12 Amazing Benefits of Cilantro or Coriander

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated - Medically reviewed by Vanessa Voltolina (MS, RD)

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The health benefits of coriander, also called cilantro, include its use in the treatment of skin inflammation, high cholesterol levels, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, anemia, and indigestion. Cilantro is also useful for menstrual disorders, smallpox, conjunctivitis, skin disorders, and blood sugar disorders, while also benefiting vision.

What is Coriander?

Coriander is an herb that is extensively used around the world as a condiment, garnish, or decoration on culinary dishes. It is commonly known as ‘dhaniya’ in the Indian Subcontinent and cilantro in America and some parts of Europe. Its scientific name is Coriandrum sativum L. Its leaves and fruits have a recognizable and pleasant aroma and are commonly used raw or dried in cooking.

Coriander Nutrition Facts

Unbeknownst to many people, coriander is packed with fiber, magnesium, manganese, protein, and iron, making it beneficial for health. It has eleven components of essential oils and six types of acids, including ascorbic acid or vitamin C, each having a number of beneficial properties. According to the USDA National Nutrient Database, coriander contains a number of vitamins and minerals.

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8 Amazing Benefits Of Cilantro or Coriander | Organic Facts

Health Benefits of Coriander

Health benefits of coriander include:

Anticancer Potential

The observations from a 2019 study published in the Journal of Cellular Biochemistry show that coriander extracts help to inhibit cell invasion and migration. Although the research is still not concluding with a clear result, it has surely paved the way for more effects of coriander on prostate cancer.

Reduces Skin Inflammation

Cineole–one of the 11 components of the essential oils–as well as linoleic acid, are both present in coriander. They possess antirheumatic and antiarthritic properties, helping to reduce the swelling that is caused by these two conditions.

In a study published in the Journal of the German Society of Dermatology, researchers have also noted the anti-inflammatory properties of cilantro. For conditions such as swelling due to kidney malfunction or anemia, cilantro can be effective in inducing urination to release of excess water from the body. This reduction in skin inflammation leads to a reduction in discomfort and an improvement in the appearance of the skin.

Nutrition Facts

Coriander (cilantro) leaves, raw
Serving Size :
Water [g]92.21
Energy [kcal]23
Energy [kJ]95
Protein [g]2.13
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.52
Ash [g]1.47
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]3.67
Fiber, total dietary [g]2.8
Sugars, total including NLEA [g]0.87
Calcium, Ca [mg]67
Iron, Fe [mg]1.77
Magnesium, Mg [mg]26
Phosphorus, P [mg]48
Potassium, K [mg]521
Sodium, Na [mg]46
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.5
Copper, Cu [mg]0.23
Manganese, Mn [mg]0.43
Selenium, Se [µg]0.9
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]27
Thiamin [mg]0.07
Riboflavin [mg]0.16
Niacin [mg]1.11
Pantothenic acid [mg]0.57
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.15
Folate, total [µg]62
Folate, food [µg]62
Folate, DFE [µg]62
Choline, total [mg]12.8
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]337
Carotene, beta [µg]3930
Carotene, alpha [µg]36
Cryptoxanthin, beta [µg]202
Vitamin A, IU [IU]6748
Lutein + zeaxanthin [µg]865
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]2.5
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]310
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.01
16:0 [g]0.01
18:0 [g]0
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.28
16:1 [g]0
18:1 [g]0.27
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.04
18:2 [g]0.04
Phytosterols [mg]5
Stigmasterol [mg]3
Beta-sitosterol [mg]2
Sources include : USDA

Relieves Skin Disorders

The disinfectant, detoxifying, antiseptic, antifungal, and antioxidant properties of coriander are ideal for clearing up skin disorders such as eczema, dryness, and fungal infections. The coriander oil has also been patented for its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties by a physician at University Medical Center in Freiburg, Germany.

Lowers Cholesterol Levels

Coriander seeds contain beneficial acids like linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C). These compounds are very effective in reducing cholesterol levels in the blood, according to the journal Environmental Biology. They also reduce the level of bad LDL cholesterol deposition along the inner walls of the arteries and veins, which can lead to serious cardiovascular diseases such as heart attacks, atherosclerosis, and strokes. More importantly, this herb helps to raise the levels of “good” or HDL cholesterol, which works as a preventative line of defense against a number of dangerous conditions.

