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Coriandrum sativum
[kor-ee-AN-drum  sa-TEE-vum] 

Family: Umbelliferae

Names: Chinese parsley, culantro, yuen sai; Dizzycorn; Japanese Parsley; coriander, coriander, persil arabe (French);  Koriander, Wanzendill, Schwindelkorn (German); coriandolo (Italian);  cilantro, culantro, cilandriom, coriandro (Spanish); Kizbara, kuzbara, kuzbura (Arabic); nannambin (leaves), nannamzee (seed) (Burmese);  hu-sui, hsiang-sui, yuan-sui, hs(I)ang tsai, yen-sui, yuen sai, yuin si tsoi (leaves) (Chinese); dhan(y)ia, dhuniah, kothimbir, kotimear, kotimli (seed); dhania patta, dhania sabz, hara dhania (leaf) (Indian);  ketumbar (Indonesian);  phak hom pom (Lao); Malay: daun Ketumba (leaves), ketumba (seed); kottamalli (seed), kotamalli kolle (leaves) (Sinhalese); kinchay (Tagalog); kothamilee (Tamil); pak chee (met) (Thai); Kolendra siewna (Polish); koriander (Dutch); coentro (Portuguese); koriander (Swedish); koriandr (Russian); koendoro (Japanese);  Dhanyaka (Sanskrit); Dhaniya (Hindi)

Pharmaceutical Name: seeds: Fructus Coriandri

Description:  Feathery herb rising up on a few, branched stems.  Height 2-3 feet; width 1 foot.  Flowers: small, flat umbels of white to pale mauve with a reddish accent.  Tiny groups surrounded by enlarged, outer petals.  Leaves: at first rounded with toothed edges and large lobes, mature leaves are finely divided, feathery.  Fruit: clusters of small, green globes that turn brown as they ripen. Smell of the fruits changes from pungent to spicy as they mature.  Blooms July to September.

Cultivation: Originally native to Mediterranean and Caucasion regions.  Grown commercially in India, Morocco, Poland, Romania and Argentina.  Some grown in Kentucky for the liquor industry.  US imports more than 3 million pounds annually.  An annual which germinates in 7-14 days.  Spacing is 12-18 inches; soil temperature 55-68 degrees.  Soil: average with good drainage; pH: 5-8.2.  Full sun or partial shade in hot areas.  Sow directly as it dislikes transplanting and wait until all danger of frost is past.  Mature fruits appear in about 3 months.  For greater yield, sow coriander in succession crops.  Sow the seeds about inch apart and ½ inch deep.  Light application of fish emulsion when plant is small; occasional applications of compost.  Attracts beneficial insects and deters harmful ones with its strong odor; weevils may attack dried seeds.  For commercial production 10-20 lbs of seed will sow an acre depending on spacing.  Yields vary on seed–500-2000 lbs of seed per acre have been obtained.

Harvest the leaves as needed, beginning eight weeks after plants appear.  Frequent harvests prevent the herb from going into flower. Select very fresh coriander leaves for cooking as its flavor deteriorates with age.  Leaves should be glossy green with no yellow or mold.  Once picked, store in a container with 2-3 inches of the stems in water.  Place a plastic bag over the top and secure it with a rubber band.  Don’t bother to dry as the flavor does not hold.  Freezing or preserving in a light oil is a better method.  Also the fresh leaves can be pureed with a little water and frozen in ice trays.   Harvest seed heads just as they begin to turn brown.  Then hang the plants upside down in large bunches in a dark, well-ventilated room in a large paper bag.  The seeds will fall off the stalks when gently shaken.

