Fragrant coriander

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is a delightful herb, with a lovely delicate fragrance popular in many areas of the world. In particular, it is found in Asian, Mediterranean and Latin American cuisine. Medicinally, Coriander is used primarily as a digestive herb, to relieve intestinal bloating and griping. It also has anticancer properties, is beneficial for oestrogen and androgen health, also for binding heavy metals. Its oil is an appetite stimulant, and can increase secretion of gastric juices.Coriander.1

Evidence for the use of Coriander can be found as far back as Neolithic times. There are also records of the Ancient Greeks having cultivated it from 2nd century BC. It was used both for cooking and the manufacture of perfumes.


Apart from being an invaluable digestive herb, Coriander is also being investigated as a treatment for bacterial infection. One research study found it to be effective on all bacteria tested. Its mode of action is thought to involve the cell membrane which it ruptures, effectively terminating the cell. [1]

Another research study looked at the effect of Coriander on diabetic rats. It was found that compared to the control group, the diabetic rats showed a significant reduction in blood glucose levels when treated with an extract of Coriander seed. Not only were the blood glucose levels lower, but the pancreatic beta cells showed a greater secretion of insulin. These actions occurring together show great promise for further treatment and investigation into the promotion of healthy insulin release and blood glucose levels.[2]

A component of Coriander – carnosol, has shown to be highly regulatory for oestrogen receptors, therefore making it breast and ovarian cancer protective, however it was also very effective on androgen receptors and therefore protective against prostate cancer. [3]

Like many other herbs, Coriander contains antioxidants, which promote healthy ageing and prevent oxidative damage to cells and their DNA. It has also been shown to reduce blood lipid levels (including triglycerides) by increasing secretion of bile from the liver.

 Culinary use

Coriander is a versatile herb and can be used in sweet and savoury dishes. It goes very well with mushrooms, and in stir frys and curries. As a flavour enhancer and garnish, it can be used in meatballs, burgers, and is lovely and refreshing in a summer salad.


[1] Silva, F et al. Coriander (Coriander sativum L.) Essential Oil: It’s antibacterial activity and mode of action evaluated by flow cytometry. J Med Microbiol. 2011 Oct;60(Pt 10):1479-86

[2] Eidi, M et al. Effect of coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum L.) ethanol extract on insulin release from pancreatic beta cells in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):404-6

[3]Johnson, J.J et al. Disruption of androgen and estrogen receptor activity in prostate cancer by a novel dietary diterpene carnosol: implications for chemoprevention. Cancer Prev Res (Phila). Sep 2010; 3(9): 1112–1123.