Culantro is an erect, perennial spiny herb growing to a height of 20-80 centimeters. Stems are much-branched from a stout taproot. Leaves are in basal rosette. Leaf blade 10-16 centimeters long, 3-4 centimeters wide, narrow, with rounded tips, tapered base, and toothed margins. Flowers are pale green, minute, in dense conical heads, 1 centimeter long, above a ring of spiny bracts. Fruit is 0.2 centimeter, spiny, and 2-seeded.
- Introduced in the Philippines.
- Cultivated worldwide for its coriander-like flavouring.
- Native to Mexico and South America.
- Study of various parts of EF for essential oil by GC-MS analysis yielded dominant constituents: (Leaf)
(E)-2-Dodecenal (28.43%), 13-tetradecenal (27.45%), dodecanal (14.59%) and 2,4,5-trimethyl-benzaldehyde (10.77%); (Stem) dodecanal (20.21%), 2,4,5-trimethylbenzaldehyde (18.43%); and (Root) 2,4,5-trimethylbenzaldehyde (56.08%), 13-tetradecenal (9.26%) and (E)-2-dodecenal (7.65%). (see study below) (4)
- GC-MS analysis of seed of E. foetidum of Cuban origin yielded 37 compounds. Major constituents were
carotol (19–31%), (E)-β-farnesene (9.98%), (E)-anethole (7.43%) and α-pinene (7.69%). (8)
- Bioassay-guided fractionation of defatted aerial parts yielded two compounds:
lasidiol p-methoxybenzoate (1), a daucane sesquiterpene; and 4-hydroxy-1,1,5-trimethyl-2-formyl-cyclohexadien-(2,5)-[α-acetoxymethyl-cis-crotonate] (2), a terpene aldehyde ester derivative. (see study below) (12)
- HPLC analysis of methanol leaf extract yielded several carotenoids (lutein, zeaxanthin, ß-cryptoxanthin, ß-carotene, chlorophyll-a, chlorophyll-b, and pheophytin-b), phenolics (gallic acid, protocatechuic acid, syringic acid, p-coumaric acid, ferulic acid and sinapic acid) and anthroquinones (norlichexanthone, telochistin, secalonic acid D, citreorosein, emodin and parietin). (see study below) (14)
- A coriander-like flavor, although with a tougher texture and stronger flavor. (1)
- Roots have offensive odor.
- Considered stomachic, galactagogue, diuretic.
Whole plant, leaves.
Edibility / Culinary
- Leaves are eaten, raw or cooked; steamed or served with rice.
- Used as food seasoning for its coriander-like flavor in soups, curries, stews and rice dishes.
- Seeds also used for flavouring.
- Leaves used as febrifuge and laxative. Infusion of leaves used to treat chills, grippe, fevers, headcolds and as purgative in children. Decoction of crushed leaves used for children's leprosy and convulsions.
- Roots used as abortifacient, febrifuge, stomachic and sudorific. Infusion used for stomachaches. (1)
- Plant rubbed on the body for fainting spells and convulsions.
- Decoction of whole plants used as antimalarial. (1)
- Plant used for a wide range of ethnomedicinal uses, including burns, earache, fevers, hypertension, constipation, asthma, worms, infertility,among others. (5)
- In Mizoram, India, decoction of fruits used in dysentery. Leaf juice applied to forehead for fever. (17)
- Ethnic communities in the Kodagu district of Karnatak use the leaf decoction against gastrointestinal disorders and the leaf paste for wound healing. (19)
• Toxicity Study / Leaves: Long used as culinary seasoning, the adverse effect of chronic high dose consumption has not been evaluated. Study assessed the chronic toxicity of EF in mice. Results suggest daily consumption of E. foetidum for 24 weeks at doses higher than 0.8% EF diet (35 times of human consumption) may cause adverse effect on kidney function in mice. (3)
• Safe Doses: The National Bureau of Agricultural Commodity and Food Standard Survey "Food Consumption Data of Thailand" in 2006 showed a serving size of fresh edible EF of 0.48 g/kg body weight per day. An ADI (acceptable daily intake) of EF equivalent to approximately less than 10.12 g (fresh EF) of 0.58 g (freeze-dried EF) did not showed adverse effect in a 60 kg human subject. (3)
• Antioxidant / Essential Oil / Leaves: Study evaluated hydro-distilled oils of E. foetidum to GC-MS analysis for radical scavenging activity using DPPH and FRAP assays. DPPH assay yielded IC50 values of 56, 46, and 54.5 µg/mL for leaf, stem and root oils, respectively. In FRAP assay, highest reducing potential was seen in the leaf oil. Study suggests a potential source of natural antioxidants. (see constituents above) (4)