History: Probably one of the first cultivated spices it was in use by 1550 BC as both spice and medicine.  Egyptians added them to wine to increase intoxication and seeds were found in King Tut’s tomb from 1323BC.  It was also mentioned in ancient Sanskrit texts and in the Old Testament.  Romans boiled coriander leaves with greens and barley porridge.  Virgil mentions a seasoning of coriander seeds, rue, savory, mint, wild celery, onion, thyme, pennyroyal and garlic.  It was used by Hippocrates, as a love potion in the Middle Ages and an aphrodisiac in The Arabian Nights.  The Spanish introduced it to Latin America where both the seeds and especially the leaves are now an integral part of their cuisine.  Arrived in this country before 1670 but never gained as much fame until recently except for flavoring liquor.  The word coriander comes from the Greek korios meaning bedbug because of its scent

Constituents: Fruits: essential oil includes mainly linalool, also borneol, anethole coriandrol, terpinene, geraniol, camphor, carvone, anethole;  Leaves: vitamins A & C, minerals–calcium, phosphorus, potassium, iron; coumarin

Properties: antispasmodic, appetizer, aromatic, carminative, stomachic, analgesic, aperitif, aphrodisiac, anti-oxidant, anti-rheumatic, bactericidal, depurative, digestive, cytotoxic, fungicidal, larvicidal, lipolytic, revitalizing, stimulant (cardiac, circulatory, nervous system).

Energetics: spicy, neutral (seeds); cool (leaves)

Meridians/Organs affected: bladder, stomach

Nutritional profile:   One teaspoon coriander seed has 5 calories.  It provides .2 g protein, 0.3 g fat, 1 g carbohydrates, 13 mg calcium and .3 g iron.

Aromatherapy Uses:
EXTRACTION: essential oil by steam distillation from the crushed ripe seeds.  An essential oil is also produced by stem distillation from the fresh and dried leaves, which contains a high proportion of decylaldehyde.

CHARACTERISTICS: A colorless to pale yellow liquid with a sweet, woody-spicy, slightly musky fragrance.

BLENDS WITH: clary sage, bergamot, jasmine, olibanum, neroli, petitgrain, citronella, sandalwood, cypress, pine, ginger, cinnamon and other spice oils.

USES: Circulation, Muscles and joint: accumulation of fluids and toxins, arthritis, gout, muscular aches and pains, poor circulation, rheumatism, stiffness

Digestive System: anorexia, colic, diarrhea, dyspepsia, flatulence, nausea, piles, spasm

Immune system: colds, flu, infections, measles

Nervous System: debility, migraine, neuralgia, nervous exhaustion

Other: used as a flavoring agent in pharmaceutical preparations, especially digestive remedies.  Used as a fragrance component in soaps, toiletries and perfume.  Employed by the food industry especially in meat products and to flavor liqueurs such as Chartreuse and Benedictine and for flavoring tobacco.

Medicinal Use:  Coriander seeds are used in many medicines to improve taste especially bitter laxatives.  They aid digestion, reduce gas and improve the appetite.  Previously coriander water was used to relieve colic.  The Chinese use coriander tea to counter dysentery and measles.  East Indians make the seeds into an eyewash to prevent blindness in smallpox patients.  The oil is an antiseptic and was suggested by Dioscorides to great urinary tract restrictions and inflammations.  Add the essential oil to ointments for painful rheumatic joints and muscles.

Cilantro has been used to help remove heavy metal poisoning or chelate toxic metals by some using a cilantro pesto recipe taking 2 teaspoons a day.

Cilantro Chelation Pesto
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup Brazil nuts (selenium)
1/3 cup sunflower seeds (cysteine)
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds (zinc, magnesium)
2 cups packed fresh cilantro) (vitamin A)
2/3 cup flaxseed oil
4 tablespoons lemon juice (vitamin C)
2 tsp dulse powder
Sea salt to taste
Process the cilantro and flaxseed oil in a blender until the coriander is chopped. Add the garlic, nuts and seeds, dulse and lemon juice and mix until the mixture is finely blended into a paste. Add a pinch to sea salt to taste and blend again. Store in dark glass jars if possible. It freezes well, so purchase cilantro in season and fill enough jars to last through the year.
Two teaspoons of this pesto daily for three weeks is purportedly enough to increase the urinary excretion of mercury, lead and aluminum, thus effectively removing these toxic metals from the body. The cleanse is done for three weeks at least once a year. A researcher named Dr. Yoshiaki Omura discovered that some patients excreted more toxic metals after consuming a Chinese soup containing cilantro.  Cilantro extract has been used as well.   According to some authorities, the cilantro mobilizes the mercury (and lead and aluminum) but the chlorella bonds with it and transports it out of the body.

