Green leafy vegetables are always touted as being some of the healthiest of all, as are green leafy herbs. There is a good reason for that. The reason is that they are loaded with all kinds of good vitamins, minerals, nutrients, and medicinal benefits. Last week we talked about wheatgrass. This week we have another of the great green wonders. The best thing about this one (unlike wheatgrass) is that it is readily available all over Kuwait and the world! All you have to do is go to any supermarket, any vegetable market, or even to the roadside guys that sell fresh vegetables from a pseudo-bicycle veggie stand. The herb I am referring to here is cilantro, which is also known as coriander leaf. Here in Kuwait it is called “kuzber”. It is used as a cooking herb here and around the world, but not many people know that it is also great as a medicinal herb, and that it has countless benefits.
Cilantro is known for the fact that it looks very much like parsley, but has a different, somewhat stronger aroma, and a slightly different leaf configuration. (Some people call it Chinese parsley, even though it is indigenous to the Middle Eastern areas and some parts of Europe originally, and in spite of the fact that it is grown in many places including India, where it is widely used in cooking and as a medicine). So, when you want to go and buy it, look for it in the same place as the parsley. It is generally right next to the parsley, and is the same price (super cheap!) The seeds, which generally are called coriander (not cilantro), are also available everywhere, and are renowned for their healing properties too. They are quite inexpensive, so no one should have any trouble buying them. Coriander essential oil can also be found in the repertoire of any aromatherapist worth his or her salt (which is good for the same ailments but only used externally due to the oil’s strong properties).
Cilantro, which is known scientifically as “Coriandrum sativum”, is used for many ailments, including digestive problems. It is great for indigestion (which is why it is often added to dishes that have gas causing ingredients, etc) and it helps to get a flailing appetite back. It is also renowned for getting rid of heavy metal (aluminum, mercury, etc)(or other) toxicity, and it is so effective in doing this that the metal are found in the urine almost immediately after eating a dish containing cilantro (or coriander)! This is important because it has been found that several diseases concentrate in areas where these heavy metals accumulate. Also, people with heavy metal accumulation in their bodies exhibit many other symptoms as well, such as anemia, chronic fatigue syndrome, serious allergies and sensitivities, heart problems, hormonal imbalances, migraines, and a host of psychological symptoms (including anxiety, memory problems, and many more serious problems). Thus, getting rid of them is of utmost importance. In fact, cilantro (or coriander, whichever you prefer) is known as being one of the best overall medicinal tonics! Who knew?
Cilantro is good for diabetics as well, and there has been research that shows that it is effective in helping to balance blood sugar levels. It is known to balance and lower blood cholesterol too. When trying to get rid of infections (bacterial, fungal, and viral), or prevent them, (in fact, historically it was used as an antibacterial agent, a fact that has now been verified scientifically). Scientifically it has been found to kill the salmonella bacteria, which is probably one of the reasons that cilantro is used so extensively with fish and other seafood, chicken, and other dishes here in the Middle East, particularly Iran. And the most delicious herb to eat with shrimp is coriander. If you haven’t tried the well-known Kuwaiti shrimp dish that uses generous amounts of fresh cilantro as a base for a delicious sauce, don’t miss it! Coriander is supposed to be fantastic also as an antimicrobial. Using it in foods apparently helps them not to spoil! People have been using both the leaf and the seed since ancient times for these and other purposes, and this herb was even found with the Egyptian pharaohs inside their tombs. Ancient Greeks and Romans also used it as a medicine. At that time in history cilantro was considered a great talisman against evil spirits and the devil himself. In Indian ayurvedic medicine coriander or cilantro is considered a balancing herb, and they use it when a cooling cure is needed.
Many people use cilantro for helping with rheumatism and arthritis and the associated pain that accompanies these problems. Since it helps to increase the circulation in the body, it is going to be great for many other ailments as well, including getting rid of excess body fluids, particularly for those who suffer from edema. This is also great for people who are suffering with cellulite! Many people swear by its use as a deodorant as well, and say that it gets rid of their unpleasant smelling perspiration odor. This will hopefully be good news to those people out these who have a problem with that. (If it’s not good news to them, it will be good news for the rest of us!)
The best part is that cilantro (coriander) is considered totally safe as a food and as a medicinal herb. Even in very large quantities, it doesn’t show toxicity, and on the contrary, is well tolerated and good for us. So, make it a point to go out now and try it if you haven’t before. You don’t want to miss out on such a good thing, and the fact that you can buy it right in your local supermarket, on the streets, or practically anywhere in Kuwait for a very low price is certainly a big plus. So, what are you waiting for?
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