Coriander – It’s Health, Nutritional & Other Benefits
Coriander – It’s Health & Nutritional Benefits
I’m guessing you have no idea just how good Coriander is for you. I was certainly unaware until I developed a taste for it and started researching the benefits of this versatile herb.
Part of the carrot family Coriander (Coriandrum Sativum) is a flat leaved herb similar in appearance to flat leaved parsley which is widely used in European cookery. It is known in some parts of the world as Cilantro, Dhania or Chinese or Sheep’s Parsley. All parts of the plant are edible but the most commonly used parts are the leaves and seeds. The roots are often used in Thai and Indian cookery as flavouring in curry pastes and soups. The aromatic leaves are widely used as a garnish or decoration in many dishes and the flavour is earthy and mildly citrus-like. The seeds are small and round and when dried become more fragrant the longer they are kept. They are often crushed or powdered and used in curries.
An Italian friend I have swears by using the crushed seeds in home-made ice-cream! I have yet to sample it.
I use the leaves chopped up in Potato Salad and rice recipes. They are also a nice addition to a green salad.
Vitamins & Minerals
This amazing herb contains vitamins A, B1 (Thiamin), B2 (Riboflavin), B3 (Niacin), B6, B9 (Folic Acid), C and K in varying quantities.
Calcium, potassium, iron, magnesium, phosphor and zinc are also present.
I was surprised to find that the ripe seeds of this green leafy herb have 11 components which make up its essential oil. The main ones are Linalool, Borneol, Cineole, Terpineol, Phellandrene, Terpinolene, Dipentrene and Pinene.
How to use
An oil burner or vaporiser can be used. The oil can also be diluted in the bath or massaged into the skin as part of a cream or lotion or diluted with carrier oil such as almond, apricot, hazelnut, olive or macadamia.
Coriander oil can be useful for treating migraine, tension, mental fatigue and nervous debility. It is renowned for easing the pain of rheumatism and arthritis and can relieve muscle spasms. Influenza and cold symptoms are noted to be much improved with the usage of coriander oil. It also acts as a general cleanser of the digestive system and rids it of waste and toxins. The oil has a warming effect on the stomach and is useful for relieving cramps and wind after over-indulgence.
General Health Benefits of Coriander
Coriander is an anti-helmintic (drug used to treat parasitic infestations such as hookworm). It is also known for having anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. It has been reported to benefit the nervous system and to have the ability to stimulate memory.
The health benefits of coriander include the treatment of the following conditions:- Acne, anaemia, blood sugar disorders, blood clotting, conjunctivitis, diarrhoea, digestion, high cholesterol levels, menstrual disorders, mouth ulcers, skin disorders and swellings.
Acne: A combination of coriander juice and turmeric can be used to good effect in treating acne and blackheads. Apply it for 20 minutes and then wash your face.
Anaemia: Coriander is relatively high in iron. Since in anaemia the body is deficient in iron the consumption of coriander can help to boost iron levels.
Anxiety:The herb coriander can be successfully used in treating anxiety due to its sedative and anxiolytic effects. It is also useful for depression and panic attacks
Blood Sugar: Coriander has been found to suppress hyperglycaemia by stimulating the endocrine glands which increases the secretion of insulin from the pancreas. The result of this is to boost the level of insulin in the blood, which causes the sugar levels to fall. The British Journal of Nutrition has documented the insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity of Coriander. In traditional medicine it is used in the treatment of Type II Diabetes.
As a type II diabetic I do wonder whether my recent desire to eat lots of coriander has something to do with its healthful properties
Blood Clotting: Due to the good concentration of Vitamin K in Coriander; it helps with blood coagulation and also has the added benefit of keeping the bones strong and healthy.
Cholesterol Levels: The cholesterol levels in the blood and the deposits of cholesterol in arteries and veins are lowered by the acids which are present in Coriander. Ascorbic (Vit C), linoleic, palmitic, stearic acids all help to produce this effect
Conjunctivitis: Coriander is a very good disinfectant and has anti microbial properties which protect the eyes from contagious diseases like conjunctivitis. It also contains many anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals. When the herb is eaten in sufficient quantity (juiced along with carrots is an easy way) it can help to prevent aging of the eye and macular degeneration.
