Natural Water Purification Using Coriander

by Lizzie Bennett

One day we are all going to have to return to simple, basic principles in order to survive. Looking towards the Third World, and the solutions employed by poorer nations can lead to solutions to the problems we will one day face.

A good example of this is cilantro, something you may know as coriander, an herb used for flavouring salsa and other spicy dishes.

The American Chemical Society  has shown that coriander removes lead and other heavy metals from the water supply.

Douglas Schauer, Ph.D., said that cilantro — also known as coriander and Thai parsley — shows promise as a much-needed new “biosorbent” for removing lead and other potentially toxic heavy metals from contaminated water.

“Cilantro may seem too pricey for use in decontaminating large amounts of water for drinking and cooking,” Schauer said. “However, cilantro grows wild in vast amounts in countries that have problems with heavy-metal water pollution. It is readily available, inexpensive and shows promise in removing certain metals, such as lead, copper and mercury, that can be harmful to human health.”

Conventional methods for removing heavy metals from water such as treatment with activated carbon (used in the filters in home water purification pitchers) or more advanced technology like ion-exchange resins are very effective. However, they can be too expensive for use in developing countries, especially in rural areas. The need for lower-cost, sustainable alternatives has fostered research on biosorbents. These natural materials, which range from microbes to plants, latch on to heavy metals in ways that include both absorption and adsorption.

“Our goal is to find biosorbents that people in developing countries could obtain for nothing,” Schauer explained. “When the filter in a water purification pitcher needs to be changed, they could go outside, gather a handful of cilantro or some other plant, and presto, there’s a new filter ready to purify the water.” (source)

Coriander grows readily in the ground or in pots, in greenhouses or in the ground…or even on windowsills provided it is watered regularly. Growing coriander has always been a good idea, it imparts flavor to otherwise bland foods and can help prevent food fatigue when diet is restricted. Finding out that it can remove metals from water makes it even more valuable as a prepper plant.

Contributed by Lizzie Bennett of Underground Medic. Lizzie Bennett retired from her job as a senior operating department practitioner in the UK earlier this year. Her field was trauma and accident and emergency and she has served on major catastrophe teams around the UK. Lizzie publishes Underground Medic on the topic of preparedness.

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