Cilantro and its seed, coriander, are essential ingredients in a variety of cuisines. This leafy green herb looks similar to parsley, with a distinctive, potent aroma, thin stalks, and feathered green leaves. It's a common ingredient in salsas, chutneys, and other diced compound salads, as well as a flavoring agent, or "aromatic" in soups, stews, and sauces. Coriander seeds have a warm, almost nutty aroma, with a hint of citrus. Many Mediterranean and Indian recipes, such as curries, call for coriander. This common spice has a distinctive aroma, and also provides many of the same health benefits as cilantro leaves, in reduced amounts.
Certain conditions such as rheumatism and arthritis may benefit from two compounds in cilantro. Coriander contains both cineole, a terpene, and linoleic acid, a carboxylic acid. These compounds possess antirheumatic and antiarthritic properties that reduce swelling in the joints and surrounding tissues. Cilantro can reduce the severity of these conditions.
Coriander also acts as a mild diuretic, which may ease symptoms of kidney malfunction and anemia, as it helps remove excess water from the body. It can even ease cramps and bloating caused by pre-menstrual syndrome or PMS.
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