DEC 13, 2017 03:14 PM PST
Science Explains Why Some People Can't Stand Cilantro
WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham
3 7 1034

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
MAY 15, 2018
Videos
MAY 15, 2018
A Robotic Hand Helps Rehab Patients
When patients have to rehab after surgery, illness or strokes, physical therapy and the accompanying exercises can be a drag. Robotics can help patients re
MAY 28, 2018
Videos
MAY 28, 2018
How Will NASA Protect Earth From Potentially-Hazardous Asteroids?
Earth is no stranger to asteroids, but that's no reason to let our guard down. While many smaller asteroids break up in the planet's atmosphere, a larger o
MAY 29, 2018
Videos
MAY 29, 2018
Are Manicures a Skin Cancer Risk?
Spending a day having a relaxing spa manicure sounds like a great way to reduce stress and get your hands looking good again, but you might want to hold of
MAY 30, 2018
Videos
MAY 30, 2018
Teaching Kids About The Brain
When you think about neuroscience education, middle school isn't typically what comes to mind. However, at the University of British Columbia, a new progra
JUN 06, 2018
Videos
JUN 06, 2018
How Dog Years Translate to Human Years
Has anyone ever told you that a dog year is equivalent to seven human years? If they did, then they’d be wrong. In fact, different dogs age at differ
JUN 15, 2018
Videos
JUN 15, 2018
How not shaving can save the planet
Every year in the US we throw away 2 billion “disposable” shaving razors. But the problem is, these items are not actually disposable at all &n
Loading Comments...