Infusion: Pour a cup of boiling water onto 1 tsp of the bruised seeds and let infuse for 5 minutes in a closed pot.  Drunk before meals.

Egyptian Rheumatic Binding: Make a strong decoction of coriander leaves and lightly crushed seeds.  Add 2 Tbsp leaves and 1 tsp of seeds to 1 pt boiling water.  Return to heat and simmer for 20 minutes, remove and strain.  Bathe with liquid and on 3-inch bandage lay strained moist green matter lengthwise, with clean bandage on top.  Bind affected area.  Apply hot or cold.  Keep liquid in fridge for up to 3 days.

Toxicity: Coriander can be narcotic in extremely high dosages.  The juice of freshly picked plants produces an effect like that of alcohol–excitement, then depression.  Handling coriander plants may cause contact dermatitis.

Ritual Use:  Gender–hot; planet—Mars; element–Fire; basic power–love.  When coriander is grown in a garden it will protect the gardener and all who reside in the household. A bunch of it hung within the home as an herb of protection, decorated with ribbon brings peace and security to the house.  It is associated with peace, and may be used in rituals performed for that effect.  It may be used in a ritual drink or the seed burnt as incense.  It has been used in love spells but also is known as an herb of immortality.  It is used in unions of two persons who desire to share their love beyond this life.

Cosmetic Use:  It was used to make Carmelite water and a special honey water which George Wilson, an apothecary, made for King James II of England.  It is a pleasing after-shave lotion and takes any inflammation from the skin.

Recipe for toilet water: To 1 lb of lemon balm leaves, add 2 oz of lemon peel; and 1 oz each of nutmeg, cloves, coriander seed and chopped angelica root.  Place in a home still or an old kettle with 1 pint or orange blossom or elder flower water and 2 pints of alcohol. Slowly distil, if using a kettle, collecting the toilet water, which is passed through a tube beneath cold water, in a large jar.

  Recipe for Spicy Astringent Lotion: 8 Tbsp alcohol; 4 Tbsp rosewater; 4 Tbsp orange flower water; 2 Tbsp lemon peel, shredded; 1 tsp orange peel, shredded; 1 tsp grapefruit peel, shredded; 2 tsp nutmeg; 2 tsp coriander seeds; 1 tsp cloves; 1/2 tsp storax; ½  tsp benzoin.  Mix all the ingredients together and put them in a good-sized preserving jar with an airtight lid.  Secure the lid firmly.   Shake it well several times a day.  Leave to infuse and intermingle for seven to eight days.  Strain, bottle, shake well and label.

After Shave lotion:   Take 2 oz of seed which should be a year old for their orange perfume to be pronounced, and place in a pan with a tablespoon on honey and 1 pint of water.  Simmer over a low flame for 20 minutes and when cool, add a tablespoonful of witch hazel and strain into bottles.  If kept under refrigeration, the lotion will be especially refreshing when use.

Other Uses: Seeds are used in potpourri and to flavor tobacco.

Culinary Uses:   Do not interchange seeds and leaves in recipes…..flavors are totally different though can enhance each other.  The seeds are the basis of curries and salsas and a secret ingredient in apple fishes.  The fresh leaves are used in the cuisines of Mexico, South America, China, southeast Asia (especially Thai and Vietnamese), the Phillipines, North Africa and East Indies.  Algerians preserve their food in coriander mixed with pepper and salt.  The seeds flavor the Basque drink izzara, melissa cordial, Chartreuse, Benedictine, Ratafia and some brands of gin and brandy.  The root has been cooked and eaten like a vegetable. The seeds are used in baked goods and sweets and are the traditional center in “jawbreaker” candies.  Flowers have a flavor like a mix of anise, cumin, sage and orange.

