A week ago researchers included an article in Fitoterapia (a peer-reviewed medical journal covering research on the use of medicinal plants) confirming that coriander and the essential oils found in cilantro are being actively investigated for their health-promoting powers. The long list of possible biochemical benefits include:
- antimicrobial – may inhibit growth of or kill microorganisms like bacteria and fungi,
- antioxidant – may protect cells from free radical damage,
- hypoglycemic – may help maintain blood sugar level,
- hypolipidemic – may produce a lower level of lipids in the blood,
- anxiolytic – may reduce anxiety,
- analgesic – may relieve pain,
- anti-inflammatory – may decrease inflammation,
- anti-convulsant – may prevent or reduce the severity of epileptic fits or other convulsions, and
- anti-cancer – may help prevent or treat cancer.
Cilantro has long been believed to have medicinal qualities; in fact, it was mentioned for its healing effects over 1,000 years ago in The Arabian Nights. Now researchers are trying to identify the exact chemical composition and determine how it helps us. But I just love its fresh lemony-ginger aroma and bright taste. So I think I will add this nutritious plant to some of my favorite recipes. Like the hard-to-resist peanut dip below…
Cilantro Peanut Dip
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup tamari
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon-size knob of ginger, peeled
2 tablespoons of local honey
2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil
1 lime, juiced and zested
1 cup packed cilantro leaves (about half of one bunch)
Combine the first eight ingredients in a food processor until smooth. Add cilantro leaves and pulse approximately 20 times (so that the leaves look like flecks of green). Enjoy with grilled meat skewers or vegetables – or just about anything else you like.
On day 49 of this 365 day project, I ate my daily five (including the leftover Tortilla de Patatas, which is delicious reheated). Did you enjoy yours?