The use of coriander leaves in cooking is well known, but the culinary and therapeutic properties of coriander seeds are much less so. Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also called coriander or Chinese parsley, is an annual plant of the Umbelliferae family (Apiaceae).
its origin is not fully known but it is usually located in southeastern Europe, the Middle East and North Africa. Remains of this plant have been found in the tombs of the Pharaohs and it is known that it was widely used in Ancient Greece . The Romans brought it to western Europe and it was one of the first plants to travel from Europe to the American continent.
Herbaceous plant that can reach between 40 and 60 cm in height, with green, compound leaves and erect stems. The flowers, arranged in an umbel, are small and white. It grows well in temperate climates and prefers well-draining soils. If we are interested in the seed, it is usually collected during the summer when the fruit has fully matured.
Virtually the entire coriander plant is edible and in some areas the root is consumed, but it is the fresh leaves and dried seeds that are used most widely in cooking.
The ground coriander seeds are widely used in traditional cuisine for its preservative power, they taste sweet and light, and its scent (citrus, like orange peel). For this reason it is widely used in Arab and Asian cuisines, forming part of numerous seasoning mixes such as Curry or Moroccan ras al-hanout .
It is used, together with cumin , to flavor preserves and pickles. It is also used in bakery and pastry products and in vegetable stews such as cabbage, spinach, etc. Essential for “Greek” vegetables.
Ground is used to flavor coffee and chocolate . Lastly, it is an ingredient in some Belgian beers and its essence is used in liqueurs such as Cointreau and Benedictine.
Medicinal properties of coriander
Like all spices and aromatic plants, coriander also has beneficial properties for the body. It contains up to 20% essential oils that act on the digestive system facilitating digestion and relieving constipation, it is also effective against colic and flatulence.
An infusion prepared with slightly crushed fruits has antifungal and antiseptic properties , stimulates the production of breast milk, is a good expectorant, reduces the absorption of “bad” cholesterol and triglycerides (LDL), is a good source of antioxidants, is diuretic and purifying and improves symptoms caused by hormonal changes (menstruation). It strengthens our immune system, mitigates liver failure, and in some places it is used to treat anxiety and insomnia.