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

Coriander Nutrition Facts

Its uses in global food preparation are only the tip of the iceberg. 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.

Watch Video: 8 Amazing Benefits Of Cilantro or Coriander

Health Benefits of Coriander

Health benefits of coriander include:

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
Protein [g]2.13
Total lipid (fat) [g]0.52
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]3.67
Fiber, total dietary [g]2.8
Sugars, total [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
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]27
Thiamin [mg]0.07
Riboflavin [mg]0.16
Niacin [mg]1.11
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0.15
Folate, DFE [µg]62
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]337
Vitamin A, IU [IU]6748
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]2.5
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]310
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]0.01
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]0.28
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]0.04
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
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

The acids present in coriander, like linoleic acid, oleic acid, palmitic acid, stearic acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin C) 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 components of 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

Regulates Blood Pressure

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

Treats Mouth Ulcers

Citronellol, a component of essential oils in coriander, is an excellent antiseptic. Additionally, other components have antimicrobial and healing effects which keep wounds and ulcers in the mouth from worsening. They help speed up the healing process of ulcers and also prevent bad breath. Although not commonly used in mainstream products, coriander is often used as an antiseptic component in all-natural brands of toothpaste. In fact, before the invention of toothpaste, people would chew on coriander seeds to reduce bad breath!

Anti-allergic Properties

Multiple studies have shown coriander to have strong anti-histamine properties that can reduce the uncomfortable effects of seasonal allergies and hay fever (rhinitis). Its oil can also be used to reduce allergic reactions that are caused due to contact with plants, insects, food, and other substances. Internally, it can ward off anaphylaxis, hives, and dangerous swelling of the throat and glands.

Note: If you are prone to anaphylaxis or dangerous swelling from an allergic reaction, discuss with your physician about prescribing medication or carrying a dose of epinephrine with you at all times.

It’s never a bad idea to protect yourself against allergic reactions, especially since it is difficult to know what you might be allergic to until you come in contact with it for the first time!

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. Calcium is particularly present in the center leaves of coriander, so aim for that part of the plant if bone health is your focus!

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!

Treat Smallpox

As mentioned, the essential oils in coriander are rich in antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-infectious, and detoxifying components and acids. The presence of vitamin C and iron strengthens the immune system as well. In places where smallpox outbreaks occur, studies have shown that massive amounts of vitamin C have a definite curative effect on smallpox; it can help contribute to this megadose of vitamin C needed.

Prevents Menstrual Disorders

Cilantro is a natural stimulant, and it can help regulate proper secretion from the endocrine glands, and this hormonal impact means that it helps regulate proper menstrual cycles and is thought to reduce the associated pain during a woman’s period.

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.

Treats Conjunctivitis

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.

Controls 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.

Other Benefits

Cilantro helps alleviate ulcers, inflammation, and spasms; while also acting as an expectorant and protecting the liver. It is anticarcinogenic, anticonvulsant, antihistaminic, and hypnotic in nature. Coriander is believed to be a natural aphrodisiac and traditionally it was widely used in combinations with other herbs to enhance a person’s libido.

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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