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Coriander or cilantro is an annual herb that has widespread use in cultural Indian cuisine. A good source of dietary fibre, Coriandrum sativum has immense medicinal value as well. Different civilizations have been using coriander as a traditional remedy and flavouring agent. Coriander plant as a whole is a rich source of lipids such as petroselinic acid and essential oils.

Native to the regions of Southern Europe, and Northern and Southwestern Africa, the coriander plant is a soft herb usually about 50 cm in height. The leaves are broad lobed at the base and thin and feathery towards the outer edges and are found to be variable in shape. In Ayurveda, coriander has been highly appreciated as a trishodic (provides three benefits) spice by increasing appetite, aiding in digestion and fighting infections.

Coriander has a number of bioactive components due to which different parts of the herb display several medicinal properties. These include anti-diabetic, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-epileptic (prevents epilepsy), anti-depressant, anti-inflammatory (reduces swelling), anti-dyslipidemic (lowers blood lipids as cholesterol and triglycerides), neuroprotective (protects memory cells), anti-hypertensive (lowers blood pressure) and diuretic (increases urination) properties. 

Some Basic Facts About Coriander

  • Botanical Name: Coriandrum sativum
  • Family: Apiaceae
  • Common Name: Coriander, cilantro, Chinese parsley
  • Sanskrit Name: Dhaniya
  • Parts Used: Leaves, Stem, Seeds
  • Native Region and Geographical Distribution: Southern Europe, Northern Africa, Southwestern Africa
  1. Coriander nutrition facts
  2. Coriander leaf benefits
  3. Coriander leaves juice benefits
  4. Medicinal Benefits of Coriander
  5. Other benefits of Coriander
  6. How to make coriander juice
  7. Side effects of coriander

Coriander is well known for its health benefits. According to the USDA, the nutritional values of coriander for a 100 g serving are as in this table.

Nutrient Value (per 100 gm)
Carbohydrates 3.67 g
Dietary Fibre 2.80 g
Cholesterol 0 g
Fat 0.52 g
Protein 2.13 g
Vitamins
Vitamin A 67.48 mg
Vitamin C 27 mg
Vitamin E 2.50 mg
Vitamin K 310 mcg
Thiamin 0.067 mg
Niacin 1.114 mg
Riboflavin 0.162 mg
Pyridoxine 0.149 mg
Pantothenic Acid 0.570 mg
Minerals
Calcium 67 mg
Magnesium 26 mg
Iron 1.77 mg
Manganese 0.426 mg
Selenium 0.9 mg
Phosphorus 48 mg
Zinc 0.50 mg
Electrolytes
Potassium 521 mg
Sodium 46 mg

Coriander has been used as a condiment (flavour enhancer) in a majority of foods. In addition, it has been seen that coriander use can also result in a number of health benefits. Uses of coriander to promote a better health has been discussed in this article. 

The entire plant body of coriander has a number of uses and benefits. However, the plant part which mostly comes of great use is the leaves of coriander. Let us explore the uses and health benefits of coriander leaves.

  1. Coriander leaves for kidney
  2. Coriander leaves for cholesterol
  3. Coriander leaves for the liver
  4. Coriander leaves for good memory
  5. Coriander leaves for blood pressure
  6. Coriander leaves as antioxidants

Coriander leaves for kidney

A host of minerals like potassium, calcium, iron, manganese, and magnesium are found in coriander. Vitamins essential for maintaining optimum health like Vitamin A, Vitamin CVitamin B and beta-carotene (a pigment responsible for Vitamin A formation) are found in the leaves of coriander. Coriander leaves act as a diuretic and help in the cleaning process of the kidneys by increasing the amount of urination and removing toxic waste from the body.

Coriander leaves for cholesterol

Bioactive compounds present in coriander act as powerful antioxidants. These compounds help in regularising cholesterol levels in the body. Upon regular coriander consumption, Low-Density Cholesterol (LDL) and Very-Low-Density Cholesterol (VLDL) has been found to be lesser in percentage in patients with cardiovascular diseases.

Coriander also helps in reducing cholesterol levels by reducing triglycerides in the blood and increasing the content of High-Density Cholesterol (HDL) also known as the good cholesterol. 

(Read more: High Cholesterol symptoms

Coriander leaves for the liver

A vast majority of metabolic functions in the human body are performed by the liver. Coriandrum sativum being rich in antioxidants acts as a hepatoprotective (protects the liver) by increasing the activity of certain enzymes as catalase, glutathione peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase. These enzymes help in removing toxins such as hydroxyl radicals (damage-causing agents) by binding with them and improving the proper functioning capacity of the liver.

Coriander leaves for good memory

Extensive studies on coriander strongly suggest that this herb significantly helps in improving memory function.

The primary manner in which coriander helps in boosting memory function is by blocking the cholinesterase enzyme (an enzyme present in the central nervous system) which is responsible for the breakdown of acetylcholine, a neurotransmitter (helps in conducting nerve signals).

Acetylcholine is required for the activation of muscle cells in the body. Coriander lowers the levels of oxidative stress in the brain which blocks the activity of cholinesterase and promotes the build-up of acetylcholine. This, in turn, helps in improving the memory function. 

