Coriander is used both as a spice and a herb. This is because both its leaves and seeds are used as a seasoning agent. Fresh coriander leaves are called Cilantro and have a close resemblance to Parsley. Both parsley and Cilantro belong with the Umbelliferae plant family. The use of coriander started in 5000 BC and is native to the Mediterranean and Middle East regions. The fruit of the coriander plant is used as a spice after drying.
Coriander is also known as Cilantro in the Americas and some parts of Europe. It is a herb which is commonly used around the world as a garnish or edible item of decoration of any dish. It also forms an essential part of several cuisines. The scientific name of coriander is Coriandrum Sativum L. The leaves and fruits of coriander plant have a rich aroma and are used raw or as a dried spice. Coriander has eleven components of essential oils, six types of acids, vitamins and minerals and is also considered as a great appetizer. Apart from its healing properties Coriander forms a part of dietary fibre and is a great source of iron and magnesium
Ayurveda on Coriander
Coriander is an ayurvedic herb used for medicinal purposes. Coriander is used in many folk medicines and ayurveda believes that it helps in curing digestive disorders and helps increase appetite. It also helps stimulate hunger in anorexic patients. A typical ayurveda preparation is made by mixing coriander leaves with salt and butter milk, to improve digestion.
Health Benefits of Coriander
Coriander health benefits are multiple such as treatment of swellings, diarrhoea, anaemia, digestion, high cholesterol levels. Other benefits of Coriander include treatment of menstrual disorders, conjunctivitis, skin disorders and blood sugar disorders. A detailed description of coriander health benefits are listed below.
Swelling : Coriander contains linoleic acid and cineole essential oil, which have anti rheumatic and anti arthritic properties. These properties are very helpful in healing caused due to rheumatic or arthritic problems. If the swelling is due to anemia or kidney problems then coriander can be beneficial to a certain extent.
Diarrhoea : Few components of essential oils in coriander such as Borneol and Linalool help in digestion and proper functioning of the liver. It also helps in improving and bonding of bowel, thus improving diarrhea. Coriander heath benefits can also be seen in diarrhea caused by microbial and fungal infection. This is because all the essential oils like Cineole, Borneol, limonene, beta-phelandrene and alpha-phelandrene have anti bacterial properties.
Cholesterol : Linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and ascorbic acid are great when it comes to lowering high cholesterol levels in the blood. These essential oils also help in lowering cholesterol deposit along the inner walls of the veins and arteries.
Anemia: The iron content in Coriander helps in curing anemia.
Mouth Ulcers: The essential oil called Citronelol in coriander has great antiseptic and also anti microbial properties. This has healing effects and helps in limiting ulcers and controlling wounds. Along with healing mouth ulcers, coriander also helps in giving fresh breath.
Blood sugar: Research has found that coriander extracts helps lower cholesterol levels. A research was done on obese rats and was found that coriander suppresses hyperglycemias. Researchers have concluded that coriander seed extracts helped in normalizing blood sugar levels and decreased levels of insulin. You can try using coriander as an alternative remedy to cure diabetes and harmful cholesterol levels. Coriander is also called the anti-diabetic plant and helps the heart in raising good cholesterol.
Digestion: Apart from being a great appetizer, coriander also helps in proper secretion of enzymes and digestive juices in the stomach. It helps is peristaltic motion and stimulates digestion. Apart from this coriander health benefit also includes treating problems like anorexia.
Conjutivitis : Coriander heath benefits can even help cure eye disorders. Coriander has lot of anti oxidants, Vitamin-C, vitamin –A, and minerals such as phosphorus in the essential oils which help in preventing aging of eye, macular degeneration and sooths the eyes against stress. Because of its disinfectant and anti microbial properties, it can also help protect the eyes from contagious diseases such as conjunctivitis.
Menstrual disorders : Coriander is stimulating in nature and helps proper secretion from the endocrine glands. Coriander can help proper secretion of hormones and help reduce pains during periods. Overall it can help in inducing proper menstrual cycles.
Skin disorders : This herb is great for skin and its juice can be mixed with turmeric powder to help treat pimples and blackheads. The disinfectant, anti-fungal, anti-oxidant and anti-septic properties of coriander help in curing skin diseases such as dryness, fungal infections and even eczema.
Arthritis: For people who have arthritis, use of coriander can help as it has many anti- inflammatory properties. You need to boil ground coriander seeds with water and drink the concoction.
Other benefits: Apart from the above benefits, coriander is also known to help in urinary tract infections and reduces feeling of nausea. It contains immune-boosting properties and also acts as an expectorant.
Usage, Selection and Storage of coriander
Fresh Coriander leaves look deep green in color and should be firm, crisp and free from yellow and brown spots. They are available in local vegetable shops and also in super stores. If you are buying coriander as a spice, it is best to buy seeds and grid it at home rather than buying the powder. This eliminates any chance of contamination. Even though the spices are available anywhere in the market, it is best to buy from local spice stores or ethnic markets of the area. Coriander seeds and powder should be kept in an airtight container. Fresh coriander leaves are perishable and should be stored in the refrigerator, but they still do not last for more than a week even when refrigerated.
When not to use coriander
Sometimes direct application of coriander has known to cause skin irritation, allergic reactions, inflammation and sensitivity to sun5.
Coriander has been found to be beneficial in more ailments than one, be it stomach upsets or heart related problems, menstrual disorder or conjunctivitis and many more. So use this gift of nature in your everyday life to rule out health worries.