Not everyone could everyone afford water filters, but a new study featured on TIME shows that there may be a way to bridge that gap.

Researchers from Ivy Tech Community College in Lafayette, Indiana, and the Universidad Politécnica de Francisco I. Madero in Hidalgo, Mexico, found that cilantro has powerful bioabsorption properties similar to charcoal that could filter water wastes.

Apparently, the cellular structure of the herb’s outer walls allows it to absorb metals and let liquids through. In fact, experts say that a few leaves in teabags can even clean a jug of water in a few minutes.

For polluted areas such as the Tule Valley near Mexico City, this herb could lead to a positive environmental shift. “The organic toxins we can take care of pretty easily with a number of different methods, but the only way to get rid of those heavy metals is to treat them with filtering agents like activated charcoal, but those types of materials are kind of expensive… [Cilantro is] something they already have down there, it takes minimal processing, and it’s just a matter of them taking the plants and drying them out on a rock in the sun for a couple of days,” lead researcher Douglas Schauer says.

While it’s still best to have a proper filter at home, having a bit of cilantro around the house could come in handy in a pinch.

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(Photo by Joe via Flickr Creative Commons)

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