- Coriandrum sativum L.
- Umbel family
Parts Usually Used
Description of Plant(s) and Culture
Coriander is a small, erect, shining annual plant; the round, finely
grooved stem grows 1-2 feet high from a thin, spindle-shaped root.
The leaves are pinnately decompound, the lower ones cleft and lobed,
the upper finely dissected. From June to August the white to reddish
flowers appear flat, compound umbels of 3-5 rays. The brownish, globose
seeds have a disagreeable smell until they ripen, when they take on
their spicy aroma. The seeds are hard and egg-shaped, borne in pairs
which do not separate.
Cultivated for thousands of years and is still grown in North and
South America, Europe, and the Mediterranean area. Grows as a weed,
especially in eastern and southern areas of the United States. Native
to Mediterranean Europe.
Alterative, antispasmodic, appetizer, aromatic, carminative, stomachic,
pungent, cordial, diuretic, diaphoretic, diuretic, stimulant
Essential oil which consists of a linalol called coriandrol (60-70%),
geraniol, borneol and terpenes.
Legends, Myths and Stories
Coriander is one of the basic ingredients in Indian curry, along
with turmeric and cumin seed.
One of the most ancient herbs still in use today. Coriander is known
to have been cultivated in the Egyptian gardens thousands of years
before the birth of Christ. The seeds were among the funeral offerings
found in Egyptian tombs. It spread early to Western civilizations;
the great Greek physician Hippocrates used it in the 5th century BC.
By the time the herb had reached the Chinese continent, it had acquired
a reputation for bestowing immortality and the Chinese herbalists
developed several coriander compounds to that end.
There are several Old Testament references to coriander as an herb
whose fruit is similar to the mysterious food, manna, that God showered
upon the Israelites during their desert trek from bondage.
It is said that in parts of South America people are so fond of coriander
flavor, the seeds are put into practically all their dishes. Italians
use the seed in pizzas, polentas, bologna, ground and spice meat,
and sauces. East Indians love the flavor in their curries and certain
Coriander seeds are used to flavor gin, whiskey, liqueurs, wine and
brandies. An 1878 cook book advises roasting coriander seeds for culinary
The Domestic Encyclopaedia (1802) states: "coriander seeds are used
in bitter infusions and preparations with senna to overcome their
Coriander seeds are like tiny balls, the green seeds have a disagreeable
scent, but upon drying they become very fragrant.
Its generic name is derived from a Greek work, koris, that means
"bug". The ancient Pliny described coriander as "a very stinkinge
Coriander can be applied externally for rheumatism,
and painful joints. It improves
the flavor of other medicinal preparations and stimulates
the appetite. Used to treat diarrhea
and colic, also cystitis,
urticaria, rash, burns, sore
throat, vomiting, indigestion,
fever. A good stomach tonic and very strengthening to the heart.
Will stop gripping caused by laxatives and expel wind from the bowels.
At one time it was considered to have aphrodisiac effects. Used to
flavor bread and liqueurs. Has the reputation to repel aphids.
Formulas or Dosages
Infusion: steep 2 tsp. dried seeds in 1 cup water. Take 1
cup a day.
Powder: take 1/4 to 1/2 tsp. at a time.
It is safer to use cultivated plants, since wild plants may be mistaken
for poisonous relatives.