• Anticlastogenic / Leaves: Study evaluated the anticlastogenicity and clastogenicity of E. foetidum leaf using in vivo mouse peripheral blood erythrocyte micronucleus assay. Results showed EF has no clastogenicity, but possesses anticlastogenic potential against both direct (MMC)- and indirect DMBA)-acting types of clastogen in mice. (6)
• Antibacterial / Antioxidant / Leaves: Study
evaluated various leaf extracts of E. foetidum for antibacterial property, total phenolic content, and DPH radical scavenging activity. A methanol extract showed high antibacterial activity against gram positive bacteria (Streptococcus pneumonia, Listeria monocytogenes, and Staphylococcus aureus). The methanol extract also showed high phenolic content and antioxidant activity. (7) A methanol extract of E. foetidum showed mild to moderate antibacterial activity against Staphylococcus aureus. Phytochemical screening yielded tannins, saponins, and triterpenoids. (13)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Analgesic / Leaves: Study evaluated a decoction of leaves for anti-inflammatory and analgesic properties. Results showed a dry residue from the decoction given orally inhibited carrageenan-induced edema in rat paw. Topical application also inhibited swelling of mouse ear caused by TPA. Analgesic activity was evidenced by potent inhibition of abdominal writhings provoked by acetic acid as pain stimulus. (9)
• Antimicrobial / Anti-Helicobacter pylori Infection: Study evaluated the antimicrobial activities of B. pilosa, G. ciliata, and Eryngium foetidum against 6 clinical strains of Helicobacter pylori in vitro and in vivo. The lowest MIC value (64 µg/mL) and best spectrum of bactericidal effect (MBC/MIC=1) was seen in the methanol extract of E. foetidum. (10)
• Leishmanicidal Activity / Daucane Sesquiterpene / Aerial Parts: Study evaluated the in vitro leishmanicidal and cytotoxic activities of isolated compounds from defatted aerial parts of E. foetidum. Bioassay-guided fractionation yielded two compounds, a daucane sesquiterpene and a terpene aldehyde ester derivative. Compound 1, lasidiol p-methoxybenzoate inhibited growth of both L. tarentolae and L. donovani with IC50s of 14.33 and 7.84 µM, respectively, with no cytotoxicity. (see constituents above) (12)
• Antioxidant / Bioactives / Leaves: Study investigated the concentration of natural bioactives and antioxidant capacity in various solvents of E. foetidum leaf extracts. Bioactive compounds viz., polyphenol, tannin, anthocyanin, flavonoids, carotenoids, and ascorbic acid varied in different solvents and were highest with acetone and methanol extracts. Study showed antioxidant activity with potential use by food and pharmaceutical industry. (see constituents above) (14)
• Antiproliferative / In Vitro Antioxidant / Leaf Essential Oil: Study investigated the in vitro antioxidant and antiproliferative activities of Eryngium foetidum leaves. The leaf showed high antioxidant potential by DPPH assay. The cytotoxic effect of leaf essential oil showed highest CTC50 value against PC-3 cell lines. (15)
• Anti-Inflammatory / Suppression of Inflammatory Mediators / Leaves: Study evaluated the anti-inflammatory and antioxidant activities of E. foetidum leaf extract on LPS-activated murine macrophages. Pre-treatment with the leaf extract inhibited the elevation of IL-6, TNF-α, iNOS and COX-2, along with cognate mRNAs in a dose-dependent manner. Effects were due to inhibition of LPS-induced phosphorylation of JNK and p38 as well as IkB. The extract yielded bioactive compounds viz., lutein, ß-carotenes, chlorogenic acid, kaempferol and caffeic acid. (16)
• Biosorbent / Lead Removal: Study evaluated three plants from the Apiaceae family viz., parsley, coriander, and culantro to remove lead from aqueous solution. Results showed the adsorbents have a very low economic value and can be used for removing lead ions from contaminated waters. (18)
• Antimicrobial / Leaves: Study evaluated the antibacterial and antifungal activity of leaves of Eryngium foetidum. An ethyl acetate extract of leaves showed the highest antimicrobial activity against the four bacterial strains ( B. subtilis, S. aureus, E. coli, P. aeruginosa) and Candida albicans. (19)