Not only is Coriander (also known as Cilantro) a flavour-punching and delicious culinary herb, it is packed with helpful detoxification potential (especially with regards to heavy metals). Plus it has many other therapeutic values, such as calming and aiding digestion, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial capacities and support for fat digestion and cholesterol levels.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) an ancient spice / herb originally native to Mediterranean and Caucasian regions was cultivated over 3,000 years ago by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. It was traded on the spice routes for centuries and has now spread widely beyond its origins and infiltrated the cuisines of many regions (the Spanish introduced it to South America). These days coriander is grown commercially in India, Morocco, Poland, Romania and Argentina to name a few. It is now one of the most widely used herbs around the world (integral to many dishes from Mexico, South America, Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, North Africa, East India, Ethiopia, China, Algeria, the Caribbean, the Basque country and more).
Traditionally the seeds have been used to aid digestion, reduce gas and improve appetite. In keeping with this, coriander water is also an old remedy for reducing colic in babies. Coriander is thought to stimulate bile production, supporting the liver to process fats efficiently and therefore impacting upon general elimination processes and cholesterol levels positively.
Coriander has been used in perfumes and deodorants, as well as to flavour liquors and medicinal syrups for centuries. The active constituents of coriander essential oil include turpentine, geraniol, camphor, carvone and anthole. It is reputed to have antimicrobial properties. The Ancient Greek pharmacologist Dioscorides used it to treat urinary tract infections, traditional Chinese medicine utilises coriander to counter dysentery and measles. East Indian herbal tradition employed it as an eyewash remedy for the treatment of smallpox.
In 1995 a doctor named Yoshiaki Omura noticed a large amount of mercury in the urine of a patient. It was deduced that the patient had consumed Vietnamese soup with coriander. Intrigued, Dr. Omura began to explore the effect of coriander on heavy metals. His studies confirmed that coriander removes not only mercury, but also many other heavy metals from the body.
Heavy metals can accumulate in the internal organs, tissues and bones and this can cause long term adverse health affects. Our body cannot eliminate heavy metals without help, only chelates (agents that bind heavy metals) can remove them from the body. Synthetic chelates can have side effects, however Coriander has recently been proven to be a powerful natural chelate.