DEC 13, 2017 3:14 PM PST

Science Explains Why Some People Can't Stand Cilantro

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

For some people, cilantro is the perfect garnish to any savory dish. But for some, this green herb is just plain nasty and intolerable. Why does cilantro draw such deep and polarizing responses?

As it turns out, cilantro contains aldehydes, compounds responsible for the soapy taste and smell that many cilantro-haters reference. (Not coincidentally, soaps are also contain a fair amount of aldehydes.) And while aldehydes are also responsible for the uniquely fresh aroma in cilantro, some people never experience this side of the herb. That's because cilantro-phobes have genetic variations in a group of olfactory-receptor genes, called OR6A2, that seemingly intensify the soapy taste.

So, if you happen to be a cilantro-phile, thank your parents for your appreciation of this herb. If you happen to be a cilantro-phobe, try swapping parsley for cilantro.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
OCT 22, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
NASA Looks to Nuclear Fusion for Powering Deep Space Missions
OCT 22, 2020
NASA Looks to Nuclear Fusion for Powering Deep Space Missions
Nuclear fusion is the frontier of energy research, and NASA has a plan to bring this state-of-the-art power source to th ...
JAN 04, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Did Intelligent Civilizations Roam Our Galaxy 5 Billion Years Ago?
JAN 04, 2021
Did Intelligent Civilizations Roam Our Galaxy 5 Billion Years Ago?
Researchers have found that there were likely many intelligent alien civilizations sprawled across our galaxy billions o ...
FEB 20, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Mars Perseverance Rover Gets Ready to Find Life on Mars
FEB 20, 2021
Mars Perseverance Rover Gets Ready to Find Life on Mars
NASA scientists have confirmed that their car-sized Perseverance Mars rover is 'healthy' following its arrival o ...
MAY 15, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Scientists Find Liquid Water Inside Meteorite
MAY 15, 2021
Scientists Find Liquid Water Inside Meteorite
Scientists know that water is abundant in the solar system- existing in the rings of Saturn and on its moon, Enceladus. ...
JUN 04, 2021
Drug Discovery & Development
Scientists Identify 90 Drugs that Could be Repurposed to Fight COVID-19
JUN 04, 2021
Scientists Identify 90 Drugs that Could be Repurposed to Fight COVID-19
Researchers from The Scripps Research Institute in California have identified 90 drugs that could be repurposed for trea ...
JUN 22, 2021
Cannabis Sciences
Report Finds Most First-Time Cannabis Users are Women
JUN 22, 2021
Report Finds Most First-Time Cannabis Users are Women
Chicago-based cannabidiol (CBD) and cannabis-focused market research organization, Brightfield Group, has published a ne ...
Loading Comments...