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Sawtooth Coriander

Culantro Leaves and Its Medicinal Values

There are almost 80,000 species of edible plants in the world and 90% of foods human beings consume come from just 30 plants. Due to human intervention the planet has lost almost 80% of the original forests. It is imperative to note that 68% of plants are in danger of going extinct. So, the UNO has to take appropriate steps to protect and preserve the life of plants and trees immediately before they become extinct. This topic will deal with a tropical perennial and foul-smelling plant named Culantro.

The botanical name of this plant is Eryngium foetidum. The other common names of this plant are long coriander, wild or Mexican coriander, fitweed, spiritweed, stinkweed, duck-tongue herb, saw-tooth or saw-leaf herb, and saw-tooth coriander.

Sawtooth Coriander


Medicinal Value Of Culantro

This plant has calcium, iron, carotene, and riboflavin.

The harvested leaves are used as flavoring for meat and other foods.

The name fitweed is derived from its supposedly anti-convulsion ingredients.

The leaves are used for curing flu, diabetes, constipation and fevers.

The leaves are in big demand USA and sold in various super markets. One exporter who is based in Trinidad exports 2.4 tons of fresh culantro leaves to US.

This herb is used extensively in West Indies, especially in Caribbean and in India and Korea.

It is used as a seasoning in chutneys, meat dishes, sauces, preserves and snacks.

The fragrance emitted from the leaves is somewhat like crushed bedbug.

This ornamental herb has thick roots and waxy leaves with wonderfully blue flowers in cymose heads.

It has tap roots with long branched roots.

The oblanceolate leaves, arranged spirally around the short thick stem, form a basal rosette and are as much as 30 cm long and 4 cm broad.

The leaf margin is serrated, each tooth of the margin containing a small yellow spine.

The plant produces a well-branched cluster of flower heads in spikes forming the characteristic umbel inflorescence on a long stalk arising from the center of the leaf rosette.

In Caribbean Islands it is found lavishly in Trinidad and Tobago.

It grows well under full sunshine and partially shaded moist locations.

Culantro generally grows in a wide variety of soils and it does best in moist well drained sandy loams high in organic matter particularly under full light.

Culantro is free from dangerous infestations, but suffers from leaf spot problems.

The flower heads are attractive to green insects such as lacewings, ladybugs.

The culantro leaves are more pungent compared to cilantro.

The culantro plant is very popular in Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore and the people living in these countries use it as a flavoring in salads, soups and other meat products.

The plant is used in traditional medicines for fevers and chills, vomiting, diarrhea, colds, pneumonia, flu, diabetes, constipation, malaria fever and convulsions in children.

The juice of the leaves is applied on the areas affected by scorpion sting.

Culantro Juice

The juice of the leaves is applied on the areas affected by scorpion sting.

Culantro is native to Mexico and South America. It is also found abundantly in West Indies. Culantro is used in various dishes throught Caribbean, Latin America and the West Indies. Culantro grows wonderfully in shaded moist heavy soils and thrives best under well-irrigated shaded conditions.

Sawtooth Coriander: Culinary Creations


I know of many who will take pains to pick coriander out of their food. I for one, love nothing more than a big bunch of it on top of my noodles or salad! As it may be difficult for true coriander to thrive in our tropical climate, sawtooth coriander is a great alternative one can grow on a sunny or bright windowsill or balcony for a healthy supply of fresh herbs.

Sawtooth coriander leaves

To get many seeds for a whole row of sawtooth coriander plants, let it flower and cut off the stem when the seed is brown. Thereafter, nip out the first signs of a flower appearing so the plant uses all of its energy to produce leaves rather than flowers and seeds. The edges of its leaves are prominently serrated, resembling a saw, hence its common name.

Sawtooth coriander flowers

The aroma and taste of a sawtooth coriander leaf are similar to, but much stronger than that of true coriander. Used in Latin America and Southeast Asia, you will encounter it in salads, soups, sauces, curries and in particular, fish dishes. Try making this traditional Vietnamese dish featuring sawtooth coriander called pho cuon, or “pho in a roll”!

Soft Noodle Rolls with Beef and Sawtooth Coriander

Recipe extracted from Cooked


300g beef fillet

500g fresh flat rice noodle sheets, measuring 10cm by 20cm

1 bunch Thai basil, leaves picked

1 bunch sawtooth coriander, leaves picked

1 bunch rice paddy herb, leaves picked

•2 long red chillies, julienned


1 tbsp fish sauce

2 tsp sugar

½ tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 lemongrass stem, finely chopped, white part only

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 red Asian shallots, finely chopped

1 tbsp toasted sesame seed

½ tsp sesame oil

60 ml vegetable oil

Serves 4-6 people


  1. Freeze the beef for 1 to 2 hours to make it easier to slice very thinly. Then cut it across the grain, ideally 1 mm thick per slice.

  2. Make the marinade by combining the fish sauce, sugar, pepper and a pinch of sea salt in a mixing bowl and stirring. Add the remaining marinade ingredients and mix well.

  3. Coat the beef in the marinade, then cover and set aside at room temperature for 20 minutes.

  4. In a frying pan or chargrill pan over medium heat, sear the beef slices for about 30 seconds on each side, or until browned. The beef should be cooked to medium.

  5. Place a rice noodle sheet on a chopping board, with the shorter end closest to you. Then place some Thai basil, sawtooth coriander and a piece of beef along the base of the sheet. Place a stem of rice paddy herb and some chilli on top, positioning them so they are sticking out of the roll a little.

  6. Roll the rice noodle sheet tightly to enclose the herbs and beef, and continue till you reach the top. Repeat with the remaining rice noodle sheets and filling ingredients.