Culantro scientifically called Eryngium foetidum is a plant originating from tropical America and the western Indies. Eryngium foetidum is a young plant that is still in the Apiaceae/Umbelliferae (Carrot family) family. Among other plants in this family are carrots, celery, parsnips, and parsley. Although widely used in the cuisine of the Caribbean, Latin America, the Far East, Americans are not familiar with the culantro plant. Even many in other countries are often confused because of their proximity to other plants. Many of them are mistaken and misuse their names. This plant is very similar to cilantro, but they are not the same plant and the health benefits of culantro also great like peterseli or cilantro. The leaves of the culantro are rather long and the sides are serrated.
Around the world, culantro goes by various names. Among them are: False coriander, cilantro, Long coriander, Fit weed, Long-leaved coriander, Shadow-beni, Puerto Rican coriander, Mexican coriander, Saw tooth coriander, Wild coriander, cilantro, Spirit weed, Stinkweed, Spiny coriander, Chardon Benit Shadon beni, Saw-leaf Herb, Cilantro Cimarron, bhandhania, Spirit weed Saw tooth Herb, shado beni Chardon étoile fétide dan black benny.
The genus name of culantro is “Eryngium” it is derived from “eryngion,” the Greek name is Eryngium maritimum. The leaves are said to have a bed bug-like odor.
Culantro has a great health benefits. It contains many nutrients such as iron, calcium, carotene and riboflavin. What is harvested from the culantro plant is the leaves. Culantro leaves are usually used as a flavoring dish, and as a condiment for meat. It is also used as a tea for colds, constipation, diabetes, and fever. One of the well-known benefits of culantro is as chutneys, as an appetite stimulant.
Culnatro is a young plant with a height of 20 to 80 cm. Usually culantro grows in trash cans, cultivated areas, meadows, plantations, forest edges, rocky places and in lowlands. It is an erect herb, perennial, slender, and evergreen.
Culantro usually grows in a wide variety of soils, and thrives in well-drained sandy loam rich in organic matter. Culantro is a plant that grows with a fusiform taproot and likes to grow in full sun.
Also see: Health Benefits of Banana Flower
Culantro forms two types of leaves, both are basal rosette leaves and leaves on the limbs. The basal rosette is 10-16 centimeters long by about 3-4 centimeters wide, narrow, and has a rounded tip, jagged edges and a tapered base. While the leaves on the stalks are harder and smaller. The edges of the leaves are equally jagged, each tooth has yellow fine spines. That’s the characteristic of culantro leaves, by getting to know them you can know how this plant really is so that you don’t take it wrong.
Flowers & Fruits
Culnatro has small, creamy white flowers arranged in inflorescence umbels. The flower is about 1.2 cm long and 0.5 cm wide. The petals are green and the crown is creamy white. If the flowers thrive, they may be larger in size, this is about 1.5 cm x 0.75 cm.
The origin of the culantro is not well known, but it is said that it came from several countries such as South America, Central America, southern Mexico to Panama, Bolivia, Colombia, Trinidad, Cuba and Brazil. Now the culantro plant has been introduced to all parts of the tropical world including Southeast Asia by the Chinese. It is a plant as a substitute for coriander, as it is known in Indo-China, Peninsular Malaysia, Sumatra and Java. Culantro plants are also cultivated in Central and South America, including elsewhere in Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Japan.
Culantro vs. Cilantro
These are two similar plants and many people misunderstand them. Culantro is the botanical cousin of the coriander plant, but the two don’t look exactly alike. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is sometimes referred to as Chinese parsley or Mexican parsley.
While the culantro has long leaves, it grows in rosettes, it has thin, shell-shaped leaves, growing at the end of a long stem. Coriander is an annual plant, while culantro is a biennial plant.
The taste and aroma of both are similar and can be said to be the same. But there is a difference from the spicy side. Culantro is hotter than Chinese parsley or coriander. In fact, many people say that the spicy taste of culantro is 10 times stronger than coriander.
Health Benefits of Culantro
Before you try culantro, know some of the health benefits of culantro that are popular in the community.
1. Eliminate bad breath
Culantro is a type of plant that removes bad breath. This is the same as the parsley plant which is famous as a vegetable to get rid of bad breath. Both are included in the Apiaceae family, so they can both overcome the problem of bad breath.
Culnatro contains the fresh aroma of shado Beni and high chlorophyll which is known as a vegetable that has several important effects in eliminating bad breath. To get rid of bad breath, you can chew fresh leaves every time you eat, the goal is to eliminate the effects of sulfur. Sulfur is the real cause of bad breath.
2. Culantro lowers glucose
It is proven that culanatro leaves and stems can lower glucose levels in animals. This is also caused by vitamin B12 or riboflavin. In its performance, riboflavin encourages the liver to effectively release the hormone insulin. If our liver is healthy, then sugar levels will usually be balanced. To lower blood sugar, you can consume fresh culantro leaves or grind the stems and consume with other foods or directly. You can also add the stems to salads, as well as the leaves.
3. Prevents neurological problems
Consuming culantro on a regular basis can eliminate a person’s diseases related to the brain. Diseases such as Alzheimer’s and other neurological diseases such as Parkinson’s can be avoided by diligently consuming culantro leaves. This is the anti-inflammatory effect present in culantro leaves.
4. Culantro treats asthma
Asthma is a common disease and it is associated with the lungs. Asthma is very risky for those who live in urban or industrial areas.
However, scientific research says that this plant is a wonderful source of medicine, it can cure asthma
5. Relieves pain
The health benefits of culantro are also well known as a remedy for reducing inflammation in the joints. This includes pain during muscle contraction and a number of other body aches.
The remedy for curing pain is to boil the leaves of culantro and drink the water or apply it on the painful body part topically.
The next health benefit of culantro is that it becomes a drug to detoxify toxins in the body. Culantro is rich in vitamin B2 which is good for sterilizing the liver. The liver is an important organ that must be maintained for normal liver function. The task of the liver is as an organ that can remove a lot of toxic waste from the body.