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By T. V. Antony Raj
The pair of bean-shaped kidneys, each about the size of a fist, are vital organs in our body located, one on each side of the spine, near the middle of our back, just below the rib cage. The kidneys perform many functions to keep our blood clean and chemically balanced.
Our body uses food for energy and maintenance. Wastes in the blood come from food that we consume and from the normal breakdown of active tissues, such as muscles. Every day, a person’s kidneys process about 200 quarts of blood and filter out about 2 quarts of waste products and remove excess water. The wastes and excess water flow to the bladder through two tubes called ureters as urine. The bladder stores urine until releasing it through urination.
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also called cilantro, koththamalli (in Tamil), or dhania (in Hindi) is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. In the English-speaking world (except for the U.S.) the leaves and seeds are known as coriander. In American culinary usage, the leaves are generally referred to by the Spanish word cilantro.
Coriander is an excellent source of minerals like calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium. It is also rich in many vital vitamins essential for optimum health including vitamin-A, beta carotene, vitamin-C and folic acid. By the way, vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant.
A study found both the coriander leaves and seed act as antioxidants, however, the leaves were found to have a stronger effect. Hence, Coriander like many other spices can delay or prevent spoilage of food seasoned with this spice. Chemicals derived from coriander leaves were found to have antibacterial activity against Salmonella choleraesuis, caused in part by these chemicals acting as nonionic surfactants.
Coriander seeds are used in traditional Indian medicine as a diuretic (a substance or drug that tends to increase the discharge of urine) by boiling equal amounts of coriander seeds and cumin seeds, then cooling and consuming the resulting liquid.
The powerful anti-inflammatory capacities of coriander can help one deal with symptoms of arthritis. Coriander also increases HDL cholesterol (the good) and reduces LDL cholesterol (the bad).
Cholesterol – the good and the bad
Cholesterol is not all bad. It is an essential fat. In fact, it provides stability in every cell of our body. The liver makes some cholesterol and some come from the diet. Cholesterol cannot dissolve in blood, so transport proteins called lipoproteins carry it to locations where it needs to go.
Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol
The low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol particles are less dense than other kinds of cholesterol particles. Each microscopic blob of LDL cholesterol consists of an outer rim of lipoprotein surrounding a cholesterol centre.
What Makes LDL Cholesterol Bad? It is just its chemical makeup. Here’s how high amounts of LDL cholesterol leads to plaque growth and atherosclerosis.
- Some LDL cholesterol circulating through the bloodstream tends to deposit in the walls of arteries. This process starts as early as childhood or adolescence.
- White blood cells swallow and try to digest the LDL, possibly in an attempt to protect the blood vessels. In the process, the white blood cells convert the LDL to a toxic (oxidized) form.
- More white blood cells and other cells migrate to the area, creating steady low-grade inflammation in the artery wall.
- Over time, more LDL cholesterol and cells collect in the area. The ongoing process creates a bump in the artery wall called a plaque – made of cholesterol, cells, and debris.
- The process tends to continue, growing the plaque and slowly blocking the artery.
An even greater danger than slow blockage is a sudden rupture of the surface of the plaque. A blood clot can form on the ruptured area, causing a heart attack.
High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol
The High-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol particle is dense compared to other types of cholesterol particles. Each microscopic blob of HDL cholesterol consists of a rim of lipoprotein surrounding a cholesterol centre.
The well-behaved HDL cholesterol is a friendly scavenger that cruises the bloodstream. It removes harmful bad cholesterol from where it doesn’t belong. High HDL levels reduce the risk for heart disease — but low LDL levels increase the risk.
Experts believe HDL cholesterol may act in a variety of helpful ways that tend to reduce the risk for heart disease:
- HDL cholesterol scavenges and removes LDL cholesterol.
- HDL reduces, reuses, and recycles LDL cholesterol by transporting it to the liver where it is reprocessed.
- HDL cholesterol acts as a maintenance crew for the inner walls of blood vessels (endothelium). Damage to the endothelium is the first step in the process of atherosclerosis, which causes heart attacks and strokes. HDL chemically scrubs the endothelium clean and keeps it healthy.
Coriander leaves offer great relief from stomach indigestion problems and the like. It also helps reduce feelings of nausea. Since it has strong antioxidant properties, it helps promote healthy liver function.
A friend suggested that consuming an infusion of Coriander leaves is a good remedy for kidney pain. This is the instruction my friend gave me to prepare a decoction using coriander leaves:
“Wash and clean a bunch of fresh coriander leaves thoroughly in water to remove the dirt and any residual harmful pesticides that might be sticking on them. Chop the leaves as small as possible. Put the chopped leaves in a vessel, pour filtered water and boil for 10 minutes. Filter after cooling using a sieve. Pour the filtered liquid into a sterilized glass bottle and store it in a refrigerator.”
She said: “Drink one glass of the liquid daily and you will notice all salt and other accumulated poison coming out of your system while passing urine. Also, you will notice that you feel healthier than before.“
By the way, coriander can produce an allergic reaction in some people. So, please consult your physician before consuming the coriander decoction.