Coriander leaf, also known as cilantro, is a bright green cooking herb, which usually brings out strong feelings: some people love it, some people hate it, and some people would love to love it, because it is so full of incredible health benefits. Around for thousands of years, these plants are mentioned over 30 times in the Bible. Ancient Egyptians believed coriander to be a food that could be used in the afterlife! Whether you are a believer or not, we can’t tell you much about how useful cilantro will or will not be in the afterlife, but in this life, it is definitely a great herb to add to your food to feel good both in your mind and body.
Cilantro rids your body of heavy metals
Cilantro leaf has been used in cooking and for medicinal purposes for thousands of years: it was even recommended as a medicine by the ancient Greek physician Hippocrates. Indeed, cilantro has many health benefits, and one of the most notable ones is its ability to bind heavy metals together and rid your body of them. Scientific studies concerning this health benefit on humans are yet to be conducted, but the studies that have been conducted on rats regarding lead and cilantro are promising1. This explains why you might find cilantro as an ingredient in many detox juices.
You may wonder how heavy metals find themselves in your body and why they are harmful. One of the problems with heavy metals is that you can ingest them through food, water, or air for example. In small doses, you may not notice it, but if the heavy metals start to accumulate, they can cause serious damage. Cilantro will not only brighten your dishes with its pretty green color and fresh taste, but it will also help your body get rid of the heavy metals that you might be ingesting without even realizing it!
Cilantro helps alleviate anxiety
In Ancient Egypt, cilantro was sometimes called the “spice of happiness”, and it turns out, it can indeed help you gain better mental health by lowering anxiety levels! Mind and body are closely linked, and if you are looking to lead a happy, healthy life, including cilantro in your diet could be a great way to help you attain your goals.
A recent study2 has shown that cilantro has similar effects on our brains as a popular anti-anxiety prescription drug called Valium. This is not an encouragement for people to stop taking prescription anti-anxiety drugs without consulting with a mental health professional, but rather, it seems important to note that cilantro can have similar effects without any of the side effects that usually come with drugs. Many of us probably face a certain level of anxiety in our every day lives, and a part of it can be a healthy response to difficulty, but a part of it can feel like too much, and it seems that cilantro could help a lot with that!
Cilantro has many other health benefits. I chose to focus on these two in particular in this article, but don’t hesitate to look up more, and of course, start experimenting with it in the kitchen if you haven’t already! Delicious in all types of curries and salads, you might be surprised to learn that cilantro can also be integrated into baked goods! If you have a hard time with the taste, it’s a great way to sneak it into your diet without your taste buds even realizing it, and if you are already a cilantro lover, you might still enjoy effortlessly getting a little more into your diet, for an ever healthier body and mind.
Lisa Darmet is a freelance writer, whose passions include not only eating but also food and cooking and their connections to health, culture and society. She is a graduate of Hampshire College, Amherst, MA, USA & a world traveler.