Essential Oil of Cilantro
The essential oil of cilantro is extracted from the leaves of the plant by a steam process. Analysis shows that it is comprised mainly of aldehydes1. These are molecules where there is a double bond between an oxygen and carbon atom, and at least one hydrogen is bound to the main carbon atom. Aldehydes are very easily convertible to alcohol and exhibit some of the same properties, including an ability to kill viruses and bacteria.
The oil itself is an antioxidant that helps control free radicals. It has long been known that cilantro also helps in cases of indigestion. Like other essential oils such as eugenol (the essential oil of cloves) it has bactericidal and fungicidal properties. It may also have a chellating effect on heavy metals. (That is it will leach heavy metals out of the system.) Many people believe that chewing on a pinch of cilantro every day will help keep the mind clear and the breath crisp. The oil is a large element in the considerable beneficial properties of cilantro.
Many will be surprised to learn that the essential oil of cilantro is also used in perfumes. It is commonly mixed with fragrances of citrus and bergamot to make a lingering and pleasant after-aroma.