May/June 2004 Alternative Health
Cilantro – the natural chelator

by Dr. David G. Williams

There's nothing I like more than learning about inexpensive, common herbs or spices that exhibit unusual healing properties. Historically, the use of herbs and spices in cooking evolved as a method to preserve foods and make them safer to store and eat. We've grown accustomed to using these items to enhance or accentuate the flavors of food, but researchers continue to discover herbs have much more to offer than just good taste. Cilantro is such an herb and one of its medicinal benefits was uncovered through the work of Dr. Yoshiaki Omura.

Dr. Omura treated several patients for an eye infection called trachoma (granular conjunctivitis), which is caused by the micro-organism Chlamydia trachomatis. Following the standard treatment, Dr. Omura found that the patients' symptoms would initially clear up, only to recur within a few months. He experienced similar difficulties in treating viral-related problems like herpes simplex types I & II and cytomegalovirus infections.

After taking a closer look, Dr. Omura found these organisms seemed to hide and flourish in areas of the body where there were concentrations of heavy metals like mercury, lead, and aluminum. Somehow the organisms were able to use the toxic metals to protect themselves from the medicine. While he was testing for these toxic metals, Dr. Omura discovered that the leaves of the coriander plant (cilantro) could accelerate the excretion of mercury, lead, and aluminum from the body.

This came about accidentally when he noticed that mercury levels in urine increased after an individual consumed Vietnamese soup. The healthy soup contained coriander, or, as it is better known in this country, cilantro. And when cilantro was used concurrently with natural antiviral or antibiotic agents and/or omega-3 fatty acids, the infections could be eliminated for good.

Dr. Omura's discovery resulted in a novel technique, which greatly increased the body's ability to clear up recurring infections, both viral and bacterial. By chance, he also discovered an inexpensive, easy way to remove -- or chelate -- toxic metals from the nervous system and body tissues. Chelation therapy using chemical agents like EDTA has long been used to help remove heavy metals, but cilantro is the only natural substance I'm aware of that has demonstrated this ability.

I highly recommend you take advantage of this "poor man's chelation treatment." All it takes is adding a quantity of cilantro to your diet daily, for two or three weeks. You can add a handful of fresh cilantro to a salad, mix a couple of teaspoons of cilantro pesto with whole wheat pasta, spread the pesto on toasted Italian bread, or have it with your favorite fish (good in soups). Any of these dishes will give you the dosages Dr. Omura used in his research.

Cilantro Pesto
1 clove garlic
cup almonds, cashews, or other nuts
1 cup packed fresh cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons lemon juice
6 tablespoons olive or flaxseed oil
sea salt to taste

Put the cilantro and oil in blender and process until the cilantro is chopped. Add the rest of the ingredients and process to a lumpy paste. (You may need to add a touch of hot water and scrape the sides of the blender.) You can change the consistency by altering the amount of olive oil and lemon juice, but keep the 3:1 ratio of oil to juice. (It freezes well, so you can make several batches at once.)

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