present in the cilantro leaf, eliminates the following fungi14:
- Penicillium lilacinum
- Aspergillus niger
2. Antibacterial activity
Cilantro also has antibacterial attributes.
- Salmonella cholerasuis and enterica
- Staphylococcus aureus
- Bacillus subtilis
- Klebsiella pneumoniae
- Escherichia coli
- Vibrio cholerae
- Yersinia enterocolitica
Furthermore, plantaricin, a peptide found in coriander leaves, is more effective against bacteria than common antibiotics14.
3. Antioxidant properties
Reactive oxygen species, such as free radicals, can generate oxidative stress in your body, leading to a variety of chronic health conditions, including16:
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
This effect is due to an increase in glutathione levels thanks to the plant’s content of flavonoids19.
Glutathione is, namely, your body’s most powerful antioxidant.
4. Anti-inflammatory effects
Is cilantro an anti-inflammatory?
A study has shown that essential oils isolated from dried cilantro leaf powder reduce inflammation6.
Furthermore, this anti-inflammatory effect was somewhat similar to that of Ibuprofen, a well-known anti-inflammatory drug6.
5. Reduction of diabetes
Are coriander leaves good for diabetes?
High amounts of glucose and lipid circulating in the blood are the major causes of the morbidity and mortality of diabetes20.
6. Memory improvement
Alzheimer’s disease is a crippling neurodegenerative disorder whose symptoms include memory loss and dementia.
7. Management of anxiety
All people suffer from states of emotional tension and uneasiness24.
However, when the symptoms become intolerable, taking a remedy can be considered for coping with anxiety24.
The Egyptians called coriander the spice of happiness2.
A study has shown that dried powder of cilantro leaves has anxiolytic activity24.
Does cilantro make you sleepy?
In addition, coriander leaves also induce a calming sedative effect9.
It is worth mentioning that if you eat too much cilantro, it can have the opposite effect.
8. Reduction of cholesterol
High total and LDL cholesterol and reduced HDL cholesterol are associated with obesity, diabetes, and coronary heart disease25.
Is cilantro good to lose weight?
Therefore, coriander helps for weight loss.
9. Anti-cancer effects
These studies suggest the potential of cilantro in cancer treatment.
10. Protection of liver health
The liver is the first organ to metabolize foreign substances28.
Toxicants such as paracetamol and alcohol damage the liver by producing reactive oxygen species28.
Is cilantro good for the liver?
11. Prevention of skin wrinkles
UVB radiation from sunlight causes damage to skin characterized by wrinkles.
Sun exposure stimulates the generation of free radicals, decreasing collagen production and increasing the secretion of collagen degrading enzymes17.
Cilantro leaves extract protects your skin against wrinkles by scavenging free radicals17.
As such, it increases collagen production while reducing collagen degrading enzymes levels17.
12. Decrease of epileptic seizures
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder marked by recurrent epileptic seizures29.
Also, epileptic attacks produce free radicals causing oxidative stress in brain tissues30.
Cilantro leaves, stems, and twigs decrease epileptic seizures and prevent neuronal damages thanks to their antioxidant activity32.
13. Removal of heavy metals
Exposure to heavy metals during childhood compromises development with lifelong physical and intellectual impairments33.
In adults, chronic conditions such as cardiovascular disease and neurological decline are linked to these toxic metals33.
The removal of heavy metals from your body is one of the well-known health benefit of cilantro.
A study showed, namely, that routine supplementation with cilantro leaves decreased mercury burden in individuals after dental amalgam removal34.
Is cilantro good for kidneys?
A study reported that the intake of coriander decreased arsenic and cadmium concentrations in the kidney35.
Is it safe to eat cilantro?
Cilantro is non-toxic to humans.
This edible plant has been approved for food, beverage, and pharmaceutical use by the US FDA and the Council of Europe4.
Is it bad to eat too much cilantro?
If you eat too much cilantro, it can induce unpleasant symptoms, known as a Herxheimer reaction, at the beginning.
These symptoms are due to the toxins that microbes release into your body when they die off.
Also, when more heavy metals are detached from your body tissues than your liver and kidneys can process, these metals will circulate in your bloodstream, causing these side effects.
How much cilantro to eat a day?
Begin with a maximum of 1-2 leaves daily and gradually increase the amount.
Summary: 13 Health benefits of cilantro (coriander) leaves
Cilantro, also known as coriander, is a plant belonging to the Apiaceae family.
Coriander leaves are used worldwide as a culinary herb and are valued for their medicinal uses.
The biologically active substances of this herb are mainly essential oils.
Cilantro leaves have the following 13 amazing health benefits:
- Antifungal effects
- Antibacterial activity
- Antioxidant properties
- Anti-inflammatory effects
- Reduction of diabetes
- Memory improvement
- Management of anxiety
- Reduction of cholesterol
- Anti-cancer effects
- Protection of liver health
- Prevention of skin wrinkles
- Decreases of epileptic seizures
- Removal of heavy metals