The health benefits of coriander
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual plant that belongs to the parsley family, originates from South Europe, North Africa and West Asia. Cultivation of coriander started 2000 years BC. Coriander was one of the many plants cultivated in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. It was popular and often consumed in the ancient Egypt and Greece. Coriander is still one of the most widely used spices in the world. It grows best in cool areas on a well-drained soil.
The health benefits of coriander:
· Indigestion and diarrhea - Some of the components of essential oils found in coriander such as borneol and linalool, aid in digestive organs (spleen, pancreas, stomach), proper functioning of the liver and bonding of bowels, while also helping to reduce diarrhea. It is also helpful in curing diarrhea caused by microbial and fungal action, since components like cineole, borneol, limonene, alpha-pinene & beta-phelandrene have antibacterial effects.
· Mouth ulcers - Coriander's anti-septic properties help to cure mouth ulcer and improve oral health.
· Anemia – Coriander contains high amounts of iron, which is essential for curing anemia. Low iron content in the blood can result in shortness of breath, heart palpitations, extreme fatigue, and a decrease in cognitive functions. Iron also benefits proper functions of other organ systems, increases energy and strength, and promotes the health of bones.
· Urinary tract infections - The antibacterial properties of coriander can help to clear out harmful bacteria.
· Prevents nausea - Two very powerful antioxidants can be found in coriander seeds: linalool and geranyl acetate. These oils work to relieve digestive issues and soothe your stomach, alleviating or prevent nausea and vomiting.
· Anorexia – Coriander increased appetite.
· Menstrual disorders - Coriander seeds helps with irregular periods.
· Skin disorders - The disinfectant, detoxifying, antiseptic, antifungal and antioxidant properties of coriander are ideal for clearing up skin disorders such as eczema, dryness and fungal infections.
· Smallpox - The essential oils in coriander are rich in antimicrobial, antioxidant, anti-infectious and detoxifying components and acids. The presence of vitamin-C and iron strengthens the immune system as well.
· Bone health – Calcium and other essential minerals found in coriander are integral components of bone regrowth and durability, as well as in the prevention of bone degradation so commonly associated with debilitating diseases like osteoporosis. Coriander contains anti-inflammatory properties. This is why it is good against inflammatory diseases such as arthritis.
· Analgetic properties - Coriander may also be used in treating muscle pain, headaches and stiffness. Because of its heating and analgesic effect, this plant is used to treat athritis, painful joints and rheumatism. The high content of bioflavonoids from the leaves helps in treating varices and hemorrhoids.
· Reduce blood pressure -Interaction of calcium ions and cholinergic (acetylcholine) relaxes blood vessel tension, thereby reducing the chances of a number of cardiovascular conditions, including heart attacks and strokes.
· Control of blood sugar, Cholesterol and Free Radical Production –Coriander is very low in calories and contains no cholesterol. Its deep-green leaves possess good amounts of antioxidants, essential oils, vitamins, and dietary fiber, which may help reduce LDL or "bad cholesterol" levels in the blood.
· Eye care - Dietary carotenoids can decrease the risk of numerous conditions, including several cancers and eye disease, due to their role as antioxidants.2 A study published in Plant Foods for Human Nutrition showed that basil and coriander contained the highest levels of the carotenoids beta-carotene and beta-cryptoxanthin as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, all known for their antioxidant abilities.1 It's a good remedy in the treatment of conjunctivitis.
· Anticancer effects - A study reported in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition suggests that common spices - including coriander - can inhibit heterocyclic amine (HCA) formation in meats during cooking. HCAs, defined by the National Cancer Institute, are chemicals formed when meat is cooked at high temperatures.1 A high consumption of foods containing HCAs is associated with higher risk of cancer. These anticancer effects were demonstrated further in a different study published in the Journal of Food Science, in which five Asian spices, including coriander, were used to cook meats. The meats cooked with those spices had a significant decrease in HCA formation.1
· Reduce fever - Coriander has a diuretic effect and can reduce fever.
· Promote nervous system - Vitamin K is good for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. It can stimulate the memory.
· Stimulant - The essential oil in coriander is believed to stimulate creativity, optimism and imagination. Recent studies have shown that coriander can cause a mild euphoria.
· Increase breast milk flow - Coriander is reported to be a galactogogue (a substance used to stimulate milk production in breastfeeding moms) and is used in many teas and supplements that are marketed to nursing mothers.
· Fighting salmonella - Coriander contains an antibacterial compound.
· Prevents hair loss – Coriander has antioxidants that free radicals. Free radicals damage cells, including hair cells. By stopping the damage to these cells, coriander encourages fuller, thicker hair to grow.
· The fat soluble vitamin A and antioxidant protects from lung and cavity cancers.According to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Nutrient Database1, two tablespoons of ground coriander seed contain 30 calories, 1.2 grams of protein, 1.8 grams of fat, and 5.6 grams of carbohydrates (including 4 grams of fiber and 0 grams of sugar). That same 2 tablespoon serving provides 68% of your daily vitamin K needs, 10% of iron, 8% of calcium, and 4% of vitamin C.
Coriander herb contains:
· Essential volatile oils - carvone, geraniol (geranyl acetate), limonene, borneol, camphor, elemol , linalool (can help detoxify the liver and increase the appetite), cineole, cymene, terpineol, dipentene, phellandrene, pinene, and terpinolene.
· Anti-oxidant polyphenolic flavonoids - quercitin, kaempferol, rhamnetin and epigenin.
· Active phenolic acid compounds -including caffeic and chlorogenic acid (neurotransmitter in the peripheral and central nervous system, more commonly known as acetylcholine)
· Vitamin C – with iron strengthens the immune system and relieves pain. 100 g of coriander leaves provide 30% of daily recommended levels of vitamin-C.
· Thiamin (Vitamin B1)
· Riboflavin (Vitamin B2)
· Niacin (Vitamin B3)
· Folic-acid (Vitamin B9)
· Iron - essential for red blood cell production.
· Linoleic acid (omega-6 fatty acid)
· Vitamin K - a potential role in bone mass building through promotion of osteotrophic activity in the bones. It also has established role in the treatment of Alzheimer's disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in their brain.
· Carotenoids (beta-carotene, beta-cryptoxanthin, lutein and zeaxanthin) - Fresh coriander leaves are a rich source of carotenoids which have antioxidant activity.
· Potassium - an important component of cell and body fluids that help regulate heart rate and blood pressure.
· Manganese - used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.
· Coumarin compounds in coriander such as umbelliferone (7-hydroxycoumarin) may have blood-thinning properties. Therefore Warfarin and coriander should not be taken together.
There are three forms of coriander:
· the seed (coriander)
· the leafy herb (cilantro)
· the oil (pressed from the seed)
Coriander herb provides (% of RDA/100g):
- 15% of folates,
- 11% of vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine),
- 45% of vitamin C,
- 225% of vitamin A,
- 258% of vitamin K,
- 22% of iron and
- 18% of manganese.
1/ Today's Dietitian, Adding spice for a healthier life - evidence shows antioxidant-rich herbs and spices may cut chronic disease risk, accessed 12 September 2015.
2/ The role of carotenoids in human health, EJ Johnson, Nutrition In Clinical Care, published online March 2002, abstract.
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