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It's easy to get answers about health and nutrition! Just send your question by email to askdrgourmet@drgourmet.com and Dr. Harlan will respond to selected questions of general interest. Answers will be posted in the Ask Dr. Gourmet newsletter (sign up now!) and archived in the Ask Dr. Gourmet section of the website.

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Ask Dr. Gourmet



Is cilantro safe for Coumadin (warfarin) users?

My husband is taking Coumadin, so can't have cilantro. I have read that celery leaves could substitute. Celery is low in Vitamin K, but I can't find anything about celery leaves. Also, does dried coriander seed have the same high content as cilantro? Is there anything else you can suggest that could substitute for cilantro in flavor?

Dr. Gourmet Says...

Cilantro, also known as coriander

I am not sure where you got the idea that your husband could not have cilantro. One-quarter cup of cilantro contains 12.4 micrograms of Vitamin K, which would be considered fairly safe for those taking Coumadin (warfarin). A quarter of a cup of cilantro is a fair amount of cilantro, however - few recipes will yield that much cilantro in a single serving. Most of the recipes here at DrGourmet.com that include cilantro will not have more than about a tablespoon of cilantro (1 tablespoon = 1/16 cup) per serving, which adds only about 3 micrograms of Vitamin K to each individual serving.

1 medium stalk of celery contains 11.7 micrograms of Vitamin K. The USDA does not specify the Vitamin K content of the leaves alone.

1 teaspoon of coriander seed contains no measurable amount of Vitamin K.

Here are my suggestions for a cilantro substitute if you still would like to use a different herb.

Timothy S. Harlan, MD, FACP
Dr. Gourmet