Coriander! This power-packed plant packs a lot of medicinal punch. From leaves to stems to seeds to roots, every part is used and each offers a different flavor. Around the world, it is extensively used as a condiment, garnish, or decoration on culinary dishes. 

Coriander is a spice produced from the round, tan-colored seeds of the coriander plant—a member of the parsley family that is native around the world. The word coriander can be used to describe the entire plant—leaves, stems, seeds, and all, as we are here—but most people are referring to the spice produced from the seeds of the plant when talking about coriander. Its leaves are commonly called cilantro (the Spanish word for coriander) or Chinese parsley. 

The Benefits of Coriander

Use of coriander in food preparation is famously described as the “tip of the iceberg.” In Ayurveda, it has been known as ‘Kustumbur’ which means a herb that alleviates various diseases. Here are just a few of of its benefits.

  • Coriander leaves are a powerful natural cleansing agent. Its antioxidant properties effectively help cleanse heavy metals and toxic agents from the body—acting as the “clean-up crew” in your body that counteracts the damaging effects of poor nutrition, pollution, and stress.
  • Coriander has eleven components of essential oils, six types of acids (including ascorbic acid, better known as vitamin C), minerals, and vitamins.
  • Coriander is believed to be antipyretic, diuretic, stimulant, demulcent, antioxidant and antibiotic.
  •  Coriander builds up immunity with two great immunity boosting nutrients —vitamin A and vitamin C.
  • Its medicinal properties help treat allergy, burning micturition (burning sensation while passing urine) and allergic dermatitis.
  • Coriander increases the nutritive value of food with the presence of nutrients like iron, folic acid, and other vitamins like A, B, and K.
  • It supports the blood coagulation process and prevents anemia due to high contents of Vitamin K and iron respectively.
  • Some of the acids present in coriander are very effective in regulating the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) and raising the level of good cholesterol (LDL) in blood.

Five Ways to Get More Coriander in Your Daily Diet

  1. Sprinkle chopped leaves to zing up your steaming bowl of soup or your favorite pav-bhaji. 
  2. Add to your curries and gravies.
  3. Make healthy juices or soups.
  4. Use powdered coriander seeds in your cooking.
  5. Make chutneys and store for daily use in sandwiches or with a meal as an accompaniment.

Basic Home Remedies

  • Diarrhea and Allergies. Soak one teaspoon of coriander seeds in water overnight. Parboil, strain, and drink.
  • Headaches. Apply juice of tender coriander leaves to the forehead.
  • Excess menstrual bleeding. Take a concentrated decoction of coriander seeds with milk.
  • Conjunctivitis. Wash eyes regularly with juice of coriander leaves. Intake of decoction of coriander seeds soothes dry, inflamed eyes.
  • Pimples and blackheads. Mix juice of tender leaves with a pinch of turmeric and apply to face. Let dry and rinse off.
  • Skin blisters. Boil one teaspoon of coriander seeds in water, make a paste and apply to affected area. 
  • Indigestion. Simmer one teaspoon of coriander seeds in one cup of water. Cool down. Drink once a day for a week.

Coriander Recipes

LEMON CORIANDER SOUP

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs. lemon juice
  • 2 Tbs. fresh coriander leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbs. oil
  • 1 medium spring onion bulb, chopped
  • 1 inch piece of ginger, finely diced
  • 2 Tbs. gram flour (chickpea flour)
  • 4 ½ C. vegetable stock
  • ¼ small cabbage, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, cubed
  • 7 or 8 black peppercorns, crushed
  • Salt to taste

Directions

  1. Reserve the stems of coriander leaves. Heat oil in a pan. Add spring onion bulb, ginger and sauté till translucent.
  2. Add gram flour and sauté till you get a nice aroma. Add vegetable stock, coriander stems, cabbage, and carrot cubes and bring to a boil.
  3. Add crushed peppercorns and continue to boil. Add half of the chopped coriander leaves and cook for five to ten minutes.
  4. Strain and keep aside cooked vegetables. Heat the strained soup. Add salt, lemon juice and bring to a boil again.
  5. Season with the remaining chopped coriander leaves and serve hot.

CUMIN, CORIANDER, and FENNEL TEA⁠

Ingredients

  • 1 tsp. cumin seed⁠
  • 1 tsp. coriander seed⁠
  • 1 tsp. fennel seed⁠
  • 16 Oz water⁠
  • Lemon or lime⁠

Directions

Bring seeds to a boil in a small pot. Turn down heat down to low, simmer uncovered for 15 minutes. Strain into a mug with juice of half a lemon or lime.⁠

Ayurveda Cooking

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A version of this article was originally published on artofliving.org. Contributors to this article include Dr. Jyothi and Dr. Hari, Sri Sri College of Ayurvedic Sciences and Research Hospital, and Elizabeth Herman.

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