Culantro, scientifically referred to as Eryngium foetidum, is a two-year herb grown primarily in Tropical America and West Indies. It is, however, widely used in the dishes of the Caribbean, Asian and American. Culantro belongs to the Apiaceae family and is well known as a spice and medicinal herb.
Culantro’s common name is long coriander (bandhani), because it is a close relative of Cilantro, also called coriander (dhania). It is mostly found in India in the northeastern part, including Sikkim, Manipur, Assam, Nagaland, Mizoram, and Tripura. Some parts of South India, such as Andaman & Nicobar Island, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu, also find Culantro. There are lots of amazing things to unravel about Culantro.
There are almost 80,000 edible plants in the world, and 90 percent of foods human beings consume come from just 30 plants. The planet has lost nearly 80 percent of the original forests due to human intervention. It is imperative to note that 68 percent of plants are at risk of extinction. Thus, immediately before they become extinct, the UNO must take appropriate steps to protect and preserve plants and trees’ lives. This topic will address a perennial, foul-smelling tropical plant named Culantro. This plant has a botanical name called Eryngium foetidum.
Culantro is from Mexico and South America. It is abundantly found in West Indies too. Culantro is used in various Caribean, Latin American, and Western Indian dishes. In shaded, moist, heavy soils, Culantro grows wonderfully and thrives best under well-irrigated shaded conditions.
Medicinal Importance Of The Culantro Plant
- This plant has calcium, iron, riboflavin, and carotene.
- The leaves harvested are used as aromas for meat and other foods.
- The name fitweed comes from its allegedly anti-convulsion ingredients.
- The leaves are used to heal flu, diabetes, constipation, fevers.
- The leaves are in great US demand and are sold in various supermarkets. One Trinidad based exporter exports 2.4 tonnes of fresh Culantro leaves to the US.
- This herb is widely used in the West Indies, particularly in the Caribbean and in India and Korea.
- It is used in chutneys, meat dishes, sauces, preserves, and snacks, as a seasoning.
- The fragrance emitted from the leaves is a kind of crushed bedbug.
What is the difference between Cilantro and Cilantro?
Culantro is a cilantro botanical cousin, but they don’t look alike. Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) is sometimes called Mexican parsley or Chinese parsley, and sometimes its seeds (coriander) are called Mexican coriander. While Culantro has long rosette leaves, Cilantro has thin scallop-shaped leaves that grow on the tips of long, very thin stems. Also, Cilantro is an annual plant, not a culantro-like Biennial.
Although the two herbs’ flavor and aroma are comparable, you’ll notice that Culantro is significantly pungent than Cilantro. Some people say it’s even ten times stronger, which is evident from how the two are used in food recipes.
What is the taste of Culantro?
Culantro has a pungent smell and a bitter, cilantro-like soapy flavor but stronger. Many references say that the odor is like crushed stinkbugs (skunky or burnt rubber) or crushed bedbugs (sweet, musty, and like Cilantro). With such a description, it’s obvious this is a flavor that some love and some hate. A spicy element, which alone would be distasteful, may add an extra dimension to the flavor of the dishes.
They do come with their taste patterns when it comes to herbal plants in general. Usually, these taste patterns are due to the presence of organic (chemical) compounds. Usually, those chemicals come from groups of terpenoids, carotenoids, flavonoids, and other essential oils.
Although some herbal plant leaves have no taste, some may have a sour taste, some astringent or bitter taste, and some may be sweet. Usually, some of these herbal plants’ taste determines its uses as a spice for special food types.
How to cook Culantro?
The leaves are the wanted cooking part of the culantro plant. Culantro is an excellent supplement to a variety of recipes. You can cook it in almost any dish you would otherwise end up with Cilantro, although it is recommended that you use less Culantro than Cilantro when replacing it. It is interesting to note that Cilantro and Culantro’s roles are reversed in some Vietnamese beef noodle soup (pho) recipes, with Cilantro cooked while Culantro (Vietnamese ngo gai) is reserved for garnish.
You’ve certainly got a little snippet of what Culantro is like as a nutritional herb, but how does it look like, and where do you probably find it? The Culantro is a herbal plant of the botanical name Eryngium foetidum. The name Genus Eryngium comes from a Greek sea known as holly (Eryngium vuldgare). In contrast, the specific name foetidum is of Latin origin, meaning stink or bad odor. This plant belongs to the Apiaceae family and includes plants such as parsley, dill, and coriander.
Nutrition of the plant in detail
Culantro and Cilantro are both rich in phytonutrients, flavonoids, and phenolic compounds. They include vitamins and minerals, too. This significant vitamin-mineral make-up has, for decades, increased its diverse usage in cuisines. However, they do differ in their constituents of vitamins. Culantro contains vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C, as well as iron, calcium, carotene, and riboflavin. But for Cilantro the case is different, as it contains vitamins A, C, E, and K. Cilantro is also known to have minerals such as iron, potassium, and calcium but its caloric value is almost non-existent.
Vitamin A is a typical naturally occurring fat-soluble vitamin in many foods, including veggies such as Culantro. The presence of this in the Culantro once used in food dishes gives our body system some health benefits. Vitamin A is vital to normal vision or sight, immune system strengthening, and reproduction. Vitamin A often works as an antioxidant in the human body, which usually fights cell damage caused by free radical activities. This, on its own, helps to curb the aging prevalence. Consuming Culantro will go a long way in helping to maintain organ function and freshness in the body.
Several works and research have said Culantro is pretty rich in calcium. Calcium is one of the body’s most important nutrients, as it is important for bone formation, growth, and development. It is also essential for muscle contraction, blood coagulation, nerve impulses, heartbeat regulation, and fluid balance within cells. Human body deficiency could lead to a severe bone disease known as osteoporosis. The fact that calcium is present at Culantro makes it useful for pregnant women and lactating mothers as a food supplement.
Eliminates the bad breath issue
Veggies like parsley have been known to act as a remedy for bad breath, on a general comment. Because parsley and Culantro belong to the same Apiaceae family, it can also be said that Culantro solves problems concerning bad breath. The fresh scent of shadow beni and high content of chlorophyll suggest it has some deodorizing effect. To use Culantro for bad breath, after each course meal, chews on fresh leaves to eliminate the effect of Sulphur compounds, which are the actual causes of bad breath.
Asthma is a common Lung-related disease. It profoundly impacts people living in industrialized areas where heavy metals, dust, and toxic gas emissions predominate. However, recent research has found plants to be excellent sources of medicine that can help cure asthmatic conditions, and Culantro is one of those herbals.
Helps in glucose levels
Research findings that leave and derives from Culantro help lower blood sugar levels in animals have found this. Because of the presence of Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) as a nutritional supplement, it can lower body Glucose. Riboflavin promotes a healthy function in the liver, which may more effectively release insulin hormone. Since a healthy liver is equivalent to a balanced sugar level in the body, taking a dietary supplement of shado beni with a meal is only relevant. You can coarsely chop the leaves of Culantro, finely grind the stems and then add this to the salads, salsas, and smoothies to reduce your sugar and the risk of diabetes.
Although Culantro is one of the highly beneficial herbal plants, its wide use is known to be virtually limited to the Caribbean and other parts of South and Central America. However, Culantro is now becoming an essential herbal import in some parts of the world, such as the United States, due to the increasing ethnic immigrant populations and varied dishes worldwide. From the above information, you could see that the herb never fails to fulfill its dual-duty, medicinal value and culinary value.