Culantro is an herb with a similar aroma and flavor to cilantro, but they are not the same plant. Culantro has long, serrated leaves and looks a bit like long-leafed lettuce, growing out in a rosettle pattern from a divisible root. Culantro is a member Apiaceae family, which includes carrots, celery, parsley, and parsnip so it is more of a cousin than a brother to cilantro.
Culantro is used as both a culinary and medicinal herb. In food, the leaves are often added during cooking because it has a stronger flavor and aroma than cilantro, which then diminishes nicely under heat. You will find culantro specified in recipes for dishes from the Caribbean, Central America, South America, and Asia – namly Vietnam. Culantro’s main constituent oil is eryngial (E-2-dodecenal) which contributes to its ethnomedicinal properties including anti-inflammatory, anticonvulsant, and analgesic effects.