The many health benefits of coriander

Coriander (also known as cilantro) is high on the list of beneficial herbs and spices. Coriander seeds contain an abundance of minerals and dietary fibre, while fresh coriander leaves boast vitamins from the A, B, C, E and K groups as well as trace minerals and antioxidants.

The health benefits of coriander are slowly being uncovered. Traditionally, coriander has been used as a digestive aid, to help relieve nausea and gas, and to diminish anxiety. Coriander has been called ‘anti-diabetic’, is still used in India for its diuretic properties, and recent studies in the US indicate it can help lower cholesterol.

Some isolated compounds present in coriander show strong evidence of antibiotic and antimicrobial properties more effective at killing salmonella than common drugs on the market*. Consuming large amounts of coriander also led to higher concentration of toxins like mercury present in the urine of patients suffering from mercury poisoning**, suggesting that coriander helps the body eliminate harmful toxins. Not bad for a tasty little herb!

Coriander Botanical Chart by KoehInterestingly, some people have a strong reaction to coriander and cannot stand its smell or taste – someone in that camp having even gone as far as creating a blog named ‘I Hate Cilantro‘. If you too are a cilantro-hater but feel you are missing out on the benefits of coriander, you can reeducate your brain and add a little bit at a time to dishes you love – some having successfully cured their hatred of coriander this way***.

In case you’re in need of ideas, here are a few uses for coriander:

  • Juice it! Thrown a few stalks of fresh coriander leaves in next time you’re making some fresh juice – it goes well with celery, cucumber and spinach – or for something a bit different, try it with orange and carrot.
  • Make coriander tea: add a few sprigs of fresh coriander leaves to some freshly boiled water and steep for at least 5mn. Drink up, and munch on the leaves when the cup of tea is gone. Not recommended if you find coriander a bit too intense on its own.
  • Chop fresh coriander leaves finely and add to soups, salads or casseroles just before serving.
  • Ground coriander can be added to savoury pancakes, or mixed with pepper and sesame seeds to garnish miso soup.
  • Put it on your face: fresh coriander leaves juiced and mixed with turmeric is an old-timey remedy to help congested skin, acne and pimples. Apply to freshly cleansed skin for best results.
Sources: *Wikipedia, **NCBI, ***New York Times 

(Image credit: Wikipedia)

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