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Cilantro is a hardy annual herb (Coriandrum sativum) that produces two products – one is the coriander seed, a spice valued in both cooking and medicine; the other is the leaves, known in America by the plant’s Spanish name, Cilantro.
‘vegetables of strong odor’ … are forbidden to monks
Sometimes called Chinese parsley, cilantro actually reached China rather late in history, after a long period of use in Persia and the Mediterranean area. Coriander is mentioned in a 16th century BC Egyptian medical treatise, and coriander remains have been identified in the tomb of Tutankhamen. The plant is compared to manna in the books of Exodus and Numbers, and is also frequently referred to in the Talmud. It was extensively cultivated in Persia – where it is still used today in many dishes – whence it spread to India and finally to China, where it is used liberally in fish and fowl preparations, as well as in soups. Chinese treatises include cilantro among the five “vegetables of strong odor” that are forbidden to monks. Some people do find that cilantro tastes “soapy,” but, in general, cilantro is widely accepted and liberally used in a variety of refreshing dishes, especially as it has now become readily available in US markets.
Cilantro leaves are rich in calcium, iron, carotenes and vitamin C. It is the seed that is most often mentioned in ancient medical treatises, but recently the leaves have become a source of great interest to holistic practitioners. A Japanese investigator, Yoshiaki Omura, has made the revolutionary discovery that cilantro can mobilize mercury and other toxic metals from the central nervous system if large enough amounts are consumed daily. (Acupuncture and Electro-Therapeutics Res Int J, 20:133-148 1995) This makes it very useful to individuals who are attempting to detoxify after the removal of mercury fillings, as detoxification of more peripheral tissues is a relatively straight forward matter, but mercury in the central nervous system is recalcitrant and can remain lodged there permanently.
Cilantro is the first known substance that stimulates the body to remove mercury and other toxic metals from the central nervous system, and excrete them via the stool or urine. Dried cilantro does not work, which implies that the active principle is an aromatic substance (that soapy taste?) in the fat-soluble portion of the leaves. The heavy metal detox capabilities of cilantro should also make it of great use in the treatment of depression, Alzheimer’s disease, lack of concentration; etc.
Use cilantro liberally – in soups, stews and salads.
Gourmet Cilantro Pesto
- 2 large bunches fresh cilantro
- ⅓ cup toasted pine nuts
- 4 to 5 large cloves garlic, peeled
- ½ good quality Parmesan cheese, finely grated
- ¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
- Celtic sea salt to taste
- Wash cilantro and dry well.
- Cut off most of the stems and place leaves in a food processor.
- Pulse to chop.
- Add pine nuts, garlic and Parmesan cheese in food processor and pulse until well blended.
- Place olive oil in the attachment that allows the addition of oil one drop at a time.
- Turn on motor and blend while olive oil drips in.
- Blend in salt to taste.
This is excellent on sandwiches, with fish or meat – or even on corn on the cob!
Published in the Price-Pottenger Journal of Health and Healing
Winter 1997 | Volume 21 Number 3
Copyright © 1997 Price-Pottenger Nutrition Foundation, Inc.®
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