The History and Background of Coriander
Coriander, also known as cilantro, is an aromatic Mediterranean plant in the parsley family. Coriander leaves and seeds are commonly used in many culinary recipes. A tasty, versatile herb, coriander is prized for its flavor, and eating it provides many health benefits. Both the coriander plant’s leafy green parts and its seeds can be used in food preparation. Many people eat coriander because it’s packed with important vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients.
A Very Long History
Among the world’s oldest herbs and spices for which there are records, coriander seeds were found in ruins from 5000 BC. Plus, coriander was mentioned twice in the Bible. Its scientific name is Coriandrum sativum; it was used in Egypt, India, and Persia for millennia. It is known for its globular, grayish seed-corn that are spicy and have fine striations. The coriandrum sativum plant is a soft, hairless, annual, erect herb. The leaves’ shapes are variable. They’re broadly lobed at the plant’s base, and at the top of the plant, they’re slender and feathery with stems and white or reddish flowers.
Where Coriander Is Found
Coriander is native to the Mediterranean area and the Middle East. However, it grows freely in countries worldwide. It is not unusual to see coriander growing in gardens throughout Africa, the Americas, Asia, and Europe. In the Americas, the green stalks, stems, and leaves of the coriander plant are called cilantro, while only the seeds are referred to as coriander. This can cause a bit of confusion when Americans are speaking with people from elsewhere about coriander and its uses.
The Many Uses of Coriander
Both a spice and an herb, coriander has many different uses. This versatile green herb is used as a condiment and as a garnish for culinary dishes. Coriander is beloved for the fresh, citrusy flavor it adds to any dish. The coriander seeds found in its flowers are used either whole or ground to add an earthy flavor to curry pastes, baked goods, doughs, pickling, meat rubs, soups, or roasted vegetables. It is also used as medicine because of its antidiabetic, cholesterol-lowering, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Coriander Health Benefits and Side Effects
People worldwide use coriander for the many health benefits it provides. Coriander is rich in phytonutrients, phenolic compounds, flavonoids, vitamins A, C, E, and K, calcium, iron, magnesium, and potassium. It is also an excellent source of dietary fiber. Eating coriander helps build strong bones, hair, and teeth, and coriander can also help prevent and treat many ailments and illnesses. However, there are several potential side effects of using coriander. They include:
1. Allergic Reactions
2. Increased Sensitivity to Sunlight
3. Severe Diarrhea
4. Stomach Pain
5. Darkened Skin
7. Lapse of Menstruation
9. Skin Irritation and Inflammation
10. Low Blood Pressure
11. Low Blood Sugar Levels
Pregnant and breast-feeding women are advised to avoid using coriander. People are also advised to stop using coriander two weeks before undergoing surgery because of blood sugar control issues coriandrum sativum can cause.
Health Benefits of Eating Coriander
Coriander is used worldwide for the many health benefits it can provide. Some of the health benefits coriandrum sativum can provide include helping to prevent and treat:
1. Bowel Spasms
3. Upset Stomach
5. Intestinal Gas
6. Loss of Appetite
10. Bacterial and Fungal Infections
11. Joint Pain
14. Excess LDL Bad Cholesterol
15. Heart Disease
16. Digestion Problems
People can enjoy these health benefits, whether they incorporate coriander leaves, coriander seeds, or coriander seed extract into their cooking or baking. The plant is versatile and full of nutrients. It may protect people’s health and internal organs and provide many health benefits. Coriander seeds and coriander seed extract can be used whole or as a ground powder. It enhances the flavor of dishes to which it’s added and provides important health benefits. That is why coriandrum sativum has been used for healing for over 7,000 years.
Coriander Leaves and Coriander Seeds Health Benefits
Many people throughout Europe, Asia, Africa, the Americas, Australia, and the Middle East use coriander for its healing powers. Coriander seeds are a rich source of iron, zinc, copper, and other minerals. It may protect people from minor discomfort and major ailments and illnesses. Studies show 100 grams of dry coriander seeds contain 21 milligrams of vitamin C. That’s 35% of the vitamin’s recommended dietary allowance.
Research confirms fresh leaves from the coriandrum sativum plant have antioxidants and other cholesterol-fighting facets that treat high blood pressure and heart disease.
Helps Lower Cholesterol Levels
Coriander contains ascorbic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid, oleic acid, and stearic acid. These acids can reduce blood cholesterol levels. The acids reduce LDL bad cholesterol in vein and arterial walls and help prevent heart disease. Coriander also helps raise the body’s HDL healthy cholesterol and reduces heart disease and cardiovascular problems. A Journal of Environmental Biology published study shows coriander seeds decrease blood cholesterol and triglycerides levels.
Helps Reduce Blood Pressure
A recent Journal of Ethnopharmacology study done on patients with hypertension shows ingest the parsley cousin coriander reduced their blood pressure. The interaction of the central and peripheral nervous system neurotransmitter cholinergic and the calcium ions in coriander seed extract relaxes blood vessel tension. That interaction reduces the chances of patients experiencing cardiovascular conditions like heart disease and strokes.
Helps Build Bone Strength
Calcium is essential for protecting bone strength, and coriander is a great source of calcium. Plus, the minerals in coriander leaves and seeds are essential components for improving bone durability and regrowth. The calcium in the coriandrum sativum plant helps prevent bone degradation commonly associated with osteoporosis. The coriander leaves in the center of the coriandrum sativum plant are very high in calcium, improving bone health. Regularly ingesting coriander can help keep bones strong and healthy.