Coriander leaves for blood pressure

Salad prepared with coriander leaves has often been found to be very beneficial in patients suffering from hypertension.

Coriander is rich in calcium which upon interaction with acetylcholine is responsible for releasing blood tension.

Intake of coriander thus has the potential of reducing the blood pressure levels. This property of coriander helps in reducing the chances of occurrence of numerous cardiovascular (heart) conditions such as cardiac arrest and stroke.

Coriander leaves as antioxidants

The human body is continuously exposed to external toxins present in the surrounding environment.

In reaction to these toxins, the body produces free radicals that cause damage to the cells and in the long run gives rise to diseases such as heart diseases, diabetes and cancer as well.

Coriander is a good source of antioxidants. Extract prepared from the leaves of coriander can reduce oxidative stress via the action of a large number of antioxidants like glutathione and minimize the damage caused by the free radicals. 

The juice prepared from grinding fresh coriander leaves in water has numerous health benefits. Also, several concoctions (mixtures) are prepared by grinding coriander leaves and mixing it with other ingredients and employed for several health benefits. The major benefits obtained from the juice prepared from coriander leaves have been discussed below. 

  1. Coriander leaves juice for weight loss
  2. Coriander leaves juice for hair loss
  3. Coriander leaves juice for healthy skin

Coriander leaves juice for weight loss

Experts have time and again recommended coriander leaves juice for effective weight loss.

The essential oils in coriander leaves help cleanse the gut by eliminating any unwanted microorganisms and removing toxins responsible for causing bloating. This helps in achieving weight loss.

Additionally, the polyphenols in coriander leaves help in fighting fats and preventing its deposition. All these properties of coriander leaf juice promote weight loss in individuals. 

Coriander leaves juice for hair loss

Coriander leaf juice or paste can help prevent loss of hair. Coriander is rich in Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and Vitamin K. Keratin is the protein required for strengthening hair follicles and preventing hair from breaking.

Vitamin K is essential for the formation of keratin. Intake of coriander leaf juice helps in the formation and accumulation of Keratin protein resulting in enhanced hair growth. It also imparts more volume and lustre (shine) to the hair. 

Coriander leaves juice for healthy skin

Leaves of coriander, when consumed as juice or applied as a paste, can reduce acne and blackheads. People dealing with oily skin can also make use of coriander leaf juice or paste to improve skin health.

Coriander leaf juice has antibacterial and antifungal properties and acts as a cleanser that removes the bacteria and fungi responsible for resulting in an oily skin and other related skin problems. 

Coriander has several useful medicinal benefits for various diseases apart from the above-mentioned health benefits. The medical benefits of coriander have been discussed in detail below. 

  • Detoxifies the body: Corriander improves the function of liver and kidneys, the natural detoxifying organs of our body. It also promotes diuresis and increases the expulsion of toxins from blood.
  • Improves brain function: Coriander leaves have an antioxidative effect on brain, which, it has been found to improve memory and cognition. It also reduces the risk of neurodegenerative diseases along with mediating an anti-stress and anti-depressant effect.
  • Promotes weight loss: The detoxifying effects of coriander makes it an excellent weight loss remedy. It also reduces fat accumulation in body and improves gut microflora, promoting reduction in body weight.
  • Benefits for skin: Coriander paste and juice, when consumed or applied topically is known to reduce acne and blackheads. It also reduces bacterial and fungal growth on skin and is especially helpful for oily skin types.
  • Improves oral health: Corriander is a natural antibacterial which cleanses the palate and reduces bad breath. It is also suggested to be effective in healing mouth ulcers.
  • For urinary tract infections: Corriander has a dual benefit in alleviating UTI symptoms. Not only does it helps flush out pathogens from the body but also it inhibits the growth of microbes in the urinary tract.
  1. Coriander for arthritis
  2. Coriander for Alzheimer’s Disease
  3. Coriander for anxiety and depression
  4. Coriander for cancer
  5. Coriander for rashes and allergies
  6. Coriander for urinary tract infections

Coriander for arthritis

Coriandrum sativum has anti-inflammatory properties. The anti-inflammatory property of coriander is highly effective in case of diseases like arthritis. Patients with rheumatoid arthritis experience severe skin swellings and skin granulation. It has been found in a study that  Coriander extract can help in the reduction of skin swelling which can lower discomfort and improve skin appearance.

Coriander for Alzheimer’s Disease

Neurodegenerative (degeneration of the nervous system) disorders like Alzheimer's could be prevented by administration of coriander in a dose-dependent manner. Deficiency of the neurotransmitter, acetylcholine leads to Alzheimer’s. Acetylcholine is also required for muscle movement function and its degradation can lead to conditions like paralysis. Coriander can prevent the disease by blocking the activity of the enzyme cholinesterase which is responsible for the breakdown of acetylcholine.

