(NaturalNews) The anti-inflammatory and detoxification power of cilantro, a medicinal herb whose seeds are known as coriander, is greatly underrated and largely unknown in Western culture today. But if you suffer from a chronic inflammatory disease, which can manifest itself as arthritis, an autoimmune disorder, heart disease, brain fog, fatigue, and irritable bowel syndrome, and a number of other debilitating illnesses, then cilantro just might be the natural solution for you.
Rich in phytonutrients, flavonoids, and active phenolic compounds, cilantro has long been used by ancient cultures to prevent indigestion and other digestive disorders, and recent studies have confirmed that the herb does, indeed, help alleviate various stomach ailments. Dr. James A. Duke, Ph.D., a retired botanist from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and author of The CRC Handbook of Medicinal Herbs, for instance, says that drinking a cup of cilantro leaf tea can remedy any form of stomach discomfort (http://www.globalhealingcenter.com/benefits-of/cilantro).
Cilantro contains two specific compounds known as cineole and linoleic acid that both possess anti-arthritic and anti-rheumatic properties. Cilantro also contains a substance known as dodecenal that is twice as powerful as the antibiotic drug gentamicin at fighting infection and eradicating harmful microbes from the body. Cilantro is also a natural antiseptic that can help wounds heal more quickly, and is a natural chelator of heavy metals from the body.
As far as inflammation is concerned, researchers from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in New Delhi, India, found that rats given a powdered extract of coriander seeds to treat rheumatoid arthritis experienced far less swelling and inflammation compared to rats given a steroid treatment for the condition. The research team also found that coriander extract can alleviate joint inflammation associated with other types of arthritis as well.
"We undertook this experiment after we found [cilantro's] mention in the traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Unani for its anti-inflammatory and anti-rheumatic activities," said Surender Singh, co-author of the study which was published in the Indian Journal of Medical Research. Traditional Ayurveda and Unani, after all, have long used cilantro, with much success, to treat inflammatory conditions (http://www.everydayhealth.com).
A 2004 study published in the journal Food Chemistry found similar benefits for both cilantro and coriander, but noted that cilantro leaf extracts are the most potent. Since those suffering from chronic inflammatory conditions have been found to have lower-than-normal antioxidant levels, and cilantro is a powerful antioxidant, it is hypothesized that the mechanism by which this medicinal herb alleviates inflammation is via its unique antioxidant content.
So how can you integrate cilantro into your own diet? Blending a handful of fresh, organic cilantro into your daily smoothie is one option (http://mariefrohlich.blogspot.com). You can also throw some cilantro in your regular juicing recipes, and also sprinkle it into salads, stews, and other meals. Chopped cilantro also tastes great when added to fresh salsas and dips, so you can try adding it to those recipes.