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I’m in the midst of my spring detox/cleanse and because of its super-star status, I’ve decided to recycle a past post I did on cilantro and add it to this series. If you care to follow along on my spring cleanse, please refer to the previous 6 posts. There’s a lot of good cleansing, detoxing and nutritional information amidst my rambling. Plus a few good recipes.

Last week I did a whole post on detoxing herbs, but I wanted to dedicate a separate post on cilantro because of its versatility and healing properties.

Cilantro refers to the leaves of the coriander plant. They look similar to flat leaf parsley. The seeds of the plant are ground and called coriander spice. Cilantro has a vibrantly fresh smell and it adds a distinct flavor to foods, especially southwestern fare. I love the stuff and always have a batch on hand.

It’s especially important during cleansing as it’s rich in all kinds of beneficial phytonutrients, flavonoids, detoxing substances, and antimicrobial compounds. One of which has been found to have twice the antibiotic power of the commonly used drug, gentamicin. In fact, researchers have found several different antibiotic substances in fresh cilantro, suggesting its use as a potential food additive to prevent food-borne illnesses (of which we’ve been hearing a lot about lately). According to other studies, cilantro helps to normalize blood sugar levels and stabilize lipid levels. Not to mention the fact that 2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro contains less than 1 calorie. You get a lot of bang for your buck with this little gem. I’ve been adding it to everything from salads to smoothies lately. Cilantro and burdock root are at the top of my “favorite detox nutrients” list.

In good health!
P.S. I’ll be back to normal (whatever “normal” is) posting in a couple of days. Two weeks of cleanse posting is enough! Hey, I heard that sigh of relief.

20 Responses to “cilantro, the detox herb”

  1. CeliacChick says:

    What do you think about xylitol? I can’t find any dirt on it.

  2. greedydave says:


    Absolutely love it! Cilantro adds an X-factor to a dish that nothing else does. I refer to it as a ‘sexy herb’ which always causes one friend of mine to shake her head at me disapprovingly. We’re South-east & Southern Asian food addicts over here and I simply couldn’t imagine a lamb bhuna without it. Add to that your always-informative nutritional facts and I just couldn’t love it more!


  3. Lo says:

    Gotta be honest, I’ve neglected this powerhouse herb, even during our past cleanses! Now I’m feeling… well, silly πŸ™‚ Thanks for the great post, as usual!

  4. Cid says:


    Coriander is one of my favourite herbs too. Last year and the year before I grew my own outside and gathered the seeds. I love the taste of fresh coriander in curries added at the end of cooking. Sometimes I wonder whether the essence of it is added to perfumes with eau de cologne notes? Either way I didn’t realize it was so good for us until now.


  5. I love cilantro. Great post. And when you are done your detox- here is my fave cilantro recipe:

  6. Melissa says:


    Xylitol and sorbitol are sugar alcohols and are hard to digest, so you end up with no calories. Carbs ending in an “ol” are sugar alcohols. Because they’re so hard to digest, you can also end up with some unpleasant rumbling going on in your gut. Even the runs if you eat too much of the stuff.

    I don’t like xylitol (or any of the other sugar alcohols), but in something like chewing gum (which I don’t like either), it’s not a big deal. Unless you chew a lot of gum. Xylitol doesn’t cause cavities like sugar does, so I suppose that’s a good thing.

    Overall — I give it a “thumb’s down.”

  7. Melissa says:


    I don’t know what lamb bhuna is, but I agree that cilantro adds an “X” factor to anything you add it to. I even put it in smoothies sometimes. It’s also a staple in Mexican food, which is one of my favorites.

    I have yet to hear it termed the “sexy herb” but if I do, I’ll know who started it!


  8. Melissa says:


    It’s such a good one, Lo — use it as often as you can. Very healthy, very detoxing. Plus, it tastes good!

  9. CoconutGal says:

    And I usually just use cilantro to make my dishes look aesthetically pleasing! I am totally adding it to my smoothie today. I have a big bunch in the fridge and tried juicing it yesterday and really enjoyed the flavor. Now I know it’s pretty powerful too!
    Thanks for the info πŸ™‚

  10. CoconutGal says:

    P.S. When you stop posting about your cleanse in a few days will you be done or continuing with it? I would love to hear a re-cap and final thoughts/experiences when you are finished!

