Origin: Coriander is one of the oldest herbs and spices on record. Coriander was mentioned in the Bible, and the seeds have been found in ruins dating back to 5000 B.C. Its name comes from the Greek word koris, meaning a stink bug. This is likely a reference to the strong aroma given off by the cilantro plant leaves when they are bruised. Coriander grows as a native plant around the world, including Europe, Asia, Africa and in the Americas.
Ironically, the history of coriander begins with its strong bug-like smell rather than its medicinal or culinary qualities. Coriander is believed to be derived from the Greek word koros which means insect or the Greek word koriannon, meaning bug. The specific name refers to its cultivation in gardens. When taken together, the full scientific name calls coriander ‘the cultivated buggy-smelling plant.’
Scientifically: Coriander is a member of the parsley (Apiaceae ) family. It's an annual plant that grows on slender green stems. The plant can grow up to three feet tall and the leaves resemble parsley leaves. When coriander flowers, it produces white flowers, with a hint of purple, and round, light brown seeds. These seeds can be harvested and used as spices.
The coriander plant has a slender hollow stem. It is usually 30 to 60 mm (1 to 2.5 inches) high with fragrant leaves. The flowers are in pink to whitish in color. The yellowish-brown fruits have a mild fragrance and taste similar to a combination of lemon peel and sage. The seeds contain from 0.1 to 1 percent essential oil; its principal component is coriandrol.
Usage: Coriander leaves add an amazing flavor to the food. Coriander seeds are toasted before using, and ground coriander seeds are used as a spice to cook things like curry and other dishes. It is also used as a garnish or added at the last minute to add flavor to the food. Coriander is added to almost all food types, ranging from stir-fries to tacos.
Coriander is stored in dry and airtight containers. The coriander leaves, coriander seeds and coriander seed oil, all three of them are rich in medicinal value. Coriander is used for digestion problems including upset stomach, loss of appetite, hernia, nausea, diarrhea, bowel spasms, and intestinal gas. It is also used to treat measles, hemorrhoids, toothaches, worms, and joint pain, as well as infections caused by bacteria and fungus.
Below are some DIYs with coriander:
- Take a handful of coriander leaves and grind them into a paste with some lemon juice. Apply this mixture on the face for 15 minutes. This face pack helps in reducing acne and blackheads.
- Apply fresh coriander juice on the face for 10-15 minutes. Rinse later. This helps in controlling sebum production.
- Grind coriander and rice together in a coarse paste. Apply the paste for 15 minutes. Wash it off later. Rice helps in removing dead skin, whereas coriander helps rejuvenation of the skin.
- Grind some fresh coriander leaves with fresh aloe vera gel. Massage this paste on the scalp and let it sit for 40 minutes. Shampoo as usual. This mixture helps in cleansing of the scalp and removes dandruff.
- Take a teaspoon of coriander seed oil and mix it in a tablespoon of coconut or almond oil. Massage this concoction of oil on the sunburnt or wounded or scarred skin of the body. Leave it on overnight. This helps in repairing the skin.
- Boil a tablespoon of coriander seed powder with a half a cup of coconut oil. Let it chill and then sieve it into a clean, dry container. Apply this oil on the hair scalp and length. Leave it on or 45 minutes and then shampoo it. This oil helps in preventing hair fall and promotes hair growth.