If you’re a cilantro lover, rejoice! Recent research published to the Journal of Medical Microbiology shows that coriander (the other name for cilantro) oil destroys bacteria including E. coli, MRSA, salmonella and Bacillus cereus. In fact, since these are some of the bacteria that can cause food poisoning, loading your dish with cilantro seems like a better and better idea.
Unless you’re like me, and even the smell of cilantro can turn your stomach, while an inadvertent taste can send you running for a basin to rinse it out or even retch it up. Somewhere less than 10% of the population has this response to cilantro, but in those of us who do, it can be pretty strong and nauseating.
A study out of Australia showed that basil has similar antimicrobial properties. I’m not surprised: some types of basil can give me the same reaction as I get from cilantro.
Oregano oil has well-known antibacterial powers, too.
But, it starts to make sense why cilantro has been used as a staple spice in so many cultures, from Southeast Asia to India, to Central and Latin America. Not only does cilantro/coriander add pungent flavor to all kinds of dishes, but it also kills germs — what more could you want from an herb?