What Is Cilantro Chelation?

Dan Harkins

Chelation is the systematic reduction of damaging heavy metals in the body, either in response to an accidental poisoning or a lifelong buildup. To complement more mainstream detox regimens, some may turn to cilantro chelation to remove mercury from the body. Though still unproven scientifically as of 2011, many herbalists believe that cilantro also has claw-like qualities when it comes to latching onto mercury molecules and removing them from the body.

Tuna -- fresh or canned -- can contain relatively high levels of mercury.
Tuna -- fresh or canned -- can contain relatively high levels of mercury.

Cilantro, known in the East as Chinese parsley, comes from the leaves of the coriander plant, Coriandrum sativum. It has been used for several millennia as a distinctive flavoring in foods and as a potential treatment for various medicinal problems. In addition to its alleged use in lessening mercury levels, some herbalists also recommend cilantro for easing various digestive disorders and even as a treatment to fight cancer and remove calcium-rich plague in the heart. These leaves also are reputed to pique the appetite and provide antibacterial support when battle infections.

Cilantro may be helpful for easing various digestive disorders.
Cilantro may be helpful for easing various digestive disorders.

It was not until a 1995 study by New York cardiologist Yoshiaki Omura that a cilantro chelation's qualities as a heavy metal detoxifier were confirmed. Omura found that the levels of mercury in the body's neural tissue declined with progressive cilantro ingestion. Nevertheless, mainstream medical institutions still recommend cilantro chelation only as a complementary treatment to more proven chelation compounds. This may be a seaweed extract called Modifilan® or the compound ethylene diamine tetraacetic acid (EDTA). These may be delivered in oral doses or by injection when needed immediately.

Green vegetables have chlorophyll, which stimulates enzyme production in the liver.
Green vegetables have chlorophyll, which stimulates enzyme production in the liver.

Cilantro chelation is performed in much the same way as the other oral treatments, by ingesting a tincture on a daily basis for several weeks or months. This tincture is often prepared with cilantro in concert with other common herbal ingredients for detoxification like yellow dock root, some mushrooms, nettle and certain algae. When fresh cilantro is preferred, some just up their intake of cilantro and even yellow dock root in the diet. The recipe possibilities are vast — from salsa and soups to sauces and salads.

Though none are suspected of removing mercury especially well from the body, many other foods are suspected of having more generalized detoxifying effects. Green vegetables have chlorophyll, which removes several types of free radicals and stimulates enzyme production in the liver. Fruits high in antioxidants, particularly citrus, also have notable detoxification qualities, as do garlic, nuts and Ayurveda-approved mung beans. A cilantro chelation may contain extracts from any of these other ingredients for a more overall cleansing.

Pregnant women should limit their consumption of raw fish in order to reduce the risk of mercury poisoning.
Pregnant women should limit their consumption of raw fish in order to reduce the risk of mercury poisoning.

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