Perennial Coriander – Eryngium foetidum
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Eryngium foetidum is a tropical perennial and annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Its scientific Latin name literally translates as “foul-smelling thistle”. Common names include culantro (/ku??l??ntro?/ or /ku??læntro?/), Mexican coriander and long coriander. It is native to Mexico and South America, but is cultivated worldwide. In the United States, where it is not well known outside Latino and Caribbean communities, the name culantro sometimes causes confusion with Coriandrum sativum (also in Apiaceae), the leaves of which are known as cilantro, and of which culantro is said to taste like a stronger version.
Commonly known as culantro in English-speaking Caribbean countries, Eryngium foetidum is also referred to as shado beni (from French chardon béni, meaning “blessed thistle,” not to be confused with the similarly named Cnicus benedictus) or bandhaniya (Hindi: ???????, meaning “shrub cilantro” or Jungle coriander).
In different countries in Latin America it is known by different names.
Other common names include: long coriander, wild or Mexican coriander, fitweed, spiritweed, stinkweed, duck-tongue herb, spiny coriander, sawtooth or saw-leaf herb, and sawtooth coriander.
In India, it is used mainly in the northeastern state of Assam, where it is known by the local name Man Dhonia; Manipur, where it is known by the local name awa phadigom or sha maroi, and as Takhiangh Baackhuan by Rongmei Naga tribes; Mizoram, where it is known as bahkhawr; Tripura, where it is known as bilati dhonia (a Bengali phrase that literally means foreign coriander); and in Nagaland, where it is commonly known as Burma dhania. It is also used in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands, and in a few parts of Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Karnataka. In Kerala it is known as “African Malli” (African Coriander). It is not much familiar in other parts of India.
E. foetidum is widely used in seasoning, marinating and garnishing in the Caribbean, particularly in Panama, Puerto Rico and Trinidad and Tobago, and in Peru’s Amazon regions. It is also used extensively in Thailand, India, Vietnam, Laos, and other parts of Asia as a culinary herb. It dries well, retaining good color and flavor, making it valuable in the dried herb industry. It is sometimes used as a substitute for cilantro (coriander in British English), but it has a much stronger taste.
It is used as an ethno-medicinal plant for the treatment of a number of ailments such as fevers, chills, vomiting, burns, fevers, hypertension, headache, earache, stomachache, asthma, arthritis, snake bites, scorpion stings, diarrhea, malaria and epilepsy. The main constituent of essential oil of the plant is eryngial (E-2-dodecenal). Pharmacological investigations have demonstrated anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anti-convulsant, anti-clastogenic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-diabetic and anti-bacterial activity.
All information provided is for informational purposes only. Please seek professional advice before medicinal use of any plants.