If you’re a fan of Mexican, Italian or Asian food, you’ve more than likely eaten quite a bit of coriander.
The popular herb is used in a bunch of different recipes:
Salsa, curry, guacamole, noodle soups — you name it.
Coriander, also called Chinese parsley or cilantro, is extremely versatile.
It can give almost any dish a nice pinch of flavor without the need for overbearing seasoning.
Still, there’s more to its bright-green leaves than just taste.
The plant is also highly nutritious, and has been used as a medicinal herb for centuries.
However, due to its potency, it could also give you some negative reactions, depending on the amount you consume.
With that in mind, let’s look at the most important coriander leaves benefits and side effects that you should know about.
Health Benefits Of Coriander Leaves
1. Nourish Your Eyes
Coriander leaves are full of vitamin C — 1 ounce (28 grams) will give you 7.6 mg, which is 13% of the recommended daily value.
Vitamin C helps your body form and preserve connective tissue — such as the collagen in your cornea.
Also, it keeps your blood vessels strong and flexible, including the more delicate ones found in your eyes.
Another beneficial nutrient found in coriander leaves is beta carotene.
This is a naturally-occurring pigment that’s found in various plant foods, which your body can use to make vitamin A.
Beta carotene (along with other key nutrients) has been shown to be protective against age-related macular degeneration and vision loss.
Together, vitamin C and beta carotene make a powerful combo when it comes to eye health.
In fact, both of them are included in the list of key nutrients for aging eyes.
2. Cleanse Your Body Of Heavy Metals
Today, many countries have regulations in place to deal with the most serious forms of pollution.
Still, the situation is far from ideal.
Contaminants can be found all over the place — air, soil, water, food, and various consumer products.
If you live in an industrialized society, chances are you’re carrying around some toxic stuff in your body right now — especially heavy metals.
Things like arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury can accumulate over time and cause serious damage to your health — even cancer.
Don’t worry, though:
Most of the damage can be prevented by your body’s own detox system.
However, to function properly, it needs the right fuel.
Coriander Leaves For Detoxification
Coriander could be of great help when it comes to detoxing your body from heavy metals.
It loosens them from tissue, wraps them together and helps eliminate them from your system.
One study showed that coriander leaves (referred to as Chinese parsley) could be used to greatly speed up the removal of mercury deposits.
The study’s authors mentioned that the antibiotics given to patients with chlamydia and herpes could in fact protect toxic metal deposits in the body (not good!).
This, in turn, often caused the infections to reappear after the initial treatment — leaving both the doctors and patients frustrated.
However, when they introduced coriander to the procedure, the toxic metals were effectively expelled from the body.
Finally, they were able to keep the infections under control.
3. Defend Against Food Poisoning
Coriander is not only effective at treating infections — it can also prevent them from spreading in the first place.
Foodborne illnesses caused by salmonella, listeria and cholera are still major health issues in the modern world.
And if you’re dining in countries with less-than-great food regulations?
Well, then you really need to watch what you eat — unless you’re prepared to spend days (if not weeks) on the toilet!
But if you consume coriander regularly, you might just avoid it anyways.
The herb is actually a natural antimicrobial — (it can kill harmful microorganisms).
This makes it effective against many forms of food poisoning.
A study done by the International Journal of Food Microbiology found that coriander was especially potent against listeria.
4. Prevent Heart Disease
Heart disease is no laughing matter.
It’s actually the number one killer in the world.
Every year, it claims around 610.000 lives in the U.S. alone.
That’s 1 out of 4 total deaths!
With that in mind, you should do what you can to protect yourself against it.
One way to do that is to include plenty of fresh coriander leaves in your diet.
The healing herb fights heart disease with a powerful one-two combo.
Firstly, coriander has been shown to lower overall cholesterol and triglyceride levels (both major threats to your heart).
Secondly, research published in the Journal of Food and Chemical Toxicology found that the plant could prevent oxidative damage associated with heart disease.
5. Helps With Irregular Menstruation
Coriander, both the seeds and leaves, have long been used as a home remedy for menstrual issues.
This is because it helps regulate the function of your endocrine glands, as well as the hormones involved in your period.
Due to this, the herb is known an emmenagogue.
That’s basically a fancy word for “something that stimulates menstrual flow”.
