Sunday, 15 March 2015

Exploring Nature, get to know the unknown - African / Mexican coriander

This exotic herb is known in different parts of the world in different names. Here it is known as "African coriander" (African malli, in Malayalam, our mother tongue). The popular names include Mexican coriander, Farang coriander, culantro, spirit weed, fit weed, saw-tooth coriander, saw-leaf coriander, bandhani yah, long coriander etc.

From what I read from the web this herb is widely used for culinary purposes in South America, the Far East, and Africa. It is popular in Assam and Manipur in India; in South India, it is not very common. Hope my blogger friends will enlighten us about this beautiful herb's popularity in their countries.

This herb has a flavor similar to coriander/cilantro, the difference is this is stronger and intense. We may need only a small portion of its leaf to garnish our dishes compared to the more common coriander leaves.

This has two types of leaves. The leaves that are at the lower portion of the plant are long and are about an inch in breadth. They have saw-tooth like spines at their edges. Not at all thorny, they are smooth :). The rosette-like leaves are also present in my plant, they are also palatable. Hope it will flower soon.

The above plant was small when brought from my ancestral home with my mom's permission. She has one more there. They use it regularly in dishes. This is grown in a purely organic way. The potting mix is the same I used to grow ladies finger; details of which you can get from my post about growing ladies finger - the organic way.
http://magicalpresent.blogspot.in/2015/03/organic-okra-ladys-finger-cultivation.html

She has grown well in her new place here with me. I guess she is happy to meet you all, my blogger friends :) She is no fussy plant; requires only little Sun and water.

This exotic herb has been claimed to be having many health benefits besides the culinary uses like garnishing, marinating and seasoning.

The claims include properties like:
  • anti-diabetic
  • anticonvulsant
  • anti-cancerous
  • anti-bacterial
  • anti-inflammatory
  • analgesic
In traditional medicine, it is used for treating hypertension, fever, worm infestation, burns etc. Well, nothing has been proved by well-controlled double-blind studies nor there are uniform acceptance and agreement among the researchers, like in the case of many other herbs said to be having medicinal value. So always get the advice of a qualified doctor before use.

It is actually fun in having a leisure time activity like gardening. Growing herbs, spices, and medicinal plants, as well as flowering plants, are cool ways to bring positive energy. It has become a productive hobby as well in the present day world, considering the value of organically grown produce. Such cool stuff is always in demand all over the world. There are many more exotic herbs still not very well known to people, having unique medicinal values. Besides they improve health in natural ways. The end result is we all feel better!

Enjoy exploring Nature...! Let this also be a cool method to reduce the skyrocketing stress levels. Help the needy, suffering fellow human beings. Identify such rare plants, spread awareness and push the scientific community to conduct research to validate medicinal value claims.

Such activities bring a lot of happiness to everyone. Remember, happiness is our birthright.

The botanical name of this herb is Eryngium foetidum.
  • There are many things still unknown to us in nature. Some things may seem so common, but they may be priceless. Nature still has many secrets and we have just begun unveiling those.
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20 comments:

Sandee said...

Plants have so many healing properties. I see that you're into that logic.

Have a fabulous day. ☺

Dawna said...

Sounds like a great addition o a herb garden. I like coriander.. never heard of this variety - thanks!

Betsy Adams said...

Hi there, Thanks for all of the great info about this herb. Sounds like there are many ways that it can help people. We all need to learn more about things like herbs which can help us with medical problems rather than depending upon those horrible medications which cause all kinds of other problems to our bodies... THANKS.
Hugs,
Betsy

Linda said...

Beautiful, and amazing at what it can do.

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Thanks Sandee :)
Yes, there are so many plants and herbs in this world having medicinal value. We know little about them, that is the truth :)

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

It is an interesting herb.
Try to get one, Dawna :)

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Betsy, thank you.
You are absolutely right. People are on the look out for safe medications now-a-days. They do not want to suffer the side-effects and adverse reactions. Still a long way to go before declaring herbs and medicinal plants safe officially. Yes, you are right...why the delay or what exactly is the difficulty in conducting extensive research regarding this? This matter has to be discussed in detail.
Thanks again, Betsy:)
Have a nice week ahead :)

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Thanks Linda :)
Honored by your visit and comment.
Have a great week ahead :)

Birgitta said...

Beautiful! Like your plants Rajiv!

Jenny Woolf said...

I love coriander but have never seen anything like this. How interesting!

Anonymous said...

Great healing properties. I know I've had coriander, but I can't remember the taste. I like herbs and spices in my food.

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Thanks Birgitta :)
It is comments like this that motivate me :)

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Yep, it is interesting.
Coriander leaves is wonderful for garnishing :)

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Herbs and spices in food are cool :)
Thanks Medeia :)

jonathan said...

I know that some plants doesn't like being moved from their original location but this plant was an exception. It could be the spot where it was placed but I am sure it was your green thumb that made it flourished. I will start planting herbs and veggies but I need to learn how to cook. I will never survive alone in an island.

Shirley Tay said...

Very informative, Rajiv. I enjoy using coriander too, but it looks very different from those I use. Mmm.... maybe there're different spieces........

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

This plant got easily adapted here. I use the right potting mixture, water it regularly and keep it where I can give it enough Sun. Well, buddy...herbs are easy to grow, give it a try...cooking is fun, really :)
Thanks for the comment, buddy :)

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Thanks :)
Yes, it is a different variety :)
Cool flavour, indeed !

Sharon Marie Himsl said...

I like coriander and have used it in soups and sauces, but it comes in a spice bottle I buy in the store, and looks like round seed pods, not leaves. Would rather have the plant. Interesting the health benefits. Good to know. I also like the care you give your plants (they are almost like friends :)

Rajiv Sankarapillai said...

Thanks Sharon.
Coriander leaves are used for garnishing, marinating and seasoning. Coriander pods are used as a spice.