This page about Coriander for gout (Cilantro for gout) was last reviewed or updated on 27 July 2015
What's it called? Whilst the leaves
are usually known in the United States as cilantro,
in other English speaking countries the words coriander leaf (or leaves)
are normally used.* The seeds are called coriander
Coriander’s serrated green leaves look very similar to flat-leaf parsley’s leaves. Indeed another name for it is Chinese parsley, and it is closely related to parsley. But its appealing fragrance is not like parsley’s and its leaves are slightly smaller than flat leaf parsley’s and unlike curly parsley’s. Coriander’s stem is a lighter green than its leaves.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is considered both an herb and a spice. The leaves are the herb and the dried seeds (also referred to as its fruit) are the spice. The seeds can be ground into a distinctive soapy and floral smelling, dark brown powder. You can grind the seeds and the leaves yourself if wished.
Coriander is an ancient herb and spice, known for 7,000 years. When King Tutankhamun was entombed upon his death at only 19 in 1323 B.C., baskets of coriander seeds were placed with him because presumably he might need them for medicinal reasons in the after-life. It is thought he died from a severe strain of malaria. When the tomb was discovered in 1922, so were the coriander seeds. It was also popular in the Roman Empire period.
Throughout the ages, medicinal uses have been ascribed to coriander – to relieve flatulence (gas), as a anti –inflammatory, and as an anti-diabetic.
Which has more effect, the leaves or the seeds? Leaves were used in the study (described below) and they have more nutrients than the seeds. Dried leaves have the greatest concentration. In one study the leaves showed stronger antioxidant activity than the seeds.
In modern times it has demonstrated antioxidant activity in studies and its historic uses have receive scientific support. Now there is the possibility it could help people with gout.
Coriander (cilantro) leaves, seeds, powder
CILANTRO/CORIANDER FOR GOUT STUDY (1)
What happened in this experiment? Researchers in India bought fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves at a local market and washed and cleaned them. The leaves were ground into powder in an electric grinder and bagged in polythene. This was done every week for participants to ensure the coriander was fresh.
The trial tested two groups. Five grams of coriander leaf powder was taken daily in two equal portions for two months among patients with osteoarthritis. In this coriander group, after two months uric acid fell by almost 4.0 mg/dl. That was 60% down from the starting level. In the control group, who did not take coriander, it rose 20%
If that could be confirmed by other studies it would put it in the same league as gout medications such as febuxostat.
Gout and uric were not the chief focus of this study – that was the anti-arthritis and antioxidant capability of coriander leaves (cilantro). This study also came to very positive outcomes about these, with significant and positive coriander leaf influence on many arthritis components.
Why did uric acid fall ? Perhaps the reputed ability of coriander’s leaves and seeds to improve the GI tract (stomach plus intestines) by its antioxidants. An under-observed fact about uric acid and gout is that around 30% of uric acid is dissolved in the intestines.
Possibly coriander’s wide range of vitamins and minerals account for it, but it has to be said they are not found in great quantities in the 5 grams of coriander (cilantro) leaves that were taken daily in the study. Amongst its vitamins, Vitamin C and folate (folic acid) are thought to lower uric acid. There’s not much of either in both leaves and seeds. Nothing like the 500 grams of Vitamin C that has been required to lower uric acid albeit inconsistently. But according to the trialist’s measurement, blood levels of Vitamin C in the coriander group did rise.
However, when we consider the flavonoids in coriander leaves there are additional reasons. Raw coriander leaves (cilantro) contain almost 53 mg of quercetin per 100 grams of leaves. There is some evidence that quercetin can lower uric acid by inhibiting xanthine oxidase.
Other coriander flavonoids, such as apigenin and rutin, have also demonstrated an effect on uric acid. So too has caffeic acid, also found in coriander. Apigenin is also found in celery, olive leafs, and parsley. In the olive leaf extract study, apigenin even appeared more powerful than the anti-uric acid medicine allopurinol in inhibiting xanthine oxidase, which converts purines into uric acid
Is this too good to be true? Maybe. This is the only study with results for coriander and uric acid. A series of studies is certainly required to see if the extraordinary results here are repeated.
Coriander in cooking If you buy ground coriander as ground seeds powder, it will absorb water well and therefore be a good thickener for sauces, gravies, or in curries. You can find other uses for coriander in your cooking. And especially in Mexican and Thai dishes. Of course you can flavour (flavor) your own countries’ stocks, soups and stews with the leaves. I put them in scrambled eggs on toast.
This kind of culinary use is OK as far as it goes, but as with putting turmeric in curries for its anti inflammatory effect, you won’t get so much coriander. In the study participants took five grams of leaf powder daily for two months.
However, you can buy dietary supplement coriander (cilantro) in many forms. If you cannot find it online in your country, (quite likely), and apart from what you buy in a spice bottle or leaves in shops, you may order it online from the United States. You can order it in capsules, as fresh dried organic leaves, as an essence, as an oil, as organic seeds or just seeds.
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* Other names for coriander. Philippines - wansoy
Coriander for gout references
(1) C.U. Rajeshwari, S. Siri, B. Andallu Antioxidant and antiarthritic potential of coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) leaves e-SPEN Journal 7(2012) e223-228.