On top of that, the plant can also help alleviate cramps and bloating you might experience during your monthly.
It differs from person to person, but you might need larger amounts of the herb to notice an effect on your cycle.
6. Protect Your Brain & Nerve System
As we covered earlier, coriander can be of great help when it comes to removing dangerous toxins from your body — especially heavy metals.
While this has a number of benefits to your health, the most important one has to do with your brain and nerve system.
Buildup of toxic metals in the body is strongly correlated with scary neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and multiple sclerosis.
If you eat coriander on a regular basis, its detoxifying effect could seriously lower your risk of getting these horrible illnesses.
Chronic inflammation is another danger to your neurological health.
The bright-green herb could potentially help with this as well:
A study published in the Journal of Molecular Neurobiology found that coriander (along with other herbs and spices) fights inflammation and protects your nerve system in the long-term.
Side Effects Of Coriander Leaves
Alright, so we’ve gone through the top benefits of coriander leaves, but what about the potential side effects?
Herbs are known as powerful agents of healing and rejuvenation.
However, since they’re so incredibly potent, they can also cause some unwanted reactions in certain people.
Here are the 3 biggest coriander side effects you should watch out for.
1. Allergic Reactions
A lot of plant foods can potentially cause allergic reactions, and coriander is no different.
In a study from 2002, allergy prick-testing showed that 32 % of children and 23% of adults had an allergic reaction to coriander (and other closely related plants).
Sure, that’s a minority, but it’s still a sizeable one.
Symptoms of coriander allergy may include:
- Hives and itching skin
- Swelling of the lips and mouth
- Feeling light-headed
If you experience any of these symptoms after eating the herb, it’s best to take an allergy test just to be sure.
2. Lower Blood Pressure
Eating a lot of coriander has been known to cause lower blood pressure.
This is partly because of the potassium found in the plant, which can reduce the effects of sodium in your body.
That’s great for overall heart health, since excess sodium is correlated with heart disease.
However, if you have a special health issue, or you have an upcoming surgery, lowering your blood pressure is probably a bad idea.
As always, I recommend that you ask your physician if you’re unsure about the finer details of your health.
3. Repulsive Taste Of Soap
Ok, this one isn’t really harmful for your physical health.
Still, it’s potentially a big issue with coriander, as well as a few other plants.
While most of the world enjoys the exotic flavor of the herb, there’s a small percentage that absolutely can’t stand it.
Now, you might be thinking:
“Oh, they’re just picky eaters raised on processed junk — refusing to touch anything healthy. Nothing new.“
And while you may be partly right about that, it’s also a fact that many people simply can’t help it.
Why Coriander Tastes Like Soap To Some People
According to NY times, some humans are genetically predisposed to picking up on a soapy taste in the plant.
In recent years, researchers have finally been able to pinpoint the culprits:
A group of genes called OR6A2 — or olfactory receptor genes.
These enable humans to smell and taste the aldehyde chemicals in coriander.
And guess what?
Those same chemicals are found in actual soap as well!
So, if you or someone close to you can’t stand the taste of coriander, it’s most likely caused by genetics — not fussy eating habits.
How To Use Coriander Leaves In Cooking
As mentioned, coriander (aka cilantro or Chinese parsley) is an incredibly versatile herb when it comes to the kitchen.
Unless you’re one of the few who taste nothing but soap when eating it, you should have no issues including it in plenty of tasty recipes.
Personally, I mostly use the fresh leaves as topping on my beans-and-pasta dishes.
After I’ve covered my meal in a delicious sauce, I simply sprinkle the herb evenly across my plate.
This adds a small-but-noticeable citrus quality to the meal, which is very refreshing.
Other ways to use coriander leaves in cooking:
- Pizza topping
These are the most common, but there’s also plenty of room for experiments if you’re feeling bold.
Improve Your Health & Make Tastier Meals
I hope you’ve enjoyed learning about all of the coriander leaves benefits and side effects.
As long as you don’t get the negative reactions we talked about, coriander is one of the most useful and healthy herbs around.
On top of its striking flavor, the whole plant is filled with important vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.
That includes the stems, by the way.
So, remember to use them in your meals whenever you can — they’re perfectly edible as well.
Now, it’s time to go shopping for these bright-green beauties and start cooking up some memorable meals!