Our third week into Q+A Tuesday!
Q: “I started drinking cilantro tea (cilantro leaves steeped in boiled water, then strained to drink). It seems to help a lot with bloating. Is it me or does this really work? Are there other helpful benefits to drinking this?” —Jenn from London, ON
A: Thank you for your question, Jenn! It’s definitely not your imagination that the cilantro has been helping your digestion. Cilantro is among the list of many herbs that aren’t just pretty plate garnishes but digestive tonics and helpers, too!
For those who are unfamiliar with cilantro, it is similar in appearance to parsley but has larger leaves. It is traditionally used in Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, and Latin American cuisine.
Cilantro leaves and its tea have been shown to provide relief from intestinal pain, gas, and bloating. It is also a helpful diuretic and can be used to clear up urinary tract infections. It contains antibacterial and antifungal properties, which help to rebalance gut flora in cases of dysbiosis or candida infections. Cilantro has also been researched for its unique compound called dodecenal, which laboratory testing has discovered is twice as effective as gentamicin for eliminating Salmonella bacteria. Crazy! And the food industry is also looking to develop a flavourless product based on the dodecenal found in cilantro as a natural food preservative. S’about time!
In addition, cilantro also contains flavonoids, which are anti-inflammatory antioxidant compounds that help to reduce inflammation and fight free radicals in the body. For detoxification, cilantro is also commonly believed to act as a heavy metal detoxifier, namely mercury, and works by having its detoxifying compounds pull the heavy metals from organs and tissues for elimination by the body. (Hard rock miners, millers, refiners, processors, heavy equipment operators, and tradespeople of the nickel basin, I’m looking at you!)
The cilantro seeds, also known as coriander, have a few benefits as well; coriander has been researched for its blood sugar lowering effect, which occurs by increasing insulin production. They also play a role in lowering LDL (bad) cholesterol and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol.
To prepare a cilantro leaf infusion at home is very simple! All you need are 2 teaspoons of organic cilantro leaves per cup, steeped in hot water for 3-5 minutes (boil water, let rest for 3 minutes before pouring over leaves). If you have a tea ball infuser or strainer, even better! Be sure to drink at least 15-30 minutes before or after a meal to prevent diluting your gastric juices during its prime working time. As a side note, cilantro grows quite easily and happily in a herb garden and now is a great time to get your indoor herbs started!
(Check out these happy little cilantro friends in their 4th week of growth on my window ledge at home!)
For any folks who are in the London area and would like to seek further assistance with any chronic digestive concerns, please feel free to contact Vanessa Case, RHN at Our Natural Connection (http://www.ournaturalconnection.com/). She is a wonderful digestive wizard and was the one who got me started on this path to better health!
Thank you for participating in Q+A Tuesday! Remember to keep sending in your questions! See you next week!
Much love and wellness,