14 Dangerous Side Effects Of Cilantro

Get your facts right before you introduce this unassuming herb into your diet.

Medically reviewed by Reda Elmardi, RDN Reda Elmardi Reda ElmardiRDN facebook_iconinsta_icon
Written by , B.Desgn, ISSA Certified Specialist In Fitness & Nutrition Tanya Choudhary B.Desgn, ISSA Certified Specialist In Fitness & Nutrition twitter_icon Experience: 2 years
Edited by , BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health Ravi Teja Tadimalla BSc, Professional Certificate in Food, Nutrition and Health linkedin_icon Experience: 8 years
Fact-checked by , BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach Moksha Gandhi BPharm, Certified Health & Wellness Coach linkedin_icon Experience: 2 years
 • 

Cilantro is an herb used in a wide variety of cuisines worldwide and is known for its flavor and the pungent smell it imparts to dishes. However, one must also be aware of the side effects of cilantro that are mostly associated with its overconsumption.

This flavorful herb completes every dish and adds a unique aroma to the delicacy. Mexican cuisine uses it in almost every dish. This herb also contains some medicinal properties. However, its negative effects are also gaining attention. Learn more about them in this post.

protip_icon Know The Flip Side: Cilantro

Short-Term Effects
Gastrointestinal issues like abdominal cramps and vomiting, diarrhea, skin sensitivity, and allergic reactions like hives, swelling, and rash.

Long-Term Effects
May cause liver damage and may cause kidney stones.

Drug Interactions
Excess cilantro intake may interact with sedative medications and drugs that slow blood clotting.

When To See A Doctor
Cilantro may cause chest pain, when this concern turns into a chronic condition it is advised to consult a doctor.

Top 14 Side Effects Of Cilantro:

Here are the top 14 cilantro side effects

1. Liver Damage

Woman experiencing liver pain as a side effect of consuming excess cilantro
Image: Shutterstock

Overconsumption of cilantro can take a toll on the liver and affect its activities badly (1). It contains certain volatile essential oils that trigger the functionality of the most significant organ of our body. It also contains a number of powerful antioxidants, which help in eliminating liver problems. But when you consume more than the recommended amount of the herb, you force these constituents to work in the reverse order, increasing bile secretion and ultimately harming the liver. There is more research needed to properly understand the relation between cilantro and liver damage.

2. Low Blood Pressure

Woman experiencing low blood pressure as a side effect of consuming cilantro
Image: Shutterstock

Excess ingestion of cilantro is bad for your cardiac health, this is one of the adverse reactions to cilantro as it may make your blood pressure plummet too low. A recent research has revealed that you may experience mild euphoria by including lots of this herb in your daily diet. Apart from the fall in blood pressure, it can also cause light-headedness followed by unconsciousness.

3. Upsets Stomach

Woman experiencing upset stomach as a side effect of consuming cilantro
Image: Shutterstock

Cilantro is known to heal several gastrointestinal issues. But when you take cilantro overdose, you end up upsetting your stomach and developing various digestive disorders. According to a medical report, consumption of 200 ml cilantro extract (10%) for one long week can result in cilantro-induced gastrointestinal symptoms like extreme gas formation, stomach pain, abdominal cramps, vomiting and sometimes even loose motion.

4. Diarrhea

In severe cases of upset stomach, you may develop mild to moderate diarrhea (2). It has also been reported that this condition can get worse leading to dehydration. Try to keep the quantity of cilantro under control while incorporating it in your regular meal.

5. Breathing Problems

If you already suffer from some respiratory issues, it is advised not to consume excessive cilantro (3) It can give you acute breathing problems that can eventually lead to chronic lung diseases like cilantro-induced asthma. Sometimes the shortness of breath caused by too much cilantro intake can also come with dry and tight throat.

6. Chest Pain

Woman experiencing chest pain as a side effect of consuming cilantro
Image: Shutterstock

Though a little uncommon, some may experience chest pain after eating excessive amounts of cilantro. It not only causes extreme discomfort, but can also become chronic over time. Therefore, make sure that you consult your doctor before increasing the quantity of the herb in your daily diet.

7. Skin Sensitivity

The green leafy herb contains certain acidic elements, which can make your skin highly sensitive to sunlight. In such situations, whenever your skin is exposed to the sunlight as well as ultraviolet rays, you get sunburns. It may also make you prone to skin cancer. Therefore, it is better to stay away from the scorching sunlight or use a good sunblock cream regularly.

protip_icon Did You Know?
Cilantro is the Spanish name for coriander. The leaves are popularly known as cilantro in the West, while the seeds are called coriander seeds.

8. Allergic Reactions

Woman experiencing allergic reaction as a side effect of consuming cilantro
Image: Shutterstock

The protein content of cilantro is misinterpreted as ‘detrimental’ by our body and an antibody named IgE is automatically formed within our system to ‘counterbalance’ their negative effects. Cilantro allergies leave you with itching, swelling, irritation, rash, hives, etc., upon overconsumption or direct contact with it (4). The most severe allergic reactions that you may have to experience are eczema patches, dermatitis, and cilantro-induced anaphylaxis. You may also notice cilantro-induced urticaria or dermatitis.

