20 Interesting Uses for Cilantro

Cilantro is interesting stuff. The rich earthy green flavor is loved by many. On the flip side, somewhere between four and fourteen percent of people have a strangely adverse reaction to cilantro. They say it smells bad or tastes like soap. A genetic mutation causes this bizarre reaction. Nothing so exciting as the X-Men, this mutation changes the way specific smell and taste receptors react.  If you love your cilantro, then you’ll be pleased to know it has a ton of unexpected benefits.

1. Plant a Salsa Garden

If you aren’t familiar with the concept of companion planting, then you wouldn’t be aware that some plants compete, while others go so well together they actively improve each other. Cilantro, which is used in many salsas, can actually be companion planted with your other salsa ingredients. When you grow all your salsa ingredients together like this, not only does it look nice, but it makes things very easy. All you have to do for fresh salsa is go grab what you need.

2. Make the Best DIY Salsa Ever

Perhaps making your own salsa is a little intimidating. You don’t know how. Salsas are easy. The ingredients are relatively straightforward and that distinctive ‘salsa flavor’ comes from adding cilantro. You can tweak the recipes to suit your personal tastes and change the levels of spice. You can chop or use a blender, and you have the option of fresh or cooked. Learning to make some at home is easy, and all you need is some tomato, peppers, onion, and cilantro for a super basic version.

3. Harvest Corriander

How do you get corriander from cilantro? That seems crazy. Well, truth be told it’s just a trick. They are the same plant, Coriandrum sativum. The cilantro you know, and love is the fresh leaves of the plant. If you leave your cilantro to flower and then go to seed, you get corriander. As strange as it sounds, this one plant produces two great spices.

4. Get More Sleep

Being sleepless is just the worst. It drains your energy and makes your brain feel like someone wrapped it a little too tightly in a layer of cotton. Failing to get the sleep you need isn’t just annoying though, it can be dangerous. Not resting enough has been linked to stress, anxiety, and even an increased risk of pre-diabetes. Cilantro can help you get your forty winks. We suggest trying it as a tea before bed.

5. Detox Heavy Metals

Removing heavy metals from your body is vital. Heavy metal poisoning is no joke and can even kill you in some extreme cases. Letting things like lead hang around in your body is a terrible idea. Fortunately, we have a solution. You probably don’t need to guess that we’re talking about cilantro. For one humble plant to do so much may seem unbelievable, but we’re just getting started on the list of things cilantro is good for.

6. Work on your Heart Health

Studies are showing that eating more plant-based foods can help decrease the chances of heart disease. Many of the best plants for this are leafy and green. Cilantro can be mixed in with a salad to help you get your daily dose of better heart health.

7. Lower your Blood Sugar

Cilantro has been studied so often it’s not even funny. Since the plant has numerous health benefits, this makes perfect sense, and we like seeing the real evidence that it’s working as advertised. The leaves and stems of this strange plant have been shown to reduce the blood glucose levels, at least in lab mice. This means regular cilantro use may help people with diabetes keep themselves under control. Try adding some to a smoothie for a nice boost.

8. Mix with Carrots for Better Vision

Carrots are famous for their vitamin K content. Also known as beta carotene, this particular vitamin is linked to better eyesight. It turns out that cilantro also has a large amount of beta carotene. Just a half a cup of the lovely green leaves contain 314.40 mcg of vitamin k. That’s a lot in case you were wondering.

9. Help Protect Your Brain Against Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease affects too many people. In the past it has been like the things that go bump in the night, terrorizing us with what could happen and leaving us mostly helpless to prevent or avoid it. The idea of losing your mind and memories is something that would frighten anyone. The good news is that we are not helpless anymore. Modern medical studies are turning up more and more ways to treat and help prevent this depressing disease. It turns out that your favorite tacos might also be a path to preventing Alzheimer’s. We suggest a low-fat chicken taco with shredded cabbage and a nice fresh salsa on top.

10. Prevent Food Poisoning

Food poisoning is a microbial problem. Specifically, it is most often caused by Listeria monocytogenes. You’ll never guess what one of the most effective plant-based remedies for this Listeria monocytogenes is… that’s right, cilantro. The essential oil made from our new favorite plant can fight off that nasty sick feeling. We sure wish we’d known about this sooner.

11. Treat Chlamydia More Effectively

This is a strange one, but you can use cilantro to help treat several diseases more effectively. The trouble with treatment in some cases has to do with those heavy metals we talked about before. Chlamydia and herpes are often associated with unusual deposits of certain heavy metals. Cilantro is part of an effective drug uptake enhancement. In short, it makes the medicine more effective.

