Coriander – A seed with Beauty and Brain

Coriander is native to the Southern Europe and Middle East but is also famous in Asia. It is found growing wildly in Egypt and Sudan, and also in the English fields. It is referred to in the ‘Holy Bible’ in the books of ‘Exodus and Numbers’, where the color of ‘manna’ is compared to that of coriander. The seed is now cultivated in Russia, South America, India, North Africa — especially in Holland and Morocco. The Romans introduced it to the Britain who used it in cookery as well as in medicine. Coriander is commonly known as dhania in India is an herb belonging to the family of Umbelliserae and its scientific name is Coriandrum sativum. Coriander or coriander seeds are used as spice and are available in ground or whole dried seeds form. The diameter of the macrocarpum type is 3-5mm and that of the microcarpum is 1.5-3mm. The smell of the seed can be enhanced if they are fried in a dry pan. The seeds are almost spherical in shape and aromatic and sweet when ripe with a citrus undertone but the unripe ones have a pungent smell.

Buying Tips
Since the flavor of the coriander powder gets lost very rapidly because it contain volatile oil, therefore if possible its seeds should be purchased as it can be grinded with a grinder at ease. The seeds of coriander are yellowish to brown in color which have aromatic odor with spicy characteristic taste. Coriander fruits are sub- globular cremocarpous fruits with a diameter of 2-4mm. About 10 primary ridges and 8 secondary ridges are present. Primary ridge are wavy and inconspicuous while secondary ridge are straight. The weight of 100 fruits is approximately 1gm. It can be noted, that Bombay coriander fruits, which contain less volatile oil and are ellipsoidal in shape, are commonly used as an adulterant.

Culinary Usage
The most common use of coriander seed is in curry powders, often ground roughly in India to lend a crunchy texture. The seeds can also be used in stews and soups. They are apt when used in smoked meats and in ‘English black pudding recipes’ and ‘Italian mortadella sausage’. Coriander is a basic ingredient of ‘Garam masala’, used in pudding spices and pickling spices and is used in all baked foods. Sugared comfits that are made from the seeds serve as sweetmeat and also breathe sweetener. Coriander is an ingredient of Arab cookery, being used with lamb and meat stuffing. Coriander with cumin is a usual combination used in the Egyptian appetizer ‘dukka’’. Coriander goes very well with pork and ham especially when orange is added. It enhances taste of fish dishes forms a delicious coating with other spices for spiced fish or chicken. Coriander is included in many of the chili recipes, such as ‘harissa’, the hot red pepper sauce of North African. It may also be added to cottage cheese or cream. An essential oil is obtained when the seeds go through steam distillation, which are commercially in liquors and for meat products. Coriander is an important ingredient of many Indian, Asian, Mexican and Chinese dishes. Therefore coriander can be consumed in almost all forms.

Coriander seed is coarsely ground or finely powdered and then used depending on the desired texture. It is best bought whole, but being brittle, it can be milled easily or can be pound in a mortar. Ground coriander is prone to lose its flavor and aroma very quickly and must be stored in an airtight container which is opaque. Flavor of the whole seeds may be increased by a light roasting it. As coriander is very mild, the spice is used by the handful, rather than a pinch. The leaves can be chopped before use. They tend to lose flavor when dried, but may be frozen whole or chopped and frozen in ice cubes.

Medicinal Value
Oil derived from ‘Coriander seed’ is an aromatic stimulant, an appetizer, a carminative, and stimulates digestion in stomach and intestines. It is also beneficial to the nervous system. Its main use is in hiding smell of foul medicines, where it lends anti-griping qualities. In Asia, the herb is used against headache, piles and swellings. The leaves of the coriander have high healing and curative power. They act as stimulant and they increase secretion, reduce fever, help to remove the catarrhal matter phlegm from bronchial tubes and give a cooling effect. Coriander juice is rich in vitamin A, B1, B2, C and iron and is highly beneficial in treating digestive disorders and small pox, high cholesterol level, excessive menstrual flow and skin disorders. Though coriander yields 0.3 to 1% volatile oil, 13% fixed. Recent studies have shown that it serves as a stomach soother in babies and adults. Coriander has in it antioxidant that prevents animal fats from rotting. These same substances in Cilantro also prevent infection in wounds. Coriander has been shown to improve tummy troubles of all kinds, from indigestion to flatulence to diarrhea. Weak coriander tea may be given to children under age 2 for colic. It’s safe for infants and may relieve their pain and help you get some much-needed sleep. Cilantro and Coriander contain substances that kill certain bacteria and fungi, thereby preventing infections from developing in wounds. Coriander Seed is sprinkled on minor cuts after washing the injured area. New studies tell that coriander also has anti-inflammatory effects.

Where to buy in the US
The seed is cultivated in Morocco in Europe and in the United States so it is available in the U.S markets and grocery stores. The Monsanto Company is the leading multinational agricultural corporation where crop sees are hugely cultivated. Coriander seeds can also be ordered online as there are many companies who sell spices online.

Nutritional and dietary value
The fruits are used as a flavoring agent and as spice. It does not possess significant nutritional value but it contain small amount of amino acid. Recently it was reported it possess anti-oxidant property.  It is an ingredient of compound spirit of orange and cascara elixir. It is used along with purgative to prevent gripping.

This plant and the seed is an important medicinal plant belonging to the class of Rabi crop. India produces about 70% of the world supply of coriander. This plant contains wide biological and medicinal activity and serves as an essential spice.

Nutrition Facts
Servings Size 1/4 cup (4gms)
Calories 1
Vitamin A 5%
Vitamin C 2%
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because it has not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.



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