Monday, August 2, 2021

The power of herbs: Cilantro

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Bailey Woodean
I have been a freelance writer for more than 4 years, a mom for more than 2 years, and a wife for just under a year. I am currently a student in a cooking and catering program with the intention of expanding my knowledge of the culinary business. I then plan to take this knowledge to properly write about and critique restaurants and food. Writing to you from Niagara Falls, NY, thanks for joining me on the ride!
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You may have heard of the herb Cilantro but, you may have also heard of it as Coriander. Here is the United States we usually use the term Cilantro when we refer to the leaves of the plant but, we use the term Coriander when talking about the seeds of the plant. This herb can be detected by its clover-like green leaves, tall green stems, and distinctive aroma!

cilantro

Cilantro is a popular and “spicy” herb that is commonly used as a topping (think BBQ chicken pizza, tacos, etc.) but it can also be used in other ways as well!

Growing Cilantro

Cilantro is best grown from seed because it doesn’t require a lot of time to get going. Plant the seeds in a well-drained, moist soil either in a planter or in a garden in springtime. The seeds will soon begin to sprout and grow. This herb should be kept in a mostly sunny area but should be relocated should the summer heat becomes too hot. Cilantro plants will begin to create new seeds (also known as bolting). Once this process begins the plant will begin to deteriorate.

Cilantro

Cilantro is one of the few herbs that are almost entirely used fresh because the leaves drastically lose their flavor once they undergo the drying process.

Benefits from using cilantro

There are many herbs and foods that are being scientifically tested as “cancer fighters. The cilantro (or coriander) plant seems to be one of them!

Recently, in a 2019 test-tube study, extract from the plant was taken and texted on prostate cancer cells. The results seem to show that the extract from the plant “reduced the expression of specific genes in cancer cells” according to https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277627.php#benefits. The cancer cells in the test tube became less invasive and did not replicate as quickly, suggesting that they would not spread quickly.

This extract was also tested against breast cancer cells in a test tube and the findings seem to show “inhibited damage to cells due to oxidative stress” according to https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277627.php#benefits. More studies and tests are being conducted and none have been conducted in humans (that we know of)! 

Other health benefits that are being explored with the cilantro plant leaves, seeds, extracts, etc include:

  • Pain relief
  • Use as an anti-inflammatory
  • Migraine relief
  • Protects skin from ultraviolet radiation
  • Protects and prevents sun damage to the skin
  • Oil from cilantro leaves may have antifungal properties against “Candida albicans, which is a yeast that is a common cause of infection in humans” according to https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/277627.php#benefits.
  • This oil may also be used as a natural preserve for food products.
  • Cilantro also offers health benefits from its vitamins and minerals including; folate, lutein, beta-carotene, potassium, and manganese.
cilantro3

Cilantro for cooking

As previously mentioned, cilantro leaves are the most commonly used for cooking and they are most commonly used fresh, not dried as they lose almost all of their flavor once dried. The “spicy” cilantro flavors are complementary to nearly any southwestern or Mexican dish, chicken recipes, salsas, rice, avocado toast, salmon, quinoa, and you can even make your own cilantro butter (check out the recipe here:  https://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/bobby-flay/cilantro-butter-recipe-1973523).

5 ingredient cilantro vinaigrette

This is a delicious and flavorful recipe that is perfect for salads, tacos, quesadillas!https://pinchofyum.com/5-ingredient-cilantro-vinaigrette

Ingredients

  • 1 huge bunch of fresh cilantro (2 cups packed)
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup water, if needed

Instructions

  1. Blend everything up for about a minute until smooth. Add water if you need more volume in the blender to make it run smoothly. Season to taste!
  2. PUT ON EVERYTHING! I actually do mean everything. So delicious.
cilantro

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