Coriander tops the list of spices with several health benefits, making it a preferred choice for most people.
Coriander commonly known as ‘Dhania’ in the Sub-Indian continent and Cilantro in Europe and America is a nutritious spice that is available all year around.
Traditionally, coriander has been known as the anti-diabetic plant.
It has been widely used as an anti-inflammatory plant while in America most people use it to lower cholesterol levels.
The plant is commonly used as a garnish, condiment or as a means to decorate culinary dishes. The leaves and seeds of coriander have a recognizable pleasant aroma that most people use raw or dried on culinary.
Coriander has several applications in health making it among the commonly used spice worldwide.
Parts of Coriander Used
Well, coriander can be used fresh or dried depending on how easy you access it, but most people prefer to have it raw. Two parts of coriander are used to make up spices. The leaves and the seeds are what has that pleasant smell that we always like in our foods. Fresh coriander leaves must be vibrantly fresh and deep green to get the best aroma and ingredients out of the coriander. Always avoid the crisp, yellow and brown parts.
Whole coriander seeds are preferred to the processed coriander powder that has lost most of its flavor. The coriander seeds are usually ground with a mortar and pestle to get the ingredients.
The active ingredients in coriander seeds are the volatile oils. The volatile oils are 1% and appear pale yellow to colorless with the coriander odor and a mild aromatic taste that makes meals sweet. A single fruit of coriander yields about 5% of ash that contains:
– Malic acid
– Fatty matter
The Coriander leaves are rich in Vitamin k, C, ascorbic acid and proteins. The leaves also contain small amounts of phosphorous, thiamin, potassium, carotene and niacin.
Medicinal actions and uses
The use of coriander in the preparation of foods is just a tip of the iceberg. Unknown to most people, coriander is packed with several health benefits. It is used in the treatment of skin inflammation that uses cineole; one of the 11 essential oils. It is widely used to reduce high levels of cholesterol, especially in the USA. It solves several other disorders like diarrhea, anemia, mouth ulcers, menstrual disorders, indigestion, conjunctivitis, smallpox, skin disorders and blood sugar level problems. Coriander also benefits the eye and several other parts of the body, making it an important ingredient in all our foods.
Medicinally, coriander is used as a flavor to disguise the active taste of purgatives correcting their gripping tendencies. The volatile oils in the leaves of coriander have also been found to have antimicrobial properties.
When using fresh coriander, wash it right before using it in the same manner you can wash your spinach. Place it in a bowl of water and swish it around until all the dirt clears away. This helps dislodge and dirt or sand particle from the coriander. Remove the leaves from the water, repeating the process with more clean water before getting ready to use it.
When using coriander seeds, ground the up using a mortar and pestle until they are all broken down. It is advisable to soak them in advance before the grinding. Soaking the seeds in water helps revive the aromatic taste of the coriander.
Here are some few quick serving ideas on your coriander. Combine your coriander with honey, soy milk, and cinnamon over a low heating saucepan.
You can also choose to use healthy sauté spinach combined with garlic. Mix these two with garbanzo beans before seasoning with ginger and cumin.
Coriander seeds can be used in broths and soups or in a poaching liquid when preparing fish. This works perfectly fine helping take away the bad smell of fish from your meal.
Coriander can also be added to waffles and pancakes to give the Eastern flavor.
Even better, keep the coriander seeds in a paper mill, leaving them on the table. This way, you and your family members can use them at any time.
Side Effects of Coriander
Coriander is fine in food amounts and when taken by mouth or for medicinal purposes for most people. However, it can also cause allergic reactions in some people and increased sensitivity to the sun. When in contact with the skin, it has been known to cause skin irritations and inflammations. Sometimes, excessive and prolonged use of coriander might cause breathing and liver problems in people.