12. Use It to Soothe Poison Ivy

Cilantro is also known for its effect on the outside of your body. With so many internal applications it may seem like eating cilantro is the only use. However, you can mix the essential oil with some coconut oil and use it topically on the skin. This will relieve rashes and soothe poison ivy. We hear it’s also useful for those nasty sunburns, in which case you should swap out the coconut oil and use some aloe vera gel instead.

13. Lower Your Anxiety

Studies done on lab mice have once again shown an unusual side effect of eating cilantro. It is strange to think of a leaf as an effective treatment for anxiety, but (at least in the lab mice) it works. Evidence suggests that cilantro extract helps reduce cortisol levels. The mice were given a dose before being put into a stressful situation, so you may want to have your cilantro as a part of a healthy breakfast before you start the stressful parts of your day. We suggest adding it to an omelet.

14. Treat Stys, Hemerhoids, and Indigestion

It may seem improbable that a single plant can do so much, but that’s a flawed point of view. Our bodies don’t just work as parts. The whole thing is integrated. It makes sense that something with a few beneficial effects can help us out with a large number of problems. No matter which end you plan to put the cilantro in, tea is probably the best choice for these applications, skip the sweeteners.

15. Regulate Your Periods

Blood pressure and heart health aren’t the only ways cilantro affects your blood. It turns out corriander seeds are especially effective at helping to regulate menstrual cycles. This is beneficial in numerous ways, but none more evident than this: if you are sexually active, you do not want a late period to cause a panic. Keeping things flowing like clockwork is highly desirable. Knowing exactly when to double check your ‘supplies,’ doesn’t hurt either. Better safe than sorry of course, but it’s easier to make a last minute run for more tampons or pads if you actually know when the last ‘minute’ is going to be.

16. Avoid Colon Cancer

Look, we are NOT trying to tell you that some salsa is going to cure your cancer. Please take this with a grain of salt, and bear with us. The reason cilantro can probably help you avoid (not cure) this specific type of cancer is due to its beneficial effects on your intestines. Your colon is part of your intestinal tract. Because it can help reduce inflammation, increase blood flow and prevent other problems it may help reduce the chances of cancer. Please do not start eating cilantro to avoid seeing a cancer specialist. If you have cancer or are at risk, you need to visit professionals who can help.

17. Help Prevent UTIs

We’ve mentioned the anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties of cilantro. It turns out that these have other uses and among them is preventing UTIs. Please keep in mind that prevention, while it is always the best way to stay healthy, is not the same as a cure. Using cilantro on the regular will help you prevent many types of problems within your body. This is not a guarantee. You can still have any of these problems. The cilantro just helps make it less likely.

18. Preserve Other Foods

Compounds in corriander are indeed useful for food preservation. That means putting cilantro into other food may also help those things last longer in the fridge. In addition to that nifty benefit, cilantro’s antimicrobial effect has been proven effective against salmonella. Not too shabby for something we all thought was mostly just a salsa flavoring agent.

19. Protect Mice From Lead Induced Oxidative Stress

Lead poisoning is no joke. Oxidative stress can affect several systems in the body. Certainly not the least of which is the testis. Lower sperm count is a problem if you’re trying to conceive with a partner. Studies show mice who were treated with cilantro/coriander saw positive results where this is concerned. We’re not sure, but we think that means it could have some potential as a fertility treatment in some cases. Of course, they would have to be cases where the reduction was caused by lead exposure, but still, it’s a step in the right direction. Though this wasn’t a human trial, it does show potential. Human trials never come first. Only after something has been proven effective in mice, or other lab animals, can scientists move on to testing people.

20. Or, Just Bake A Pie

For those of us who aren’t professional chefs and bakers, this may seem a little odd. Isn’t putting cilantro in pie a bit like trying to make tuna fish ice cream? Surprising as it may seem, no, not at all. Using a little cilantro in a key lime pie may help to offset and increase the enjoyability of the sour citrus. We already know that cilantro goes well in guacamole, and there’s citrus in that, so it’s not a huge leap.

Final Thoughts

A word of caution: First, no known substance is a true panacea. That means cilantro can’t cure everything that ails you. Please talk to your doctor about serious medical conditions. Nothing here is intended to be medical advice, and it is certainly not meant to inspire you to avoid having regular checkups and listening to real medical professionals. Cilantro has known side effects as well, so be aware that it’s a double-edged sword. It may help, but don’t hold your breath waiting for a miracle from your salsa garden.

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