Coriander or coriander sativum is a herb from the Apiaceae family. It is also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley. Coriander is referred to as ‘kusthumbari’ or ‘dhanayaka’ in Sanskrit, ‘dhaniya’ in Hindi and ‘dhane’ in Bengali.
It is a perennial herb with a taproot and stems branching to an average height of 20-70 cm. The fresh leaves of this plant are better known as cilantro, whereas the seeds are widely popular as coriander seeds. The flowers are white or light pink in colour with petals pointing away from the centre.
Coriander plant is enriched with limpnene, p-cymene, borneol, camphor, coriandrin, geraniol, flavonoids, α-pinene, γ-terpinene and essential oils. Its seeds, leaves, flower and fruit are rich in diuretic, anti-convulsant, anti-diabetic, anti-mutagenic, anti-microbial and anthelmintic property. The physical properties, chemical composition and bioactivity make it a very useful herb.
Coriander is also rich in compounds such as vitamins, minerals, carotenoids, and polyphenols. All parts of the plant can be used due to their edible nature, but the most used parts of this plant are fresh leaves and dried seeds. It is widely used for enhancing the taste of the food. The coriander powder and seeds can also be categorised as one of the culinary spices of India. The coriander leaves are mostly used for preparing appetizers like chutneys, sauces, curries, pickling sausages, etc.
Benefits of Coriander
- Improves digestion: The digestive system can be strengthened with the help of coriander. The aroma present in coriander is due to the essential oil present in it. This essential oil is rich in stimulatory qualities that stimulate secretion of enzymes and digestive juices which in turn improve digestion.
- Regulates blood pressure: Coriander has shown considerable effect on patients with blood pressure problems. It helps in reducing high blood pressure which further prevents heart attacks and strokes.
- Effective in mouth ulcers: Ulcers can cause terrible pain in the mouth that lasts for over a week. Coriander contains citronellol, a compound that has wonderful healing abilities. The anti-microbial action keeps the bad bacteria away and helps in quick healing of ulcers. It also prevents bad breath and maintains dental health.
- Anti-allergic effect: Researches state that coriander has strong anti-allergic effect that makes it good for use in allergic reactions. Allergies associated with plants, food and insects can be helped with the use of essential oil found in coriander. It controls inflammation and pain in such conditions.
- Serves as a natural diuretic: Coriander seeds are diuretic in nature and can help a lot with water retention. These seeds also work well in cystitis and dysuria. The infections associated with urinary tract can also be helped with this amazing herb.
- Anti-diabetic effect: Coriander is highly beneficial for diabetic patients. It has a considerable effect on obesity. This herb significantly decreases the plasma glucose which helps in controlling diabetes.
- Helpful in anaemia: Anaemia is a condition characterised by the low iron content in the blood. Coriander leaves are a rich source of iron. These leaves help in improving the iron content, increasing energy and enhancing bone health.