What is Coriander?
Coriander is probably native to the Middle East and southern Europe, but has also been known in Asia and the Orient for millennia. It is found wild in Egypt and the Sudan, and sometimes in English fields. It is referred to in the Bible in the books of Exodus and Numbers, where the color of 'manna' is compared to coriander. The seed is now produced in Russia, India, South America, North Africa - especially Morocco - and in Holland.
It was introduced to Britain by the Romans, who used it in cookery and medicine, and was widely used in English cookery until the Renaissance, when the new exotic spices appeared. Among ancient doctors, coriander was known to Hippocratic, and to Pliny who called it coriandrum for its 'buggy' smell, coris being a bug, or perhaps because the young seed resembles Cimex lectularius, the European bed-bug. Coriander is the seed of a small plant. The seeds are almost spherical, one end being slightly pointed, the other slightly flattened. There are many longitudinal ridges. The length of the seed is 3 - 5 mm (1/8" - 3/16") and the color, when dried, is usually brown, but may be green or off white.
The seed is generally sold dried and in this state is apt to split into halves to reveal two partially hollow hemispheres and occasionally some internal powdery matter. Coriander is available both whole and ground. The fresh leaves of the plant are called cilantro and are used as an herb.
Seeds are sweet and aromatic when ripe. Unripe seeds are said to have an offensive smell. The leaves have a distinctive fragrance.
The seeds are warm, mild and sweetish. There is a citrus undertone similar to orange peel. The leaves combine well with many pungent dishes from India, Mexico and the Middle East.
Coriander Oil Benefits:
Coriander oil is an aromatic stimulant, a carminative (remedial in flatulence), an appetizer and a digestant stimulating the stomach and intestines. It is generally beneficial to the nervous system. Its main use is in masking foul medicines, especially purgatives, where it has anti-griping qualities. Coriander cakes were once taken against 'St. Anthony's fire', or 'Rose' a severe streptococcal skin infection called 'erysipelas', which caused many deaths before the advent of antibiotics. In Asia the herb is used against piles, headache and swellings; the fruit in colic, piles and conjunctivitis, the essential oil in colic, rheumatism and neuralgia, the seeds as a paste for mouth ulceration and a poultice for other ulcers. Recent studies have supported its use as a stomach soother for both adults and colicky babies. Coriander contains an antioxidant that helps prevent animal fats from turning rancid. It also contains substances that kill meat-spoiling bacteria and fungi. 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. Sprinkle some coriander Seed on minor cuts and scrapes after thoroughly washing the injured area with soap and water. Intriguing new studies suggest that coriander has anti-inflammatory effects. Since the pain of arthritis is cause by inflammation coriander oil may help you.
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