One of the debilitating side effects of undergoing chemotherapy is the loss of taste sensation, making it difficult to muster an appetite at a time when essential nourishment is vitally important. Enter a medicinal plant and its seed that are not only chock full of anti-cancer nutrients, but also sport a flavor that is difficult to miss: the cilantro leaf herb and its seed, coriander.
Whether you love or hate the strong taste and sharp smell of this dainty, parsley-like herb, it sure makes an impressive entrance in the nutraceutical world. Used since Egyptian times, it acts as a digestive aid, helps relieve urinary tract infections and bladder issues and relieves flatulence, gas and abdominal bloating, while also encouraging peristalsis which helps relieve constipation, all symptoms very familiar to a cancer patient.
The list of crucial benefits of cilantro continues, making it a stunningly versatile anti-cancer food: it has anti-inflammatory effects, cholesterol-lowering properties as it stimulates bile acids helping with fat digestion as well as anti-microbial effects. To top this already impressive list, add its ability to help with the removal of toxins, and, in particular, heavy metals. In addition, the essential oil of the coriander seed helps relieve nervous tension and anxiety.
How to Use Fresh Cilantro
I store fresh cilantro wrapped in a damp paper towel in the fridge and use it within 3 or 4 days. If you can buy it with roots still attached, place it in a glass of water, but lightly wrap the leaves in a perforated plastic bag. This way it will last for up to one week. You can also freeze the leaves, whole or chopped in an airtight container.
Coriander seeds are best bought as whole seeds, as ground coriander only retains its flavor for about 3 months. Whole seeds can easily be smashed in a pestle and mortar just before use. Their sweet flavor enhances the vibrant taste of accompanying ingredients. Great to chew whole after a meal to freshen your breath and stimulate your digestive juices.
- As a garnish over salads, soups, stews, curries, casseroles
- Use it in pestos and hummus
- Use seeds in a black pepper mill and use in place of pepper over cooked food
- Add ground coriander seeds to pancake or waffle mixes for a Middle Eastern flavor
- Add ground coriander seeds to black tea for a chai flavor together with cinnamon
- 1 cup raw cashew nuts
- 1 cups cilantro, chopped (include stalks)
- ½ mint leaves
- 1 garlic clove
- 1-2 lemons, juiced
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
- season with pink Himalayan salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- add a pinch of cayenne pepper for an extra kick
- Place all ingredients except the olive oil in blender or food processor and blend until smooth.
- Drizzle in the oil with the motor running.
- If pesto is too thick, add more oil, a little at a time.
- Season to taste.
- Replace cashews with walnuts or pecan nuts
- Replace mint leaves with kale or arugula leaves
- Replace cayenne pepper with ground paprika
Recipe inspired by www.nadialim.com
Tang, Esther LH et al. “Antioxidant Activity of Coriandrum Sativum and Protection against DNA Damage and Cancer Cell Migration.” BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 13 (2013): 347. PMC. Web. 22 May 2017.
Silva,F, Domingues FC, “Antimicrobial activity of coriander oil and its effectiveness as food preservative.” Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. (2017) Jan 2; 57(1): 35-47
Sahib, NG, Anwar, F, Gilani, AH, Hamid, AA, Saari, N, Alkharfy, KM, “Coriander: a potential source of high-value components for functional foods and nutraceuticals – a review.” Phytother Res. (2013) Oct; 27(10):1439-56
The New Whole Foods Encyclopedia by Rebecca Wood
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods by Michael Murray, ND