Guest Contributor: Healing Lifestyles & Spas

Do you love or hate cilantro?

If you are a ‘hater’ like me and if your salsa tastes less zesty and more Zest-y (get it, SOAPY?!), your genes may be to blame.

The scent of cilantro—a classic salsa ingredient—comes from a combination of natural chemicals, many of which are identical or similar to chemicals found in hand lotions and soap. Yep, it’s true!

People with “cilantrophobia” usually describe the taste as “soapy,” “like dish detergent,” and most revoltingly, “like dirty dishwater.” (Here’s hoping they haven’t actually tasted dirty dishwater.)

But at least one research scientist who tested the cilantro preference of identical twins suggests that the like (or dislike) of the herb may be genetic.

Charles Wysocki, a behavior neuroscientist from Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, discovered that more than 80% of identical twins rate cilantro the same way, while only 40% of non-identical twins (but twins nonetheless) rated it similarly. More systematic research needs to be done to further evaluate the hypothesis, but our genes may contain a cilantro love/hate trait.

If you’re a lover, here are a few fun and flavorful ways to add cilantro to your life (and if you’re having company, it’s always smart to check with your guest list first! Cilantrophobes will announce themselves freely and without embarrassment.)

· Add to coleslaws and salads
· Use in curries and chutneys
· Chop into dishes with black beans including sides and soups
· Include as a classic ingredient in Mexican salsa
· Add to veggie or chicken burritos
· Combine in a salad alongside garbanzo beans, corn, bell pepper, sweet onions, olive oil, vinegar and black pepper

Image via

Start a Conversation

Your email address will not be published.