Coriander or you may know it as Cilantro is the most common culinary herb used worldwide. The good news for you is that it has some interesting health benefits that could be useful for this time of life.
Internationally coriander is the name for the entire plant including the seeds but if you are from the United States you call the plant leaves and stems cilantro but still call the seeds coriander. As I’m Australian I’m going to refer to it as coriander, sorry if this confuses you.
When it comes to the taste, some people hate it, comparing it to soap. Personally love the taste, it is one of my favourite culinary herbs.
Coriander originated from the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern regions, its oldest recorded use is from an ancient Egyptian medicinal text dated around 1550 BC. In ancient Egypt, it was thought to be an aphrodisiac. Do you need a hand with your libido?
In Ayurvedic and Persian traditional medicine Coriander seeds are a staple ingredient used to regulate menstruation and reduce heavy menstrual flow while easing bloating, cramps, and pain related to your cycle. It could be something to consider if you are still menstruating.
Also in Ayurvedic medicine, it is thought of as a remedy to help the body release excess heat. Signs of excess heat in the body include hot flushes, night sweats, overheating in general, excess sweat, headaches, migraines, and sensitive skin.
How’s your sleep? Coriander seed contains essential oils that possess calming, anti-anxiety properties. Useful in promoting relaxation, calmness, and alleviating anxiety and in turn have been linked to improving sleep quality.
Other improvements found regarding mood include regulating negative emotions such as anger and depression. You can again thank the essential oils for this benefit.
It may improve digestive health by easing heartburn, easing discomfort from ulcers, bloating, flatulence, and diarrhea. Both the leaves and the seeds provide benefits to the digestive system but the essential oils found in Coriander seeds have an anti-microbial effect against E coli, Golden staph, Salmonella, and Candida. It also has a parasitic effect against worm infestations.
Coriander tea made from the seeds is also thought to be a urinary tonic. The drink helps to flush the urinary system, also helping to reduce fluid retention, while having an anti-bacterial effect on any infections present and providing relief from discomfort thanks to its alkalising properties.
In regards to respiratory health, The seeds are also thought to have a soothing effect here, helping to ease coughing and boost immunity. Coriander essential oil is one of a few natural remedies that may treat antibiotic-resistant infections.
Coriander oil may be applied to the scalp to stimulate hair follicles and enhance hair growth and strength.
Coriander in general helps with diabetes prevention, the seeds may help balance blood sugar levels and have an insulin-like effect. The leaves and stems have the largest concentration of polyphenols which a recent 2023 study found helps to prevent obesity, metabolic syndrome, and diabetes.
These same polyphenols may protect your cells from oxidative stress which can contribute to accelerated ageing and degenerative diseases.
In current day western herbal medicine one of the key reasons to use coriander leaves is for its detoxification ability. It’s an amazing chelator of excess lead, mercury, aluminum, and other toxic metals. This is the main reason I would prescribe coriander supplements over food.
Coriander is also a key food recommended in mould detox programs.
Would you like to protect your brain and fight memory loss? Well, then coriander leaves and seeds may play a role here too. There are a combination of actions responsible for this benefit. Its ability to remove toxic metals helps to protect the brain, its ant-inflammatory effect helps reduce brain-based inflammation, and its antioxidant effect may protect against nerve cell damage. Due to these cognitive benefits, studies are looking at using coriander with both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's patients to see if it can improve their health and quality of life.
The vitamin K content in coriander leaves is beneficial for bone health, as it plays a role in bone metabolism. The anti-inflammatory and analgesic actions may help reduce joint pain. Traditionally this has been used for Rheumatoid arthritis.
Coriander may reduce your risk of heart disease by helping to regulate blood pressure and help keep your arteries clean. It also has a blood thinning, clot-preventing ability. This is also linked to one of its cautions not to take large amounts before surgery as you don’t want to increase bleeding.
Coriander has so many wonderful health benefits specifically at this stage of life. It's an easy food to grow yourself or buy from your local shops.
All parts of the plant are edible but the most commonly used part of the plant for medicinal purposes includes the fresh leaves and the dried seeds.
While the leaves contain most of the polyphenols, the seed contains a higher amount of essential oil. The entire plant contains lots of vitamins, and minerals including magnesium, calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron, zinc, beta carotenoids, Vitamin C, some of the B vitamin family, and Vitamin K.
Here are a few suggestions to help you find ways to add more coriander to your diet.
With the seeds, make a tea, try adding them to baked goods, pickled vegetables, rubs, roast vegetables, or add to lentil dishes.
Coriander tea recipe
Add 2 tablespoons Coriander seed and 2 litres of water in a saucepan and gently simmer. Watch the colour darken, leave to simmer for 5 minutes. Leave to cool. Drink this warm but not hot for the best results.
With the leaves, you can add them to your salads, stirfries, curries, salsa, make a pesto or green smoothies.
Coriander detox pesto
4 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup Brazil nuts
1/3 cup sunflower seeds
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
2 cups fresh coriander leaves and stems
2/3 cup flaxseed oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice
pinch of Himalayan rock salt
Start with the coriander in the blender, once it is processed add the rest of the ingredients until it is blending into a fine paste. Store in dark glass jars. (Can be frozen if you have leftovers)
You can buy concentrated coriander essential oil or coriander extracts if you wish. But for me, I’m making it a staple in my diet.
There are a few cautions with coriander.
Firstly it's possible to be allergic to anything and coriander is not an exception, if you suspect an allergy - avoid coriander. Contact dermatitis is rare but it is also possible.
Be mindful of daily intake if you are on a blood thinning medication or a diabetic medication.