Coriander leaves and seeds were already known in antiquity thanks to their therapeutic properties. Today, even scientific research recognizes its health benefits, let’s see what they are
The coriander plant, scientific name Coriandrum sativum, is an annual herbaceous plant also known as Cilantro and belongs to the Apiece /Umbelliferae family.
The Latin word coriandrum derives from the Greek and means similar to the bug. This is due to the fact that the unripe fruits and the leaves of the coriander give off an unpleasant smell that recalls that of the bedbugs.
- Chemical Composition
- Digestive Properties
- Weight Control
- Menstrual Cycle
- Coriander in the Kitchen
The plant is native to the East, has an erect stem and has small white flowers. The parts used are above all the fruits that grow at the beginning of the summer. One of its best known properties is the digestive one, in fact for centuries the spice has been used for this purpose. In this regard there are written tests that testify to its use as early as 5000 b.C.
The spice and its digestive properties are mentioned in the Sanskrit writings, in the Old Testament, in the ancient Egyptian papyrus and in the writings of the Greek physician Hippocrates.
Traditionally, both the seeds and the aerial parts of coriander are used for food purposes. The fresh leaves are used as a flavoring agent and the dried seeds are used as a spice in food preparation.
|Chemical composition for 100 grams of seeds and fresh coriander leaves|
Source: USDA Database
Its essential oil contains from 60 to 70% of linalool, ß-pinene, limonene, p-cymene, carvone, geraniol, camphor, borneol, camphene, terpinene and geranicetato. It also contains coumarins, flavonoids and organic acids.
100 grams of fresh leaves have a caloric intake of 23 kcal. The same quantity of seeds instead provides 298 kcal.
Coriander: Properties and Benefits
Both the leaves and the seeds contain antioxidants. Research confirms that these compounds have anti-inflammatory properties. Their benefits are related to the fact that they are able to counteract the harmful effects of free radicals. ( 7 )
A 2010 animal study suggests that coriander extract slows down skin aging which is often caused by free radicals. ( 8 )
A test tube study instead found that the antioxidants present in the seeds reduce inflammation and block the growth of cancer cells in the stomach, prostate, breast, lungs and colon. ( 9 )
The neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, brain tumors, multiple sclerosis and meningitis are associated with chronic inflammation. An American study found that the intake of some spices, including coriander, have anti-inflammatory properties and prevent neurodegenerative diseases. ( 10 )
Coriander seeds have different therapeutic properties: they promote digestion, help eliminate intestinal gas and bring benefits in case of intestinal cramps.
A study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences examined a group of people with irritable bowel syndrome. After 8 weeks of taking a coriander preparation, the study participants found a reduction in pain and symptoms associated with this disease. ( 11 )
According to studies his seeds added to the dishes accelerate and improve the digestive process. ( 12 )
Nausea and Diarrhea
It is a good means of prevention for nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. This characteristic is due to the presence of constituents such as borneol and linalool.
Scientific studies published in 2011 in the Journal of Medical Microbiology attribute to the essential oil of coriander antibacterial properties.
Other studies in test tubes attribute to the compounds present in the fresh leaves of this plant useful properties to fight infections. ( 13 )
A test tube study showed that the compounds in the leaves help fight food- borne infections. The spice has proved particularly effective against the bacterium Salmonella enterica. ( 14 )
Another test tube study suggests that coriander seeds fight the bacteria that cause urinary tract infections. ( 15 )
All the aforementioned researches are still in an experimental phase, so further study is needed to make this property official.
Essential oil has disinfectant properties that protect the eyes from diseases such as conjunctivitis. It is no coincidence that coriander essential oil is one of the components of different eye care products.
For external use, thanks to the presence of cineol and linoleic acid, it reduces pain in case of rheumatism. It also has useful properties to eliminate the swelling resulting from this disease. When added to the foot baths it has a relaxing effect and eliminates swelling of the feet.
