Allergen-Fighters: cilantro and coriander
Plants and pollen are common sources of allergen reactions for many people. From the Ayurvedic perspective, pollen-related allergen issues are often caused by an imbalance in Pitta dosha, the Ayurvedic mind-body energy associated with heat. Certain cooling foods and spices—like cilantro and coriander—help to naturally bring Pitta back into balance.
Pitta and allergens
Pitta dosha is governed by fire and water. In the environment, Pitta is manifest in the sun’s heat and warm climates/weather. In the body, Pitta is responsible for digestion, metabolism, and all other heat-related functions.
Some people are naturally more sensitive to allergens like pollen. And when it’s warm outside, things can worsen. Hot, itchy eyes and respiratory irritation are both signs of a Pitta-related pollen issue.
Pitta-Balancing power of cilantro and coriander
Some plants contain valuable chemicals and compounds—such as flavonoids and phenols—that help the body deal with allergens naturally. One such plant is cilantro, also known as coriander. Commonly used in South Asian, Mexican, and South American cuisine, the cilantro plant has tender leaves and stems which are used as a fresh herb. The seeds, whole or ground, are used as a dry spice known as coriander.
Cilantro and coriander are powerful aids to digestion. According to Ayurveda, allergen reactions can also come from improper digestion and an accumulation of ama (toxins) in the physiology, which in turn weaken the immune system and the body's response mechanisms. By enhancing digestion, cilantro and coriander work to alleviate the root cause of allergen sensitivity.
Ground coriander is a starring ingredient in our recipe for Digestive Lassi with Fresh Coriander. Lassi is a delicious, probiotic beverage that calls for yogurt and digestion-boosting spices.
Cooking with cilantro and coriander
Use fresh cilantro, finely chopped, as a garnish for bean soups, vegetable and bean stews, lentils, cooked vegetables and rice dishes. Add finely-chopped tender stems to soups and stews as they are cooking for even more potent flavor. Use freshly-ground coriander seed in combination with other spices to flavor vegetables and grain dishes, like our yummy Basmati Rice with Corn and Coconut Milk Sauce recipe. Try it!
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