Eryngium foetidum leaves, with a US ruler for scale
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Apiales
Family: Apiaceae
Genus: Eryngium
E. foetidum
Binomial name
Eryngium foetidum
  • Eryngium antihystericum Rottler

Eryngium foetidum is a tropical perennial herb in the family Apiaceae. Common names include culantro (Panama) (/kˈlɑːntr/ or /kˈlæntr/), cimarrón, recao (Puerto Rico), chardon béni (France), Mexican coriander, bandhaniya, long coriander, Burmese coriander, sawtooth coriander, and ngò gai (Vietnam).[2][3] It is native to Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America, but is cultivated worldwide, mostly in the tropics as a perennial, but sometimes in temperate climates as an annual.

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 but in a different genus), of which culantro is said to taste like a stronger version.[4]


Eryngium foetidum plant with leaves and young inflorescence


Eryngium foetidum is widely used in seasoning, marinating and garnishing in the Caribbean (particularly in Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Puerto Rico, and Trinidad and Tobago), as well as El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama, Costa Rica, Guyana, Suriname, Ecuador, Colombia and in Brazil's and Peru's Amazon regions. It is also used extensively as a culinary herb in the North-Eastern States of India, (Tripura, Mizoram, Meghalaya, Assam, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim), Cambodia, Thailand, India, Nepal, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar, southwestern China and other parts of tropical Asia.[5] It is sometimes used as a substitute for coriander leaves, but has a stronger taste. Unlike coriander, Eryngium foetidum dries well, retaining good color and flavor, which makes it valuable in the dried herb industry.

In the United States, E. foetidum grows naturally in Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.[6]

Traditional medicine

This section needs more reliable medical references for verification or relies too heavily on primary sources. Please review the contents of the section and add the appropriate references if you can. Unsourced or poorly sourced material may be challenged and removed. Find sources: "Eryngium foetidum" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (August 2014)

Eryngium 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.[7]

Eryngium foetidum is also known as E. anti­hysteri­cum.[8] The specific name anti­hysteri­cum reflects the fact that this plant has traditionally been used for epilepsy.[9] 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.[10] A decoction of the leaves has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects in rats.[11]

Eryngial (trans-2-dodecenal) is the main constituent of essential oil of E. foetidum.[12] The University of the West Indies at Mona, Jamaica, has investigated the use of eryngial as a treatment for human Strongyloides stercoralis infection (strongyloidiasis).[13]

It is used as an ethnomedicinal plant for the treatment of a number of ailments such as chills, vomiting, burns, fevers, hypertension, headache, earache, stomachache, asthma, arthritis, snake bites, scorpion stings, diarrhea, malaria and epilepsy.[medical citation needed] A pharmacological investigation claims to have demonstrated anthelmintic, anti-inflammatory, analgesic, anticonvulsant, anticlastogenic, anticarcinogenic, antidiabetic, and antibacterial activity.[5][unreliable medical source?]


Qualitative analysis of the leaves demonstrated the presence of tannins and saponin, as well as some flavonoids; no alkaloids have been reported yet.[7] Caffeic acid, chlorogenic acid (CGA), and kaempferol have been among the phenolic compounds found in E. foetidum leaves.[14]

See also


  1. ^ "The Plant List: A Working List of All Plant Species". Retrieved October 1, 2015.
  2. ^ "Eryngium foetidum". Germplasm Resources Information Network. Agricultural Research Service, United States Department of Agriculture. Retrieved January 21, 2018.
  3. ^ "Culantro". WorldCrops. Retrieved February 5, 2019.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ a b 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.
  6. ^ Distribution of Eryngium foetidum in the United States United States Department of Agriculture
  7. ^ a b 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. PMID 21062639.
  8. ^ "Atlas of Florida Vascular Plants".
  9. ^ Culantro. "Herbalpedia" (PDF). The Herb Growing & Marketing Network. Archived from the original (PDF) on August 5, 2020. Retrieved February 15, 2010.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ 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-#. S2CID 196406564.
  12. ^ Yarnell, A. "Home Field Advantage" Chemical & Engineering News, June 7, 2004. Volume 82, Number 23, p. 33.
  13. ^ Forbes, W. M.; Gallimore, W. A.; Mansingh, A.; Reese, P. B.; Robinson, R. D. (October 21, 2013). "Eryngial ( trans -2-dodecenal), a bioactive compound from Eryngium foetidum : its identification, chemical isolation, characterization and comparison with ivermectin in vitro". Parasitology. 141 (2): 269–278. doi:10.1017/S003118201300156X. ISSN 0031-1820. PMID 24139239. S2CID 206247805.
  14. ^ "Web of Science Beta". Retrieved March 27, 2021.