Coriander - Very Beneficial Herb for Many Health Problems


Coriandrum sativum Apiaceae.

Easily recognised by its distinctive scent, coriander is grown all over Europe, India and North Africa, reaching heights of up to 60cm. In early summer, this herbaceous annual is covered in umbrellashaped clusters if tiny white or pink flowers. By August, these will have given way to small, round, wrinkled seeds.

Parts used

  • Leaves and seeds
  • The seeds are collected as they start to turn yellow and ripen.
  • Coriander seed heads are cut off in the early morning to preserve their beneficial properties. After drying in the sun, they are threshed and the individual seeds are gathered.
  • The seeds are dried, then crushed to a powder, which is used for infusions and tinctures.
  • An essential oil can also be extracted from the seeds.
  • The aromatic leaves, when fresh, have antiseptic properties and can aid digestion, but are mainly used in cooking.


Very oily fruits - comprising as much as 25 per cent fatty oil - contain phenolic acids and aliphatic aldehydes, which give the plant its scent. The essential oil extracted from the seeds contains a large quantity of linalool, which is antibacterial and controls spasms.


  • Coriander can cause abdominal pain, poor appetite and an enlarged liver. See a doctor if you experience any abnormal symptoms.
  • Avoid coriander if pregnant or breastfeeding.
  • Never use pure extracted coriander essential oil internally.


For internal use

TO TREAT digestive problems, diarrhoea and influenza symptoms
INFUSION Put 10-30g of crushed seeds into 1 litre of water. Leave to infuse for 10 minutes. Drink 1 cup of this after each meal.

TINCTURE Put 40 drops into a glass of water. Take three times a day.


Medicinal uses

Various studies have shown that nearly all of coriander's medicinal properties are due to the essential oil in the plant's seeds, which can help to regulate gastric secretions and to release trapped wind. The seeds are therefore effective in treating digestive problems, and are also recommended for common forms of diarrhoea due to infections such as gastroenteritis.

Animal studies in India in 1997 demonstrated that preparations made from coriander seeds could help to lower blood cholesterol. The seeds are also believed to fight off bacterial and fungal infections.

Externally, coriander seed oil can be applied to help to soothe the pain of haemorrhoids and joints affected by rheumatism.


Coriander seeds can be sown in any type of light, well-drained soil, during warm weather, from late March to the end of April. The plant grows best in a sheltered position, exposed to plenty of sunlight.


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