Can You Use Cilantro to Remove Heavy Metals from Water?

One of the things that will threaten the life of everyone during and after a natural disaster or SHTF event will be contaminated drinking water. Because of this, most preppers include one or more types of water filters or ways to purify water as part of their prepping supplies. Those that don’t store enough bottled water and don’t know how to properly filter water that they find, can end up sick and even die from disease.

In addition to harmful bacteria or other chemical contaminants, heavy metals can often end up in drinking water in large quantities, especially following a natural or man-made disaster. It’s also common for run-off that finds its way into drinking water post disaster to include other contaminants such as human excrement, trash, dissolved gases and minerals, pesticides, and various industrial products.

There are several different methods of filtering contaminated water. Most people know that boiling or distilling water are also good options when dealing with unknown water quality. The method you choose really depends on the type of disaster and the type of contaminant you feel might be in the water.

In fact, many people may already be using water filtration in their homes through water softeners. Some water softeners which use a process of ion exchange in order to reduce the amounts of magnesium and calcium that can accumulate in household fixtures and plumbing. Water softeners can also help with removing certain forms of radium and barium from drinking water but not usually other contaminants.

Other technologies for water filtration include:

  • Reverse Osmosis
  • Ceramic filters
  • Distillation
  • Deionization
  • Activated carbon

Each method removes some types of contaminants but not necessarily all. For this reason, it is often wise to use more than one type of water filtration to clean water post-SHTF. This article specifically addresses using Cilantro as a method for filtering water to remove heavy metals.

Common Warning Signs and Symptoms of Heavy Metal Poisoning

  • Trouble Sleeping
  • Depression
  • White coating on the tongue
  • Night sweats
  • Skin problems or chronic rashes
  • Tingling in the hands, arms, legs, feet
  • Unsteady walk
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety and irritability
  • Muscle and joint pain
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Dark under eye circles
  • Low body temperature
  • Allergies
  • Chronic pain-otherwise unexplained
  • Memory problems
  • Sore gums; receding gums

It’s important to note that the common warning signs of heavy metal poisoning can also be symptoms of other diseases and health issues. It’s important to do any diagnosing of heavy metal poisoning with the advice and guidance of your physician who can rule out other urgent health problems.

The Effects of Heavy Metals on Humans

If you are not already using some type of water filtration system in your home, you may want to consider it even before SHTF. The accumulation of heavy metals in the human body can be especially damaging to a developing fetus in the womb, to infants, and young children.

Heavy metal exposure has been proven to cause problems with the nervous system, as well as learning problems, behavior issues, and memory loss. Since young children are consuming more food compared to their body weight than adults, children can actually ingest increased dosages of heavy metals when eating the same food.

  • Lead
  • Zinc
  • Copper
  • Mercury
  • Chromium
  • Arsenic
  • Cadmium
  • Aluminum
  • Uranium
  • Calcium (can become toxic under certain conditions)

For details on how each of these heavy metals can impact the human body over time and other places they can be hiding, watch this video:

Sources of Heavy Metal in Water

  • Air emissions from industrial facilities and coal-burning plants
  • Mining and industry waste processing
  • Waste incinerators
  • Old lead-based house paints
  • Naturally occurring deposits of arsenic that dissolve in groundwater
  • Air pollution
  • Contaminated soil
  • Ingesting contaminated food such as fish and shellfish from contaminated water or fruit and vegetables grown in contaminated soil.
  • Run-off from cities and industrial areas

Using Cilantro to Filter Out Heavy Metals

So let’s say you’ve got your Sawyer Mini water filter which will filter out most other contaminants but you believe your source of drinking water may also be contaminated with heavy metals.

You can easily grow your own Cilantro, also known as coriander or Chinese parsley, to use as a filter for heavy metals. It takes about 7 to 10 days for cilantro seeds to germinate. They should be planted in fast draining soil, either in late Spring or early summer. If planting in a container, use one that is 8 to 10 inches deep. They do well in a sunny area that gets shade at least part of the day.

This video includes tips for growing cilantro, when to thin your plants, how to combat diseases that you may be faced with, and how to store it properly.

Thoroughly wash your Cilantro leaves and place a sprig or two into your drinking water and let it soak there for at least 24 hours. The heavy metals will bind to the leaves and be discarded when you discard the cilantro leaves. Ivy Tech students in Mexico discovered using cilantro is actually more effective than activated charcoal to filter heavy metals. They are working on creating a filter that uses cilantro:

You don’t have to wait for a natural disaster or SHTF scenario to detox your body from heavy metals. Our bodies actually are already accumulating heavy metals, possibly reaching toxic levels, without us even knowing it. You can have a hair analysis done that will determine the levels of toxic metals in your system and provide a baseline for you to work from as you detox.

Cilantro can be used for a variety of recipes including soups, salads, or even as a topping for different dishes. If you fear that your body has already accumulated toxic levels of heavy metals, you can detox your body gradually just by using cilantro in your diet. Try the pesto recipe in this video:

The uses for Cilantro are diverse and now include filtering or removing heavy metals from water as well as from your body. As with any change in diet, make sure you consult your physician regarding your plan to include cilantro in your diet. But in a post-SHTF scenario, having cilantro on hand to soak up any possible heavy metals prior to using your main filtration process certainly won’t hurt anything.

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About Megan Stewart

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Born and raised in NE Ohio, with early memories that include grandpa teaching her to bait a hook and watching her mom, aunts, and grandmothers garden, sew, and can food, Megan is a true farm girl at heart. For Megan, the 2003 blackout, the events of 911, and the increasing frequency of natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, spurred a desire to be more prepared for whatever may come along. Soon to be living off-grid, this mother of four and grandmother of six grandsons, is learning everything she can about preparedness, basic survival, and self-sufficient homesteading. She is passionate about sharing that knowledge so that others can be increasingly prepared to protect their families.

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