Coriander, Coriandrum sativum, often known as Cilantro, Parsley and Dhanya in the common household is used as a dressing on food items from salads to pulses every day.
Chefs and cooks like coriander as it brings freshness and exotic flavor to the food. But most of them are unaware of the medicinal properties and nutritional values of coriander leaves. The essential oils in coriander make them aromatic and give a different taste, but modern science is trying to explore the benefits of this herb on our health.
‘Some writers say that the leaves (coriander) are used for seasoning, but this statement seems odd, as all the green parts of the plant exhale a very strong odor of the wood-bug, whence the Greek name of the plant’ – Vilmorin-Andrieux
Uses in Ancient History
Medicine is of all the Arts the noblest; but, owing to the ignorance of those who practice it, and of those who, inconsiderately, formal judgment of them, it is at present behind all the arts. – Hippocrates
Modern science might have just started to explore the benefits of coriander, but it has already been a major part of ancient medicine. Coriander was widely used not only in India but also in ancient Egypt, Rome, and Greece. Hippocrates too recommended coriander as a medicine. But with the diversity of these cultures, the uses of coriander also varied. Coriander seeds were found in the tombs of Egyptian Pharoah Ramses II. When the Bronze Age invaders introduced coriander to Britain, the British used them with cumin and vinegar to preserve meat, which shows the antibacterial properties of coriander. In the medieval Renaissance period, coriander was thought to be an aphrodisiac and was used to make love potions for the royal family. The Chinese believed that consuming coriander seeds could grant immortality.
Nutritional Values of Coriander
Growing coriander leaves need no extra shelter or complications. Few seeds in a small area of your backyard and a little care can easily fulfill your daily needs. A bunch of coriander leaves that are grown in the kitchen garden provides the following nutrients (%RDA/100g) –
* 11% of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine)
* 45% of vitamin C
* 15% of folates
* 225% of vitamin A
* 258% of vitamin K
* 18% of manganese
* 22% of iron
Since coriander leaves and seeds are loaded with nutrients, it is important that pregnant women should consult their doctors before consuming corianders during their pregnancy.
Benefits of Coriander on Health
* Coriander leaves contain no cholesterol, but are rich in antioxidants and are a good source of dietary fibers. These characteristics help them to reduce LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’ and help them to increase HDL or the ‘good cholesterol’ levels in the blood.
* The leaves and seeds are rich in many essential volatile oils such as borneol, linalool, cineole, terpineol, cymene, dipentene, phellandrene, pinene, and terpinolene.
* The essential oils aid in the digestion and peristaltic movement.
* The antioxidants present in the leaves are polyphenolic flavonoids such as quercetin, kaempferol, rhamnetin, and apigenin.
* Coriander leaves are also a powerful natural cleansing agent. They have been effectively used to cleanse heavy metals and toxic agents from the body.
* The herb is also a good source of minerals like calcium, potassium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.
* Corianders are also rich in vital vitamins such as folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin-A, beta-carotene, vitamin-C that are essential for good health.
* Vitamin-C is a powerful natural antioxidant and coriander provides 30% of the daily recommended levels of Vitamin-C.
* Coriander is one of the richest sources of vitamin-K and provides about 258% of the daily recommended levels. Vitamin-K has a strong role in the bone mass building by promoting osteoporotic activity in the bones.
* Coriander has also a major role in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting the neuronal damage in their brain.
* The coriander seed oil was used in the ancient medicine as an analgesic, aphrodisiacs, anti-spasmodic, deodorant, digestive, fungicidal, stimulant and stomachic.
* The anti-bacterial property of coriander helps against bacterial infection from Salmonella, which is majorly present in food items.
* They also help to protect against urinary tract infections.
* It helps reduce the feeling of nausea and vomiting.
* It also helps to ease hormonal mood swings associated with menstruation in women and helps to reduce menstrual cramps.
* Coriander also gives relief from diarrhea, especially caused by the fungal infections.
* It helps alcoholics to repair their failed liver due to heavy alcohol consumption.
* The antioxidants present in coriander leaves are a best remedy to wash out toxins from the body after smoking and helps to repair tissue damage in the lungs.
* The disinfectants present in coriander leaves helps to detoxify the body.
* It helps diabetic patients to maintain healthy levels of insulin in the blood and lower blood sugar.
* Coriander helps ease conjunctivitis, eye-aging, macular degeneration and other stresses of the eyes.
Coriander can be taken as a juice, in medicinal tea, or can be used for garnishing dishes and food; it remains a strong source of vital nutrients in any way and medium. The beautiful green leaves of coriander just don’t bring aroma to the dishes, but also bring good health.