Treats Diarrhea

The essential oils found in coriander contain components, such as borneol and linalool, which aid in digestion, proper functioning of the liver, and bonding of bowels.

A study published in Ethnobotanical Leaflets says it is also helpful in relieving diarrhea caused by microbial and fungal actions since components like cineole, borneol, limonene, alpha-pinene, and beta-phellandrene all have antibacterial effects.

Coriander is also increasingly popular as an at-home treatment for the prevention of nausea, vomiting, and stomach disorders. Its wealth of bioactive compounds means that new health benefits are always being discovered in this power-packed plant.

In addition to these health benefits, fresh coriander leaves are excellent appetizers to get your bowels prepared for a large meal!

A bunch of fresh coriander leaves on a wooden table

A bunch of fresh coriander leaves Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Regulates Blood Pressure

Research in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology suggests that coriander positively helps lower blood pressure. By enhancing the interaction of calcium ions and acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter in the peripheral and central nervous system, relaxes blood vessel tension, thereby reducing the chances of a number of cardiovascular conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.

Treats Ulcers

Coriander oral extracts and essential oil have shown potential in treating colon inflammation. This 2016 study has shown a ray of hope for more research ahead.

Salmonella Protection

Salmonella is one of the most dangerous causes of foodborne illnesses in the world, so any natural way to protect yourself against it is very important. Coriander has unusually high levels of dodecenal, a natural compound that is actually twice as powerful an antibiotic as the leading treatment for salmonella-based illness. This is confirmed by a study from the University of California at Berkeley.

Improves Bone Health

As a rich source of calcium, it is of great value for people who want to protect their bones. Calcium and other essential minerals found in coriander may help with are integral components of bone regrowth and durability, as well as protect against osteoporosis. Adding even a small amount of coriander to your diet can help keep your bones healthy and strong for years to come.

Aids in Digestion

Due to the rich aroma of its essential oils, coriander helps in the proper secretion of enzymes and digestive juices in the stomach; thereby, this stimulates digestion and peristaltic motion. It is also helpful in reducing the symptoms of anorexia. Besides the pleasant aroma of coriander, it has certain stimulatory qualities, derived from its minerals. Moreover, the neurotransmitters are stimulated when it is ingested.

Studies have shown that dyspepsia (indigestion) is reduced if coriander is regularly added to the diet. For small children who have a higher chance of developing abdominal colic than adults, small amounts of coriander in their diet can quickly solve the issue!

Eye Care

Coriander is loaded with antioxidants and minerals, all of which can be beneficial to preventing vision disorders, macular degeneration, and reducing strain and stress on the eyes. There is also beta-carotene in the leaves, which prevents a number of other diseases that affect the eye and can even reverse the effects of vision degradation in aging patients.

Coriander is a very good disinfectant with and has antimicrobial properties that may be protective against contagious diseases like conjunctivitis. Coriander oil is used extensively in preparing a number of eye care products.

Manages Diabetes

A study published in the journal Food Chemistry, due to the stimulating effect of coriander on the endocrine glands, the secretion of insulin is increased from the pancreas which subsequently increases the insulin level in the blood. This regulates the proper assimilation and absorption of sugar and the resulting drops in the blood sugar level. This property is extremely beneficial for patients who suffer from diabetes and other related conditions. It can help lower their chances of dangerous spikes and drops in the blood sugar levels and to ensure other normal metabolic functions as well.

Word of Caution: There have been very few dangers associated with coriander. However, as with almost any food, it is important to note an allergic reaction to the skin. One unusual side effect is that some patients complain that excessive coriander intake makes them more sensitive to sunlight and more susceptible to sunburn. Sunburns may increase the risk of skin cancer over the long term.

Pregnant women may need to refrain from consuming coriander until more established research is done. It is best to be safe, so speak with a doctor before adding coriander to your diet, and pay attention to the response your body generates!

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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