The health benefits of coriander include its use in the treatment of skin inflammation, high cholesterol levels, diarrhea, mouth ulcers, anemia, indigestion, menstrual disorders, smallpox, conjunctivitis, skin disorders, and blood sugar disorders, while also benefiting eye care.
What is Coriander?
Coriander, commonly known as dhaniya in the Indian Subcontinent and cilantro in America and some parts of Europe, 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 potential health benefits that most people completely miss when they toss this garnish into the garbage after eating their meal. It has eleven components of essential oils, six types of acids (including ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin C), minerals and vitamins; each having a number of beneficial properties.
Health Benefits of Coriander
Health benefits of coriander include:
Lowers Skin Inflammation
Cineole, one of the 11 components of the essential oils, and linoleic acid are both present in coriander, and they possess antirheumatic and antiarthritic properties. They help reduce the swelling that is caused by these two conditions. For other swelling conditions, such as swelling due to kidney malfunction or anemia, it is also seen to be effective to some extent, because some of the components in coriander help induce urination and the release of excess water from the body. The reduction in skin inflammation leads to a reduction in discomfort and an improvement in the appearance of the skin.
Treats Skin Disorders
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. 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 issues like atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes. More importantly, this herb helps to raise the levels of healthy HDL cholesterol, which works as a preventative line of defense against a number of dangerous conditions.
The components of essential oils found in coriander such as borneol and linalool, aid in digestion, proper functioning of the liver, and bonding of bowels, while also helping reduce diarrhea. It is also helpful in curing diarrhea caused by microbial and fungal action since components like cineole, borneol, limonene, alpha-pinene and beta-phellandrene have antibacterial effects.
Coriander is also increasingly popular as a means of preventing 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.
Regulates Blood Pressure
Consuming coriander has been shown to positively reduce blood pressure in many patients suffering from hypertension. It enhances the interaction of calcium ions and acetylcholine, which is a neurotransmitter in the peripheral and central nervous system, and 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 kinds of toothpaste. In fact, before the invention of toothpaste, people would chew on coriander seeds to reduce bad breath!
It is high in iron content, which directly helps people who suffer from anemia. Low iron content in the blood can result in shortness of breath, heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, and a decrease in cognitive functions. Iron also benefits proper functioning of other organ systems, increases energy and strength, and promotes bone health.
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. 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 is one of the most dangerous causes of foodborne illnesses in the world, so any natural way to protect 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. By adding it to your normal diet, you protect your body from horribly uncomfortable, and even fatal illnesses relating to these deadly bacteria.
Improves Bone Health
As a rich source of calcium, coriander is of great value for people who want to protect the integrity of their bones. Calcium and other essential minerals found in coriander are integral components of bone regrowth and durability, as well as in the prevention of 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
Coriander, due to the rich aroma of its essential oils, helps in the proper secretion of enzymes and digestive juices in the stomach; thereby, stimulates digestion and peristaltic motion. It is also helpful in treating anorexia. Besides the pleasant aroma of coriander, it has certain stimulatory qualities, derived from its minerals. Moreover, the neurotransmitters are stimulated when coriander 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!
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. These properties help prevent and cure smallpox, and they can also reduce the pain and have a soothing effect on smallpox patients. In places where smallpox outbreaks occur, studies have shown massive amounts of vitamin C have a definite curative effect on smallpox.
Prevents Menstrual Disorders
Cilantro is a natural stimulant, and it regulates proper secretion from the endocrine glands, and this hormonal impact means that it helps regulate proper menstrual cycles and reduces the associated pain during a woman’s period.
Coriander is loaded with antioxidants, vitamin A, vitamin C, and minerals like phosphorous, all of which prevent vision disorders, macular degeneration, and reduce 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.
As discussed earlier, coriander is a very good disinfectant and has antimicrobial properties that protect the eyes from contagious diseases like conjunctivitis. Coriander oil is one of the fundamental components of a number of eye care products.
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 sugar level in the blood. This property is extremely beneficial for patients who suffer from diabetes and other related conditions, in order to lower their chances of dangerous spikes and drops in their blood sugar levels and to ensure other normal metabolic functions as well.
Cilantro helps cure 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, but as with almost any food, there is some danger of allergic reaction to the skin. One of the unusual side effects is that some patients complain of sunlight sensitivity and that excessive coriander intake makes them more susceptible to sunburn, which could subsequently lead to skin cancer over the long term.
Pregnant women should not take coriander until more established research is done, although some women have claimed that it increases their production of breast milk flow. 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!