Eryngium foetidum

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"Culantro" redirects here. It is not to be confused with coriander, also known as "cilantro".
Eryngium foetidum leaves
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Eryngium
Species: E. foetidum
Binomial name
Eryngium foetidum
  • Eryngium antihystericum Rottler

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 (/kˈlɑːntr/ or /kˈlæntr/), 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.[2]

Common names[edit]

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: बन्धनिय, meaning "shrub cilantro" or Jungle coriander).

In different countries in Latin America it is known by different names.

  • In Guatemala it's known as culantro or "samat" in central and western Guatemala. In eastern Guatemala it's known as "alcapate"
  • In Venezuela it's known as "cilantro de monte"
  • In Honduras it's known as "culantro de pata"
  • In Nicaragua, Panama, & Cuba it's known as "culantro" or "chicoria"
  • In Dominican Republic it's commonly known as "cilantro ancho" but in some parts of the country it's often referred as "cilantro sabanero"
  • In Puerto Rico it's known as culantro or more commonly as "recao"
  • In Mexico it's known as "cilantro mexicano" and in other parts of the country it's known as "cilantro habanero"
  • In El Salvador it's known as "culantro coyote" and in other parts of the country it's known as "alcapate"
  • In Peru it's known as "sacha culantro" or ("jungle culantro") in the Amazon region where E. foetidum is a basic ingredient. The rest of the country does not use it but use coriandrum sativum which is coriander but called culantro, which is different.
  • In Spain it's known as "orégano de Cartagena" and in some parts of Spain it's called "cilantro habanero"
  • In Colombia it's known as "culantro cimarrón"
  • In Ecuador it's known as "Chillangua"
  • In Costa Rica it's known as "culantro coyote"
  • In Suriname, it is known as sneki wiwiri, meaning snake weed, and is used for preparing Traditional medicine, but not eaten.
  • In Brazil it is known as coentro-bravo, coentro-largo or chicory and is used extensively in Amazonian cuisine.
  • In Trinidad and Tobago, it is known as bhandhania by the Indian community and Shado Beni by other locals.

Other common names include: long coriander, wild or Mexican coriander, fitweed, spiritweed, stinkweed, duck-tongue herb, sawtooth or saw-leaf herb, and sawtooth coriander.

In Southeast Asian cooking, the Vietnamese name ngò gai, the Cambodian (Khmer) name ji ana (ជីររណារ) (other names are ជីរបារាំង ji barang, ជីរយួន ji yuon, ជីរបន្លា ji banla, ជីរសង្កើច ji sankoech), or (less often) the Thai name phak chi farang (Thai: ผักชีฝรั่ง, meaning "Farang's coriander") are sometimes used.

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; 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.[3] Spiny coriander (Eryngium foetidum L.) is a leafy spice herb of tropical regions of world (America, South Asia, Pacific Islands, South Europe and Africa) which is used extensively for garnishing, marinating, flavouring and seasoning of foods.[4]


Eryngium foetidum foliage


E. foetidum is widely used in seasoning and marinating 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.

In the United States, E. foetidum grows naturally in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.[5] It is sold in grocery stores as a culinary herb under the common names; "culantro" /kˈlɑːntr/ or "recao" /rˈk/.

Traditional medicine[edit]

E. foetidum has been used in traditional medicine for burns, earache, fevers, hypertension, constipation, fits, asthma, stomachache, worms, infertility complications, snake bites, diarrhea, and malaria.[6]

Eryngium foetidum is also known as E. antihystericum.[7] The specific name antihystericum reflects the fact that this plant has traditionally been used for epilepsy.[8] 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.[9][medical citation needed] A decoction of the leaves has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in rats.[10]

Eryngial is a chemical compound isolated from E. foetidum.[11] 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 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.[medical citation needed] 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.[12][unreliable medical source?]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved 1 October 2015. 
  2. ^ Ramcharan, C. (1999). "Culantro: A much utilized, little understood herb". In: J. Janick (ed.), Perspectives on new crops and new uses. ASHS Press, Alexandria, Virginia; p. 506–509.
  3. ^ Singh BK, Ramakrishna Y and Ngachan SV. 2014. Spiny coriander (Eryngium foetidum L.): A commonly used, neglected spicing-culinary herb of Mizoram, India. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 61 (6): 1085-1090
  4. ^ Singh BK, Ramakrishna Y and Ngachan SV. 2014. Spiny coriander (Eryngium foetidum L.): A commonly used, neglected spicing-culinary herb of Mizoram, India. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 61 (6): 1085-1090
  5. ^ Distribution of Eryngium foetidum in the United States United States Department of Agriculture
  6. ^ Paul J.H.A., Seaforth C.E., Tikasingh T. (2011). "Eryngium foetidum L.: A review". Fitoterapia 82 (3): 302–308. doi:10.1016/j.fitote.2010.11.010. 
  7. ^ "Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants". 
  8. ^ Culantro. "Herbalpedia" (PDF). The Herb Growing & Marketing Network. 
  9. ^ Simon, OR; Singh, N (1986). "Demonstration of anticonvulsant properties of an aqueous extract of Spirit Weed (Eryngium foetidum L.)". The West Indian medical journal 35 (2): 121–5. PMID 3739342. 
  10. ^ Sáenz, M. T.; Fernández, M. A.; García, M. D. (1997). "Antiinflammatory and analgesic properties from leaves ofEryngium foetidum L. (Apiaceae)". Phytotherapy Research 11 (5): 380. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1573(199708)11:5<380::AID-PTR116>3.0.CO;2-#. 
  11. ^ Yarnell, A. "Home Field Advantage" Chemical & Engineering News, June 7, 2004. Volume 82, Number 23, p. 33.
  12. ^ Singh BK, Ramakrishna Y and Ngachan SV. 2014. Spiny coriander (Eryngium foetidum L.): A commonly used, neglected spicing-culinary herb of Mizoram, India. Genetic Resources and Crop Evolution 61 (6): 1085-1090

External links[edit]