9. Inflammation

Another common side effect of cilantro intolerance is oral inflammation. Those acidic components of the herb, which make our skin sensitive to sunlight, are responsible for this too. Usually, the lips, gums and throat are inflamed in this condition, and you might experience cilantro-induced angioedema. However, your face may also get flushed while giving you a tingling sensation.

10. Fetal Damage

When it comes to cilantro and pregnancy, there are some things you need to know. Eating lots of cilantro during pregnancy can be dangerous for the health of your fetus or baby. Some components of the herb are known to hamper the normal activities of the female reproductive gland, which can either cause harm to the expectant mothers or damage the overall health of the developing fetus.

11. Kidney Stones

Cilantro contains saponins, which have been linked to kidney stones. When you consume this herb, your body breaks down the saponins into smaller compounds that are easier to excrete from your system. However, if you do not drink enough water while consuming cilantro, the amount of saponin that is being broken down could increase and lead to the formation of kidney stones.

12. Kidney Damage

Did you know there is a connection between cilantro and kidney damage? Cilantro contains oxalic acid, which is toxic to humans. Oxalic acid is a natural substance found in many foods, but it is especially prevalent in spinach, rhubarb, and lima beans. Consuming too much cilantro can cause cilantro toxicity that may result in severe health problems, including kidney damage.

13. Issues With High Sodium

Cilantro is high in sodium content. One cup of cilantro contains about 1,000 milligrams of sodium, which is almost double the recommended daily intake. If you are trying to cut back on salt consumption, avoid adding cilantro to your diet.

14. Hallucinations, Confusion, And Seizures

Cilantro contains thujone, which is a neurotoxin. Thujone is a chemical compound that occurs naturally in clove oil. It is used in herbal medicine to treat various conditions, but excessive amounts of thujone can cause hallucinations, confusion, and seizures.

Additionally, some individuals may not prefer cilantro’s soapy taste. Andrew Barney, a blogger, spoke about his dislike for cilantro. He said “My tongue proceeds to feel numb most of the time, and even if not, the taste stays in my mouth for hours. Making it almost impossible to eat something else instead. It really ruins the whole mood, and usually the day (i).”

protip_icon Trivia
Cilantro is mentioned in the Bible during Moses’ time. This herb was also unearthed in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh Tut-ankh-Amon.

Infographic: Most Dangerous Side Effects Of Cilantro

Cilantro is a herb which is used in a variety of dishes, well known for its flavor and particular smell. Eating it in moderation is healthy, but overconsumption of cilantro can cause some serious side effects in the long run.

Check out the most dangerous side effects of cilantro in the infographic below.

most dangerous side effects of cilantro (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Cilantro is a herb used for the unique aroma and flavor it adds to dishes. It is a part of many cuisines throughout the world. However, one must also consider the side effects of cilantro, which are associated with its overconsumption. This herb may aggravate breathing problems, diarrhea, chest pain, and oral inflammation. Other serious side effects include liver damage and hypotension. It may also trigger allergic reactions and skin sensitivity. Hence, caution is advised.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it OK to eat raw cilantro?

Mary Sabat, RDN, LD, CPT, says, “People do not typically eat raw cilantro since the flavor can be quite strong and unpleasant. However, cilantro in a smoothie would be fine.”

Is cilantro good for your gut and bladder?

Sabat says, “Cilantro has antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, and it can help improve digestion and support the health of the gut and bladder.”

Can cilantro make you dizzy?

Yes, an allergic reaction to cilantro can lead to the development of symptoms such as dizziness (5).

Can you get food poisoning from cilantro?

Yes, consumption of cilantro has been associated with cyclosporiasis outbreaks (6). This is a type of illness caused by food contaminated with Cyclospora cayetanensis parasite.

Key Takeaways

  • Cilantro has some dangerous side effects that may cause health issues.
  • You should not use cilantro if you are allergic to it and experience rashes and itching.
  • Ensure you only consume this herb in moderation to avoid digestive issues like abdominal pain and diarrhea.
  • Anyone with a history of liver disease should not consume cilantro to prevent further complications.
side effects cilantro

Image: Stable Diffusion/StyleCraze Design Team

Cilantro is a popular herb, but it can have dangerous side effects. Learn about the risks and how to stay safe in this video.

Personal Experience: Source

References

Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Read our editorial policy to learn more.

  1. Acute and sub-chronic toxicological evaluation of hydro-methanolic extract of Coriandrum sativum L. seeds
    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/labs/pmc/articles/PMC5099860/
  2. Coriander
    https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30000851/
  3. Allergy to Coriander
    https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1398-9995.1979.tb04374.x
  4. Oral allergy syndrome
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/44691194_Oral_allergy_syndrome
  5. Allergy, Immunotherapy, and Alternative Treatments for Dizziness
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/354733186_Allergy_Immunotherapy_and_Alternative_Treatments_for_Dizziness
  6. Outbreak of Cyclosporiasis Associated with Fresh Cilantro, Texas, 2013
    https://www.researchgate.net/publication/267876272_Outbreak_of_Cyclosporiasis_Associated_with_Fresh_Cilantro_Texas_2013
Was this article helpful?
thumbsupthumbsdown
Reda Elmardi

Reda ElmardiRDN

Reda Elmardi is a registered dietician, certified nutritionist, and certified strength and conditioning specialist trainer. He has more than 10 years of experience and has been an NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist Trainer since 2015.

Read full bio of Reda Elmardi