Protects the Heart
The World Health Organization informs us that heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide. ( 16 )
A 2010 study found that coriander extract can reduce blood clotting. This spice property can actually reduce the risk of heart disease. ( 19 )
Research on animals has also found that seed extract can reduce blood pressure. The researchers found that the animals that were given the extract expelled more water and salt through the urine. ( 20 )
Studies have shown that introducing this spice into the diet can reduce the levels of bad cholesterol in the blood. Animal experiments have shown that coriander seeds significantly reduce bad cholesterol (LDL) and increase good cholesterol (HDL). ( 21 )
It appears that this plant contains a high percentage of a substance called dodecenal. The compound would be able to protect the body from this disease.
According to Ayurvedic medicine the decoction of seeds reduces the levels of fatty compounds present in the blood. Research suggests that sterols in coriander leaves and seeds inhibit cholesterol absorption in food. This property has a beneficial influence on maintaining body weight. ( 22 )
Its seeds can help women to have a healthy and regular cycle. Their intake helps to regulate the function of the endocrine glands and the hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle. They can also help reduce swelling, cramps and pain during the cycle. In Ayurvedic medicine this spice is used regularly to regulate the menstrual cycle. ( 23 )
Vitamin C and vitamin A have antioxidant properties and protect the eyes from eye degeneration in older people. Also, the beta-carotene present in the leaves of the coriander brings benefits to the eye.
As we know and as research confirms, high blood sugar levels are a risk factor for type 2 diabetes. Both the leaves and the seeds, according to recent studies, seem to be able to reduce blood sugar levels. ( 24, 25 )
In an animal test, the researchers found that those fed coriander seeds had lower blood sugar levels. ( 26 )
In another study conducted on diabetic rats it was found that the leaves are as effective in reducing blood sugar levels as a drug for diabetes. ( 27 )
Like all foods of plant origin, it can cause allergy problems in sensitive people.
Cases have been found, in the face of an excessive intake of coriander, of people who have complained that the skin is too sensitive to exposure to sunlight.
Coriander in the Kitchen
Its use in the kitchen is widespread in all parts of the world, while Italy is one of the countries in which it is rarely used.
Coriander is therefore mainly a spice that is also used to flavor meat, fish, vegetables but not only, it is also used to flavor beers, sugar-coated candies and biscuits.
One of the main uses of its seeds is the preparation of sausages such as mortadella and sausages. In the east, ground seeds are one of the ingredients of curry whereas in other countries the seeds are used to flavor bread and sweets.
Whole seeds, often mistaken for pepper , are also used to flavor gin and other liqueurs.
The leaves are used instead of parsley to flavor various dishes, which is why coriander is also known as Chinese parsley.
In Thailand instead, the roots, combined with garlic and pepper, are used for the preparation of a characteristic seasoning of the place.
Lastly, the consumption of seeds is particularly indicated for individuals suffering from celiac disease because they do not contain gluten.
The Roman writer Pliny the Elder claimed that some seeds placed under the pillow had the property of curing some evils such as headaches.
The plant was introduced into our continent by the Egyptians who already in ancient times put their seeds in wine to flavor it but not only.
The seeds were also found inside Egyptian tombs to signify the importance that was given to them with regard to therapeutic properties.
The seeds of coriander ranging integers stored in the dark, in glass jars with airtight. Once ground they do not retain their properties for a long time, so it is better to grind them at the time.
The fennel does not bear the closeness of the coriander in the garden, so if you decide to sow it keep the two plants far from each other.
It can also be grown in pots. When the leaves tend to become yellow that is the signal that it’s time to collect the seeds.
Its use dates back more than 5.000 years and is also mentioned in the Bible in the book of Exodus.
Maybe Not Everyone Knows That
In Chinese medicine coriander was used in the treatment of food poisoning.
The aroma of coriander is very special and pungent, which is why it is not tolerated by many people.
The Roman army took it to Europe where it was used to preserve meat while the Chinese believed that it would neutralize food poisoning.
Coriander: Properties and Benefits
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