Can Help Prevent Anemia
Coriander contains lots of iron. Adding it to the diet of people suffering from anemia can help a great deal. Studies show when people have low iron, they can experience shortness of breath, extreme fatigue, heart palpitations, and brain fog. Research shows adding coriander leaves or seeds to the diet of people with low iron helps increase their strength and energy, promote healthy bones, and help their organs to function efficiently and effectively. It also may protect and strengthen the organs, help balance blood sugar levels and improve heart health and brain clarity.
Coriander May Protect the Body in Many Ways
There are many ways coriander may protect the body, brain, heart, skin, and organs. Studies show it can protect against the causes of dangerous foodborne illness salmonella. The sativum plant has high levels of the natural compound dodecanal, which is much more powerful than antibiotics for treating salmonella-based illnesses. One study suggests coriander added to food or tea can protect against food poisoning because sativum plant extracts flush aluminum, arsenic, cadmium, lead, mercury, and other poisonous heavy metals out of the body. Another study in India found sativum plant extracts protect the body, brain, and heart from lead-induced oxidative stress.
Other Sativum Plant Extract Benefits
Cilantro and other sativum plant extracts containing borneol, linalool, and other essential oils aid digestion, stave off diarrhea, prevent nausea, vomiting, and other stomach disorders. An Avicenna Journal of Phytomedicine study found cilantro, coriander, and other sativum plant derivatives can help treat anorexia and other eating disorders, prevent mouth ulcers, and have anti-histamine properties strong enough to help manage seasonal allergies and allergic reactions to food, tea, insects, and plants.
Several studies have shown coriander sativum plant extracts can help ward off problems with LDL bad cholesterol and blood sugar.
Side Effects Of Coriandrum Sativum
While the antioxidants in cilantro help control infections, cholesterol, heart disease, and high blood pressure, research studies have shown one of its side effects is its impact on blood sugar. The side effects of using cilantro in food or herbal tea are low blood sugar levels. Although research study after research study shows coriander leaves and seeds are safe when used in the appropriate food or medicinal amounts, the potential for side effects still exists. Among the side effects is an allergic reaction to the plant touching the skin, leading to skin irritation and inflammation.
Sun Sensitivity Is One Of The Side Effects
One side effect some people experience when they use cilantro is an increased sensitivity to direct sunlight. More than one research study has shown this increased sensitivity to sunlight might put some people at greater risk for suffering sunburns and, in some cases, even skin cancer. To protect themselves from these potentially painful and dangerous side effects, people who develop the increased sensitivity are advised to avoid sunlight as much as possible. Research has shown shielding their skin by wearing sunblock as well as protective clothing when going outside helps.
Along with blood sugar level issues, some people have allergic reactions to the leaves, seeds and other parts of the coriandrum sativum plants. People allergic to aniseed, caraway, dill, fennel, mugwort, or similar plants are often allergic to this member of the parsley family. A very small number of people who use herbal food preparations with coriander report suffering depression, dehydration, stomach pain, severe diarrhea, a lapse of menstruation, and darkened skin. It can also lower the blood sugar level of diabetics and make blood pressure dangerously low in people with low blood pressure.
Summary and Review
Coriander has an international reputation for being a healing herb and spice that’s thousands of years old. Some breast-feeding women even use coriander to increase the volume of their milk flow. Cilantro leaves taste very different than coriander seeds, and one cannot be substituted for the other in recipes. Round and tannish brown, the seeds have a slightly spicy, earthy, sweet flavor and a floral aroma when toasted. The leaves have a refreshing, tart flavor with citrus overtones. Special attention should be paid to recipe instruction to determine whether coriander leaves or seeds should be used.
Cooking with Coriander
Coriander is used differently from cilantro because they have completely different flavors and textures. Coriander seeds are toasted and ground before being used as a spice when cooking things like curry and pastries, and other baked goods. Cilantro is used as a garnish, or it can be used to add flavor to foods like tacos, burritos, marinades, soup, fresh tomato salsas, lentils, cold pasta salads, stir-fry, Thai noodle dishes, and Asian, Indian, and Middle Eastern dishes like curries and masalas late in the process of preparing them. People also purée coriander with lemon juice, garlic, coconut milk, and peanuts to make an herbal paste. Sometimes parsley is substituted for coriander for people with sensitive palettes.
Contains Lots of Antioxidants
Coriander, used as a ‘healing herb’ worldwide, contains powerful antioxidants. These antioxidants help the body remove toxic heavy metals and other free radicals. The antioxidants include vitamins A and C, terpinene, quercetin, tocopherols, and manganese.
They help lower blood sugar, increase insulin release, boost the immune system, prevent cellular damage, and fight inflammation. Coriander has neuroprotective, anti-cancer, anti-inflammatory effects benefiting heart and brain health, lower LDL bad cholesterol, and increase HDL good cholesterol. Its anti-inflammatory effects may help prevent and treat brain ailments like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, and multiple sclerosis, protect against nerve-cell damage, and improve memory.
Benefits and Potential Side Effects
Coriandrum sativum contains key antimicrobial compounds that fight hospital-acquired infections, foodborne illnesses, and urinary tract infections. Plus, it may protect skin from mild rashes like dermatitis, accelerated aging, and damage caused by UV B radiation. Coriander leaf juice can treat acne, dryness, oiliness, and pigmentation. However, some people experience allergic reactions, irritation, inflammation, and increased sensitivity to direct sunshine. Diabetics and people with low blood pressure should be careful using coriander because of its impact on blood sugar and pressure.