  11. Melissa says:


    Eau de cologne notes? Hmmm, I wonder if I smell like cilantro lately? I’ve been eating enough of it. I never thought of that until you brought up perfume essence. You always cause me to ponder. In a good way, of course.


    Coriander in curries at the “end” of cooking. I think I toss things in too soon. I’ll remember that. Thanks, Cid!

  12. Melissa says:


    Thanks! I appreciate it and look forward to trying your pesto. I love that kind of thing and the dip looks awesome.

  13. Melissa says:


    You’re welcome. And yes, cilantro would be a good addition to your healing foods pantry. It’s good stuff, for sure.

    I’m planning on easing off my cleanse after two weeks (which is tomorrow), but I’m also determined to keep up the good habits I’ve re-established once again. I feel SO good that I wonder why I don’t just stick with this all the time. Probably because it’s a touch too prohibitive, but every time I do this it’s easier to stay on course.

    Yes, good idea. I’ll do a short recap.


  14. Wow, Melissa, once again, I am glad I came here today. First, I didn’t know about cilantro’s detox benefits. I don’t often eat cilantro. When we’ve vacationed in Mexico, I’ve eaten it like crazy, but rarely here. Okay, must add that to the list.

    Second, I really, really appreciate the information on xylitol. I tried that once and the experience was a disaster–as horrible as if I’d eaten gluten. I’ve NEVER eaten it again and have always been leery when I heard others were using it as their sweetener. I’d rather not have any sugar at all vs consuming xylitol. Thanks so much for the validation!


  15. greedydave says:

    Yeah, bhuna is basically lamb and onions pot-roasted in the usual Indian spices. Bhuna means ‘browned’ in Hindi (or something, I’m not a linguist) and the recipe I have for it absolutely kicks butt!! But, never sure how to ethically post someone else’s recipe on a blog, if that’s not a contradiction in itself.

    Anyway, I love Coco’s idea of a summary-post about the aftermath of your cleanse. I’m sure it’s coming but your usual candidness would be a good gauge as to how things were/are.


  16. Karen says:

    Melissa, thanks for writing these detox posts and illuminating the benefits of herbs. If you ask my friends and family, I’m sure they’d say I go on and on about this all the time. Most traditional Asian cuisines use food as medicine; herbs are a huge part of that, especially cilantro. (I wrote a little article about this last year,, with a list of particular ingredient benefits here, The vast majority of dishes here in Southeast Asia contain cilantro (as well as garlic and ginger). It’s one of the things I love about eating here. I’m especially fascinated by cilantro’s potential ability to rid the body of mercury when taken in conjunction with garlic.

  17. Melissa says:


    Thanks! I always appreciate and enjoy your input on things. Yes, cilantro is a “must have” herb for a variety of reasons.

    I’m not fond of any of the sugar alcohols or artificial sweeteners. I do use stevia on occasion, but I don’t make a habit of it. I prefer using honey or maple syrup — and not that much of it.

  18. Melissa says:


    Thanks for the clarification on bhuna. I’ve always liked Indian spices, but am learning a lot about using them from you, Miles and the gang across the pond. Plus, you’re so darn entertaining!


    I agree with you and Coco (good nickname, by the way) — I should do a cleanse summary post. And I promise, I’ll be honest as I did slip up a few times (don’t tell anyone though).

  19. Melissa says:


    You’re welcome — we’re definitely on the same page with this. Whether you’re talking about Traditional Chinese Medicine, remote village herbal remedies or Ayurveda — they all have “roots” in healing with medicinal plants (that go back thousands of years). Ironic that this is called “alternative” medicine.

    I have my share of heavy metal burden, so cilantro has been part of my ongoing regimen for years.

    Thanks for the links to your articles. I read everything and got caught up on what you’re up to right now. By the way, I’ll have a bowl of that num banh chok (spelling?) followed by some coconut marzipan cookies. But for now, I’ll skip the creepy crawlers.


  20. Miles says:

    Great photo! Do you grow the plant for leaf or seed as well?


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