SUGGESTED USES: Sprinkle some chopped fresh coriander leaves onto a hot, brothy soup; tuck a bunch of leaves inside a roast chicken or fish; sprinkle the leaves over bowls of chili or stir it into guacamole dip.  Stir it into cooked rice along with slivers of fresh coconut, thinly sliced dried apricots and grated lemon zest.  Try two teaspoons of slightly crushed seeds to your favorite apple, pear, or peach pie or strudel.  Use in tomato chutney, ratatouille, frankfurters and curries.  Add whole seeds to soups, sauces and vegetable dishes.  Cook fresh root as a vegetable or add to curries.  Cook the stem with beans and soups.  Goes with mint and cumi

Thai Fish Curry
1/3 cup finely chopped onion

2 Tbsp fresh cilantro stems

2 Tbsp minced fresh lemongrass (from bottom 6-inch stalk)

1 tbsp turmeric

1 Tbsp fresh ginger

1 Tbsp ground cumin

3 large garlic cloves, halved

¾ tsp crushed dried red pepper

1 Tbsp vegetable oil

¾ lb sea bass fillets, 1 ½ inch thick, cut into 3-in pieces

1 can canned unsweetened coconut milk

2/3 cup clam juice

minced fresh cilantro

freshly cooked rice

Blend first 8 ingredients in processor to dry paste.  Heat oil in nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons spice paste; stir 1 minute.  Add fish and cook 2 minutes, turning with tongs.

C hili-Cilantro Corn Muffins
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cu yellow cornmeal
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp cumin
½ tsp salt
¾ cup water
2 large eggs
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
1 can chopped chiles
¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
3 Tbsp brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Mix flour, cornmeal, cumin, baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl.  Stir together remaining ingredients.  Ad to dry ingredients and lightly mix.  Divide batter evenly into a greased 12-muffin pan or put it all into 8 inch greased baking pan. Fill muffin tins.  Bake 25 minutes, or until crust is lightly browned and a toothpick inseead and gently reheated in a 300F oven or a microwave sug


Traditional spice mix in Yeman.  Use as a table condiment

2 small mild red peppers

2-3 fresh red chilies

a handful of coriander leaves

1½ Tbsp ground coriander

6 cloves garlic

seeds from 6 green cardamoms

1-2 tsp lemon juice

Finely chop the red peppers and chilies, removing the seeds.  Chop the coriander leaves.  Blend or pound all the ingredients to a paste, and store in a jar in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. (Complete Book of Spices)


Tilapia Cancun with Green Cashew Sauce

1 cup cashews, roasted

½ bunch fresh cilantro

2 cloves garlic

salt & pepper to taste

1 tsp shallots

1¼  lb Tilapia filets

2 serrano chiles

2 Tbsp paprika

¼ cup peanut oil

1Tbsp cayenne

3 Tbsp rice vinegar

1 lime, cut in half

1 Tbsp water

In a food processor, puree the cashews, garlic, shallots and chiles.  When the mixture has become a paste, add the oil and continue to puree.  Add the vinegar and cilantro and puree until smooth.  Season with salt and pepper.  Set cashew sauce aside.  Rinse and dry the filets with a towel.  Rub each side with a lime half and coat with paprika and cayenne.  Sauté or flat grill the filets.  On individual plates, place each cooked filet on 1 Tbsp of green cashew sauce.  (Monterey’s Cooking Secrets) (Editor’s note: this sauce is so good you’ll want to put it on baked potatoes, vegetables, pasta….anything)






3/4 inch thick.  Arrange the pieces on their sides on a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving about an inch between each biscuit.  Brush with egg glaze and sprinkle with sesame seeds.  Bake at 375F for 20 minutes, or until the biscuits are puffed and lightly browned.  Serve warm.  (Cooking with the Healthful Herbs)


Liqueur of Love
1 Tbsp coriander seed
1 tsp cardamom seed
1 star anise flower
6 whole cloves
6 rose hips
2 cups water, divided
1 cup honey
2 Tbsp dried hibiscus flowers
3 tsp orange zest
1 cup 100-proof vodka
½ cup brandy
Coarsely grind coriander, cardamom, star anise, cloves, and rose hips in coffee grinder or food processor.  Bring 1 cup water and honey to a boil over medium-high heat  Boil for 2-3 minutes, skimming off any foam that rises to the surface.  Add spice mixture and boil for 4 minutes more.  Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes.  Place hibiscus flowers in bowl.  Use a fine-mesh strainer to strain syrup into bowl.  Let stand for 10 minutes, then strain into a clean 1-quart container.  Add orange zest, vodka, and brandy.  Top off with remaining water.  Cover and let stand in a cool, dark place for 1 month. Use a coarse sieve or colander to strain out orange zest.  Discard.  Rack or filter liqueur into final container and age for 1 month before serving.  (Cordials from Your Kitchen)

