|Eryngium foetidum leaves|
Eryngium foetidum is a tropical perennial herb in the family Apiaceae. Common names include culantro (// or //), recao, shadow beni, Mexican coriander, bhandhania, long coriander, and ngò gai. It is native to Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, but is cultivated worldwide, sometimes being grown as an annual in temperate climates.
In the United States, the common name culantro sometimes causes confusion with cilantro, a common name for the leaves of Coriandrum sativum (also in Apiaceae), of which culantro is said to taste like a stronger version.
E. foetidum is widely used in seasoning, marinating and garnishing in the Caribbean, particularly in Cuba, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Trinidad and Tobago, Panama, Guyana, Suriname, and in Ecuador and Peru's Amazon regions. It is used extensively in Cambodia, 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 coriander, but it has a much stronger taste.
E. foetidum has been used in traditional medicine in tropical regions for burns, earache, fevers, hypertension, constipation, fits, asthma, stomachache, worms, infertility complications, snake bites, diarrhea, and malaria.
E. foetidum is also known as E. antihystericum. The specific name antihystericum reflects the fact that this plant has traditionally been used for epilepsy. The plant is said to calm a person's 'spirit' and thus prevents epileptic 'fits', so is known by the common names spiritweed and fitweed. The anticonvulsant properties of this plant have been scientifically investigated.[medical citation needed] A decoction of the leaves has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in rats.
Eryngial is a chemical compound isolated from E. foetidum. The University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica, has investigated the use of enyngial as a treatment for human Strongyloides stercoralis infection (strongyloidiasis).
It is used as an ethnomedicinal 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.[medical citation needed] The main constituent of essential oil of the plant is eryngial (E-2-dodecenal). A pharmacological investigation claims to have demonstrated anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anticonvulsant, anticlastogenic, anticarcinogenic, antidiabetic, and antibacterial activity.[unreliable medical source?]
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