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Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is an umbelliferous plant that comes from the Mediterranean region. The fruit has been popular as a spice and medicine since ancient times, which is why the plant is now grown in large parts of the world. The seeds are said to help against constipation and bloating.
Profile of coriander
- Scientific name: Coriandrum sativum
- family: Umbelliferous plants (Apiaceae)
- Popular names: Wall Lice Herb, Arabian Parsley, Chinese Parsley, Indian Parsley, Caliander, Clanner, Garden Coriander, Built Coriander, Spice Coriander, Stinkdill, Vertigo Herb, Vertigo, Bug Dill, Bug Herb, Bug Cumin
- distribution: Originally Eastern Mediterranean, today cultivated worldwide
- application areas: Stomach discomfort, digestion, feeling of fullness, cosmetics, bedbugs
- Parts of plants used: Herb (leaves) and seeds (fruits)
The most important facts at a glance
- Coriander comes from the eastern Mediterranean and is now grown worldwide.
- The fruits or seeds contain a lot of essential oil.
- Coriander is used in "folk medicine" for stomach problems and digestive problems.
- It works against flatulence and a feeling of fullness.
- Coriander is believed to stimulate intestinal activity and stimulate gastric juice production.
- It is mainly found in medicinal products because of its fragrance.
Coriander contains essential oil with linalool as the main component. Other essential oils of the plant are borneol, p-cymen, camphor, limonene and alpha-pinene. Added to this are the coumarins scopoletin and umbelliferone, caffeic acid derivatives and triterpene alcohol (coriandrinone diol).
The fruits promote digestion, are aromatic and stimulate the appetite. The ingredients in the fruit have an antiseptic effect, relieve cramps and relieve bloating. They have a weakly spasmolytic, antioxidative, antidiabetic and slightly sedative effect. According to studies, they also work against fungi. A possible curative effect in cancer is being researched. Studies in rats suggest an efficacy against rheumatoid arthritis and probably a general activity against inflammation.
Comprehensive research on the exact effects of coriander substances in the body is still pending. A valid hypothesis is that coriander stimulates intestinal activity and stimulates the production of stomach acid. The plant is also believed to promote insulin production, thereby lowering blood sugar.
Coriander can be found in many medicinal products, on the one hand because of its own healing effects, but above all to give these often difficult-to-eat remedies a pleasant taste. It is used as a medicinal herb mainly for supportive treatment for upper abdominal complaints, feeling of fullness, flatulence and mild cramp-like pain in the gastrointestinal area.
Coriander seeds are used as a tincture or tea, but can also be swallowed "dry". Used internally, that is, absorbed through the mouth, they are a remedy for
- Stomach discomfort,
- constant belching
- and crampy abdominal pain.
The fruit can also be swallowed against infections caused by fungi or bacteria. Oral use continues to be a traditional method against diabetes, worms, swelling and joint pain.
Insufficient evidence exists for the following application: In Asian medicine, coriander is an ingredient in a tea against constipation in the elderly, against constipation and bowel movements. In addition to coriander fruits, this tea contains orange peel, cinnamon and ginger.
Medical history of Coriandrum sativum
Coriander has been known from archaeological finds for 7000 years. In the Bible, the plant is mentioned in the second book of Moses (Exodus), chapter 16, verse 31; the ancient Greeks and Romans used it extensively as a spice and remedy. It was cultivated in China no later than 1600 years ago and also came early to Indian cuisine and medicine.
The Romans imported the plant from Egypt, and it was already cultivated in the Mediterranean region in ancient times. Today, the following countries produce coriander on a larger scale: the Netherlands, Hungary, Russia, Morocco, Malta, Egypt, China, India, Italy, the Balkans, Bangladesh and Pakistan. 300,000 tons are harvested annually, a quarter of which are in India. At least a third of the harvest is distilled into oil and processed primarily for cosmetic products such as soaps. To intensify the aroma, the seeds are mostly lightly roasted in India.
Coriander seeds in the kitchen
In Northern Europe we find coriander seeds in bread, cookies, cheese, soups and pies. In Italy they come in Bolognese sauce, in Germany in liver sausage. Coriander is part of countless dishes in Egypt, India, Pakistan and northern South America and is an integral part of curry mixes.
Coriander is an umbellifer. It is an annual plant with a thin taproot. The stem is up to 60 centimeters high and has branches at the top. The long-stemmed leaves vary in shape and size, some are pinnate, some are tamed. The inflorescences consist of umbels with up to ten flower stems, each of which bears up to twelve flowers. Petals are either white or pink. The fruits are most important for kitchen, cosmetics and medicine. These are spherical and double-sealed, the solitary partial fruits have grown together at the edges.
How safe is coriander?
Coriander as food or as a herb in food is largely safe. Even when taken orally, there are rarely undesirable side effects. However, if you are allergic to coriander fruits, i.e. umbelliferous plants, you should avoid coriander.
Allergic reactions such as swelling of the nasal mucous membranes, swelling in the mouth and throat and asthma are particularly evident in people who work in the food industry and are constantly exposed to large amounts of the fruit. Coriander rarely triggers inflammatory reactions such as reddening of the skin in the case of sensitive people.
Take special care
There are too few valid studies to rule out a risk for pregnant and lactating women. Therefore, you should avoid coriander in these cases. People who have an allergy to vegetables or spices from the umbelliferous family (for example fennel seeds, caraway seeds, dill, aniseed seeds) are very likely to be allergic to coriander.
People with low blood pressure should be careful. According to studies, coriander probably lowers blood pressure, which can have a positive effect if there is high blood pressure (hypertension). If the blood pressure is low (hypotension), the plant exacerbates this problem.
There are also indications that coriander lowers the blood sugar level. This can affect blood sugar control before, during and after surgery. Therefore, you should stop taking coriander two weeks before surgery.
Coriander interacts moderately with medicines for diabetes. It is therefore essential to clarify a simultaneous intake with your doctor in advance. Diabetes medicines lower blood sugar, coriander presumably also - so it can happen that the sugar level drops too much. If you use both, you need to measure your blood sugar level daily and possibly reduce the dose of the diabetes medicine.
The same effect of coriander can also increase blood pressure lowerers beyond what is desired. As a result, the blood pressure could drop more than desired. Coriander has a slight sedative effect, makes you sleepy and sluggish. Combined with other sedatives, this can be too much of a good thing. Talk to your doctor about taking it at the same time.
Correctly dose coriander
The amount of coriander that is appropriate depends, among other things, on the age of those affected, general health, certain allergies or interactions with other medications. There is currently insufficient scientific information on the correct dosage of coriander. Therefore, when using coriander and coriander preparations, talk to your doctor exactly about how you dose them.
The annual cilantro can be planted in partial shade when you want to harvest the leaves, or in the sun when you care about the seeds. You can put the seeds directly in a field bed enriched with ripe compost, but you should not do so before the end of April. The first seedlings will sprout after about two weeks. You are on the safe side if you pull the coriander early on the windowsill in the flowerpot in spring and then put the small plants in the open-air bed in mid-May.
Young plants must always have a slightly moist soil, young coriander does not like dryness or waterlogging. Adult plants tolerate drought well. In this country you should only water moderately, i.e. after long periods of drought. Make sure the soil is loose and the water drains well, sometimes you should add a little sand. In August / September you can harvest the seeds and use them as a spice. You can harvest the herb (the leaves) from late spring to autumn. (Dr. Utz Anhalt)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
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