Coriander, coriandrum sativum, is a herbaceous plant of the Apiaceae family that includes also cumin, dill, fennel and parsley. Coriander has been known for millennia and traces of this plant have even been found in the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun. But what are the properties of this fragrant plant? Let's try to understand this on the basis of scientific research. Finally, we will also look at its uses in the kitchen. Be careful if you are controlling your blood sugar with drugs because coriander could enhance their effect, so always ask your doctor for advice.
Coriander and digestion
Coriander shows digestive properties. Not only that, this spice also has an antispasmodic action, useful to calm abdominal cramps, and a carminative effect, avoiding fermentation and swollen belly (Kaur et al, J Food Sci Technol, 2018).
Coriander and its neuroprotective action
Coriander, thanks to its essential oils, in particular linalool contained mainly in the seeds and partly also in the leaves, shows an interesting neuroprotective action. In fact, scientific studies have observed that coriander is able to increase the vitality of brain cells and reduce the damage induced by the accumulations of beta amyloid proteins. These aggregates, in fact, are toxic to the tissues and are the main characteristic of Alzheimer's disease (Caputo et al, Phytother Res, 2021).
Coriander and inflammation
Coriander counteracts the levels of chronic inflammation with benefits for the whole body, mood and immune system (Agarwal et al, J Lipids, 2014).
Coriander and metabolic syndrome
Coriander helps to counteract hypertension, high cholesterol and altered blood sugar, which are factors that, if present at the same time together with an increased waistline and an excess of triglycerides, can lead to a diagnosis of the syndrome metabolic, with consequences on the general health of the body and heart (Sahib et al, Phytother Res, 2013). It has been observed that, in animals, coriander seed extract has been able to reduce blood sugar and the risk of atherosclerosis within six hours (Aissaoui et al, J Ethnopharmacol, 2011).
Coriander is antioxidant and protects the skin
Coriander shows anti-aging properties, useful in counteracting the aging process. Thanks to this antioxidant action, coriander is also able to protect the skin from UV ray damages. In particular, a scientific study showed that coriander leaves are able to prevent photoaging, which may cause the premature appearance of wrinkles, dry skin and dark spots (Hwang et al, J Med Food, 2014).
Coriander and pain
Coriander contains several essential oils, including linalool, but also alpha pinene, geraniol and camphor. These substances make coriander anti-inflammatory and analgesic, also useful in case of headaches and migraines, rheumatism and joint pain (Mechhate et al, Molecules, 2021).
Coriander and immune system
Coriander counteracts chronic inflammation and this has a beneficial effect on the immune system. In fact, continuous inflammation weakens our natural defenses. Not only that, coriander strengthens and also supports the health of the intestinal microbiota, which is the set of bacteria that live in our intestines. A healthy microbiota not only leads to good digestion but also to a better immune system response (Hosseinzadeh et al, ScientificWorldJournal., 2014). Finally, coriander contains valuable antioxidants, such as quercetin, kaempferol, rutin, caffeic and ferulic acid, with antiviral and antitumor action (Yashin et al, Antioxidants, 2017).
How to use coriander
Coriander seeds can be added to vegetables but also to bread dough and legumes. Coriander leaves can also be used to enrich soups, spice dishes and coconut milk, such as curry with rice and peppers, or sauces. You can also prepare an excellent infusion with coriander seeds, with digestive and carminative properties. Bring a cup of water to a boil, remove from heat and add half a teaspoon of coriander seeds, steep for ten minutes, then strain and drink.