Cilantro and Warfarin

Publication Date: 
Mon, 08/15/2016
By: Alere Staff

A Mediterranean herb that is popular in recipes throughout the world is cilantro. Both the wide, lacy leaves and seeds of the cilantro plant are used in cooking. However, the seeds are often called coriander and, while they are part of the same cilantro plant, they carry a different flavor.1,2 Cilantro has been a flavor present in East Europe and Asia since ancient times but it’s popularity has spread throughout the world.1 You can now find cilantro in dishes from the Middle East, India, Mexico, Latin America and Africa.2

Benefits of Cilantro 

The leaves of cilantro, often confused with parsley, contain many chemical compounds that have been known to help prevent various disease and promote your health.1 Low in calories and containing no cholesterol, the deep green leaves contain antioxidants, essential oils and dietary fiber, known to help reduce the level of “bad” cholesterol, or LDL, levels within your blood. Cilantro can also be a good source of minerals like potassium as well as vitamins like beta carotene and vitamin C that can be beneficial to your health. 

Cilantro is an herb that has proven to enhance the flavor of different foods including various vegetables, chicken, fish and meat. It can be prepared in different ways ranging from soups and sauces, freshly chopped into salsa or sautéed into a green salad.1 Some of the foods that have been considered good matches for cilantro include: avocado, chicken, fish, ice cream, lamb, lentils, mayonnaise, peppers, pork, rice, salads, salsas, shellfish, tomatoes and yogurt.

Cilantro – The Controversy 

While some people may find cilantro to be a delightful addition to their food you may have found others that find it absolutely disgusting. Even Julia Childs has been quoted as not being a fan of the herb.3 The battle between cilantro lovers and haters can be found throughout history with sources comparing the odor from bedbugs to lotion and soaps. The curious clash has even prompted research with studies showing that people may even be genetically predisposed to dislike cilantro.3 Flavor chemists have also found that the chemical make-up of the cilantro aroma is created by modified fragments of fat molecules called aldehydes. These same or similar aldehydes are also found in soaps, lotions and bugs.3 Even other scientists say the discord can be linked to the primal importance of smell and taste in regards to survival and how the brain decides whether or not a food is healthy or poison.3 

Cilantro and Warfarin 

If you are someone who enjoys cilantro, you may be wondering if consuming this green herb will affect your INR. Cilantro is considered one of the richest herbal sources of vitamin K, so patients on warfarin should be aware how much they are consuming and whether or not you consume more or less than normal.1 One fourth a cup of fresh cilantro contains a low level of vitamin K at about 12.4 micrograms. However, nine sprigs of fresh cilantro, around 20 micrograms, contain a high amount of vitamin K at 62 micrograms. Even when cilantro is dried the amount of vitamin K is a medium level, with about one tablespoon containing 24.5 micrograms of vitamin K.4 

References:

  1. Rudrappa, U. Cilantro (Coriander Leaves) Nutrition Facts. Nutrition-and-You. 2016. Retrieved from the website:http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/cilantro.html
  2. Food.com. Cilantro. Retrieved July 25, 2016 from the website: http://www.food.com/about/cilantro-16.
  3. McGee, H. Cilantro Haters, It’s Not Your Fault. The New York Times. April 13, 2010. Retrieved from the website: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/dining/14curious.html?_r=0.
  4. US Department of Agriculture, Agricultural Research Service, Nutrient Data Laboratory. USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 28. Version Current:  September 2015, slightly revised May 2016.  Internet:  http://www.ars.usda.gov/nea/bhnrc/ndl.