Depression: See Anxiety
Diarrhoea: The herb Coriander is helpful because of its components, Limonene, Alpha-pinene, Borneol and Cineole having anti-bacterial properties
Digestion: An excellent appetiser and an aid to treating anorexia. Coriander also stimulates digestion by helping ensure the proper secretion of digestive juices. Great for indigestion!
Eyewash: To prepare a soothing eyewash to cleanse and ease the pain of conjunctivitis take 1 cup water and 1 tsp.coriander seeds. Add the seeds to the water and bring to the boil; then allow to cool before using with an eyebath.
Headache: Sleep with a few Coriander leaves on your pillow or grind up the leaves to make a paste. Apply this to your forehead and it may help to alleviate your pain.
ImmunityBooster: Eat coriander regularly and boost your overall immunity due to the anti-oxidants, fibre, potassium and magnesium.
Kidney Cleanser: Boil up two cups of Coriander leaves in two cups of water for 8 minutes then strain the liquid into a clean container and keep in fridge. Drink a cup a day to keep the kidneys cleansed and help prevent kidney stones.
Menstrual Cycle Disorders: Due to its stimulating nature Coriander helps the endocrine glands regulate hormone secretions, thereby inducing regular menstrual cycles in Amenorrhea. It also has the added effect of reducing period pains.
Moles: Grind up Coriander leaves to a fine paste and cover the mole with it. There are reports of moles disappearing within a few days.
Mouth Ulcers: Coriander has antiseptic properties thanks to Citronelol; a component of essential oil present in the herb. Other components have healing and anti-microbial effects. Another bonus is that they freshen the breath.
Panic Attack: See Anxiety
Skin Disorders: Skin complaints such as fungal infections, eczema and dry, flaking skin are helped by the antiseptic, anti-fungal and disinfectant properties present in this versatile herb.
Swellings: Coriander has been found to draw out excess water from the body by excretion so it can be useful to a degree for some cases of water-retention due to kidney disorders. Cineole and linoleic acid possess anti-rheumatic and anti-arthritic properties and this can reduce swelling associated with these conditions. It can be used in compresses on swollen and aching joints.
Other benefits: Coriander also helps cure ulcers. It has expectorant properties so is useful in coughs and colds. It protects and soothes the liver, is anti-histaminic, anti-carcinogenic, anti-inflammatory and anti-convulsant. Coriander is believed to be a natural aphrodisiac and combined with other herbs has been used in Ayurvedic medicine to enhance libido.
Side Effects: As with all substances, allergic reactions are possible in susceptible persons. Coriander in doses higher than would be used in culinary levels should be used with caution. Diabetics, in particular those who take medication should monitor carefully their blood glucose levels as Coriander can lower blood sugar. If taken in high dosage for a prolonged period has been reported to produce liver damage. Reported side effects with over dosage include: Skin rash and irritation, breathing problems and/or tightness and pain in chest or throat.
- As an effective remedy for aphids and spider mites in the greenhouse or garden. Boil up the leaves and root with equal parts of water and coconut oil. When cool, strain and spray on affected plants.
- As an aid to detoxification from Mercury in amalgam dental fillings. It works through natural excretory means.
Coriander is very good for stopping or slowing down hair loss.
Steep a couple of handfuls of coriander leaves in hot water and when cooled apply to the hair. Wrap in a towel and leave for an hour before rinsing.
You either love it or hate it!
Don't worry if you can't bear the taste of Coriander. There are many people who think it tastes of soap powder. They can't help it poor things. It is genetic and that's official. It's all to do with your olfactory receptor genes which influence your sense of smell. Thankfully, I don't have those kind of genes.
Coriander seeds are used in the distilling process of gin. They are added for flavour along with other herbs and juniper berries. For those of you who love Coriander - Some good brands containing coriander seed which can actually be tasted, are:
- Bombay Original London Dry
- Portobello Road
- Little Bird
- Plymouth English
- Beefeater 24
- Gilpin's Westmorland Extra Dry
- Tanqueray No 10
© Susan Bailey 2012 All Rights Reserved