Adriana’s Spice Caravan, Adriana and Rochelle Zabarkes, Storey Publishing, 1997; ISBN: 0-88266-987-7
Basic Herb Cookery, Rose Marie Nichols McGee and N.P. Nichols, Nichols Garden Nursery, 1996; ISBN: 1-887242-00-7
The Complete Book of Herbs, Lesley Bremness, Viking, 1988
The Complete Book of Herbs, Andi Clevely and Katherine Richmond, Smithmark Publishing, 1995; ISBN: 0-8317-1164-7
The Complete Book of Herbs, Spices and Condiments, Carol Ann Rinzler, Facts on File, 199
The Complete Book of Spices, Jill Norman, Viking, 1990
The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody, Dorling Kindersley, 1993
Cooking with the Healthful Herbs, Jean Rogers, Rodale, 1983
Cordials from Your Kitchen,  Pattie Vargas & Rich Gulling, Storey, 1997; ISBN: 0-88266-986-9
Cosmetics from the Earth, Roy Genders, Alfred van der Marck Editions, 1985; ISBN: 0-912383-20-8
Edible Flowers From Garden to Palate, Cathy Wilkinson Barash, Fulcrum, 1993
The Gourmet Garden, Geraldene Holt, 1990; Bullfinch Press,  ISBN: 0-8212-1815-8
The Healing Garden, Helen Farmer-Knowles, Sterling, 1998; ISBN: 0-8069-1773-3
The Herb Book, John Lust, Bantam Books, 1974
The Herb Companion Cooks, Interweave Press, 1994
The Herb Garden Cookbook, Lucinda Hutson, Texas Monthly Press, 1987
An Herbal Collection, Herb Society of Wake County, 1993
The Herbal Epicure, Carole Ottesen, Ballantine, 2001; ISBN: 0-345-43402-1
The Hot and Spicy Cookbook, Sophie Hale, Quintet Publishing, 1987; ISBN: 1-55521-060-0
The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Essential Oils, Julia Lawless, Element, 1995; ISBN: 1-56619-990-5
The Illustrated Herb Encyclopedia, Kathi Keville, Mallard Press, 1991
In the Kitchen at Shale Hill Farm & Herb Gardens, Patricia Reppert, 1989
Kitchen Herbs, Sal Gilbertie, Bantam, 1988
The Macmillan Treasury of Spices & Natural Flavorings, Jennifer Mulherin, Macmillan, 1988
Magical Herbalism, Scott Cunningham, Llewellyn, 1982
Master Book of Herbalism, Paul Beyerl, Phoenix Publishing, 1984
Monterey‘s Cooking Secrets, Kathleen DeVanna Fish, Bon Vivant Press, 1993
The Natural Beauty Book, Anita Guyton, Thorsons, 1981
Pestos!, Dorothy Rankin, The Crossing Press, 1985
Planetary Herbology, Michael Tierra, Lotus Press, 1988
Season to Taste, Jeannette Ferrary, Louise Fiszer, Simon and Schuster, 1988; ISBN: 0-671-62132-7
Today’s Herbal Kitchen, The Memphis Herb Society, 1995; Tradery House; ISBN: 1-879958-28-7

Companion Plants,  seed

HERBALPEDIA™ is brought to you by Herbalpedia LLC, PO Box 245, Silver Spring, PA 17575-0245; 717-393-3295; FAX: 717-393-9261; email:    URL: Editor: Maureen Rogers.  Copyright 2012.  All rights reserved.   Material herein is derived from journals, textbooks, etc. THGMN cannot be held responsible for the validity of the information contained in any reference noted herein, for the misuse of information or any adverse effects by use of any stated material presented.



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