Coriander for anxiety and depression

Coriander is also used widely for its anti-depressant properties. Experts studying effects of coriander on Alzheimer’s disease have discovered its potential uses in treating anxiety. In the study, it was found that volatile oils from coriander, when given to patients with nervous system diseases, can also help to counteract anxiety and stress. This is mainly achieved due to a decrease in the glutathione levels which causes a rise in anti-oxidative activity of the brain cells, thus, reducing anxiety and related conditions.

(Read more: Depression symptoms)

Coriander for cancer

Coriander has been claimed to act against cancer as it has anti-mutagenic (reducing mutations that give rise to conditions as cancer) property. In a study, the juice of coriander has been found to possess anti-mutagenic properties as it has the ability of reducing mutation in DNA, especially in products that are carcinogenic (causes cancer). The potential of coriander to act as anti-carcinogenic, however, is yet to be tested in-vivo.

Coriander for rashes and allergies

Coriander has been famously known for its anti-inflammatory properties. The juice of coriander has been recommended by Ayurvedic practitioners for treatment of allergies caused by itching, inflammation, skin rashes and insect bites. Coriander juice may also prove to be effective in the treatment of burns, hay fever (allergic rhinitis).

Coriander for urinary tract infections

Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) is mainly caused due to infections by pathogens in the genital areas that cause a burning sensation during urinating. In various traditional folk medicines, coriander has been used to treat urinary tract infections due to its antimicrobial and diuretic properties and also due to their effectiveness against a number of UTI causing pathogens that are otherwise resistant to drugs.

Coriander apart from its health and medicinal uses can also lead to certain other noteworthy benefits if included in the regular diet. The other benefits of coriander have been listed here.

  1. Coriander for healthy eyes
  2. Coriander for oral hygiene
  3. Coriander for microbial infections
  4. Coriander for food poisoning
  5. Coriander for removing of heavy metals

Coriander for healthy eyes

Coriander is a rich source of Vitamin A, which is essential for the development of the rods and cone cells in the eye that assist in vision. The high amount of Vitamin A present in coriander helps protect the eyes. It also helps to prevent night blindness. The Vitamin A present in coriander comes from carotenoids as beta-carotene (from which Vitamin A is produced) and thus, even a very high amount does not cause toxicity.

Coriander for oral hygiene

Coriander can be used individually or with infusions with other cleansing agents as cloves can be effectively used for oral hygiene. The essential oil, Citronellol, present in coriander are antisceptic in function. This property helps in the healing of mouth ulcer and in the cleansing of breath. Studies claim a significant reduction in mouth ulcers upon application of coriander paste. 

Coriander for microbial infections

Coriander can help prevent a number of microbial infections due to the presence of long-chain aldehydes in its essential oil. Infections caused by pathogens as Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella enterica, Escherichia coli, Bacillus spp, Staphylococcus aureus, and Candida albicans that causes a host of serious infections can be prevented by intake of coriander.

Coriander for food poisoning

Intake of coriander can help in the cleansing of the gut and preventing microbial infections. Pathogens such as unwanted bacteria and fungi may enter the body via due to the intake of food prepared under unhygienic conditions. The antimicrobial properties of coriander are also useful in preventing any kind of food poisoning arising from foodborne pathogens and preventing infections.

Coriander for removing of heavy metals

According to a study, coriander can remove the toxic heavy metals in the body found due to exposure to pollution and minimize the level of damage caused by them. Heavy metals as lead, cadmium, arsenic, mercury, can alleviate the level of organic stress in the body and lead to damage to several vital organs causing a chronic relapse of infection caused by pathogens as Herpes simplex and Chlamydia trachomatis. Coriander can enhance the excretion of such toxic metals from the body and make it more responsive towards antibiotics.

Coriander juice consumed for its numerous health benefits can be prepared at home by following the simple steps mentioned below.

  • A handful of coriander leaves must be thoroughly cleaned and then chopped finely.
  • Add the coriander leaves to about 1/2 cup of water and grind it in a juicer.
  • Strain the juice through a strainer and serve it immediately. The juice can also be diluted for consumption by adding extra water (about 1/4 cup).

Coriander, in general, is safe when consumed in the regular amount and even as taken in the medicinal amount prescribed. However, certain side effects may arise which include the following.

  • Certain instances of coriander causing stomach pain and diarrhoea have been reported in some people. If the condition persists, it is important that one consults a physician.
  • Increased consumption of coriander may cause allergic reactions in certain people. In case, any sort of allergy develops, consult your physician immediately and stop further use until proper consultation.
  • Excessive consumption of coriander can cause the blood pressure to become very low in certain people. This can lead to periods of lightheadedness or unconsciousness.
  • People with respiratory disorders require to consult a physician before consumption of coriander as there have been reports of shortness of breath and respiratory disorders in certain people with such conditions.
  • The acidic elements present in coriander can cause sensitivity towards sunlight in some people.
  • There have been reports of chest pain in some people due to the intake of coriander. It is, therefore, highly essential that a physician is consulted before coriander is consumed for medicinal purposes 
  • Coriander can harm the activities of the human reproductive gland and might hamper the development of the foetus in pregnant women. Pregnant women, thus, should not consume coriander in excessive amounts.
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References

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