The History of Cilantro

cilantroCilantro, or coriander, has been in use for thousands of years. The word coriander comes from koris, the Greek word for bedbug. It was so named because the unripened seeds as well as the leaves are said to smell like bedbugs. Cilantro smells divine to me. Does that mean I’d like the smell of bedbugs? Um …

Though some may say it is a “trendy” herb, it can be traced as far back as 5,000 B.C. Since then, it has been in wide use in the Middle East, Asia, and southern Europe. According to

Coriander was cultivated in ancient Egypt and given mention in the Old Testament. It was used as a spice in both Greek and Roman cultures … The early physicians, including Hippocrates, used coriander for its medicinal properties, including as an aromatic stimulant.

The ancient Egyptians used coriander tea to treat ailments such as urinary tract infections and headaches. The crushed seeds and leaves were often used in poultices and salves. Coriander seeds were found in King Tut’s tomb.

It was also used by many cultures as a meat preserver and also to mask the smell of already rotten meat. Sometimes it’s a wonder our ancestors survived.

The Romans took coriander with them to Britain. The British then introduced it to North America in 1670, where it took hold especially in Mexico and Latin America. Indeed, what would guacamole and salsa be without cilantro?

Today, cilantro is used for both culinary and medicinal purposes. As part of Cilantro Week, we’ll be delving deeper into the many uses for cilantro.

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That was pretty funny! Just cover up the smell so we can eat the rotten meat!!!!!