Coriander or Chinese parsley or cilantro is an aromatic herb native to Western Asia and southern Europe. More popularly, it is called “hara dhaniya” or “dhaniya” in local terms. It belongs to the genus Coriandrum. Its leaves are lacy, shiny, soft and thin, and bear a pungent smell. All plant parts are edible. It is used for culinary purposes round the world. Its oil is known to be used in perfumes and to mask the smell of red meat by Ancient Greeks and Romans. Coriander leaves are popularly used in cooking and garnishing.
Apart from its culinary uses, it has been found to contain plant-derived chemicals compounds, which help fighting against various diseases. The roots, leaves and stems of the plant have been found to contain carminative and antiseptic properties.
It is rich in antioxidants like b-carotene. It is also rich in water, dietary fiber, fats, protein, minerals (calcium, phosphorus, manganese, zinc, iron and magnesium) and vitamins (A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B9, C, E and K). All the nutrients packed in it are the reason for its potential health benefits, some of which are discussed below.
1. Clears up skin – the leaves are disinfectant, antifungal, detoxifying, antioxidant and antiseptic. All these properties are enough for clearing up any skin disorder.
2. Treats diarrhea – essential oils of coriander contain Linalool and Borneol, both of which aid in proper liver functioning and improving digestion, thus help in reducing diarrhea. Diarrhea caused by fungal and microbial actions can be cured with coriander essential oils, as they possess antibacterial properties.
3. Clears mouth ulcers and freshens breath – coriander contains a potent antiseptic called citronelol. It also contains many components that have antibacterial and healing properties. All these stop mouth ulcers to worsen, speed up the healing process and freshens the breath. Coriander is one of the ingredients in all antiseptic toothpastes.
4. Lowers cholesterol – coriander contains various acids, including linoleic acid, palmitic acid, ascorbic acid, oleic acid and stearic acid. All these acids are very useful in reducing cholesterol levels in the bloodstream, especially the bad cholesterol. Thus, it helps in prevention from strokes and cardiovascular diseases. Another important benefit is that it also helps in increasing the good cholesterol levels, which works as a protective layer against a number of dangerous conditions.
5. Lowers blood pressure (BP) – for people suffering from hypertension, consuming coriander is a boon. It greatly helps in reducing the BP by making the coriander’s calcium ions and nervous system’s neurotransmitter (cholinergic) interact with each other; this interaction helps in relaxing the blood vessel tension. In turn, risk of having strokes and heart attacks reduce significantly.
6. Kicks off anemia – high iron content of coriander makes it worth including in the food. High iron in the blood helps in proper cognitive functions, alleviates symptoms of breath shortness, provides more energy and strength, and promotes bones health.
7. Anti-allergic – anti-histamine properties of coriander helps in reducing uncomfortable affects and symptoms of seasonal allergies and fever.
8. Promotes bone health – rich source of calcium, coriander leaves are known to protect the bone integrity. Bone durability and regrowth can be stored easily by coriander, as it is rich in calcium and other important minerals. It also protects from bone degradation. Include coriander in your daily food items to maintain your bone health.
9. Protects eyes – coriander is rich in minerals like phosphorus, vitamins A and C, and antioxidants, all of which help in prevention of vision disorders, reduces stress on the eye and macular degeneration (age-related disorder). Coriander leaves are rich in b-carotene, which is useful in reversing the vision degradation effects in aging patients.
10. Stimulates digestion – rich aroma of coriander essential oils triggers both digestive and secretive enzymes, thereby promoting better peristaltic motion and digestion. It possesses stimulatory qualities. Disorders like indigestion (dyspepsia) and anorexia (sleeping disorder) can be cured by regular consumption of the leaves in the diet.
11. Clean your kidneys – coriander leaves contain powerful detoxifying abilities. They bind to the heavy metals in the bloodstream and thus purify blood, tissues and organs. This process occurs because the leaves possess biochemical content: phytic acid, citric acid and amphoteric electrolytes. The leaves not only improvise digestion but also inhibit the formation of free radicals. The leaves contain all chelating agents: vitamins and minerals. This property of coriander leaves make it best to use for prevention from Alzheimer’s disease, cancer and diabetes. They are a natural diuretic and thus act a natural balancer for sugar levels. They are a great source of kidney detoxification, as they help in salt elimination from kidneys and free the body from the load of poisonous heavy metals like lead, cadmium and mercury.
Coriander leaves chutney is a great way to enjoy this herb cum spice, and thus can be a part of your daily diet. It has antioxidants, anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic properties.
Coriander is also a natural aphrodisiac. It is also act as expectorant and helps in the protection of liver. It is both a herb and a spice. It is easily available, cheap and is in the market round the year. Enjoy the green shiny color of coriander leaves in your food and let then safeguard your body from infections and diseases.