Scientific Name/Common Name: Coriandrum sativum / Coriander (Cilantro)
Part(s) Used: Seed, oil extract, leaf
Constituents/Active Ingredients: Approximately 2-2.6% essential oil consisting of up to 55-74% of linalool, and the remainder including other monoterpenes such as alpha and beta pinene, limonene, gamma-terpinene, p-cymene; anethole; geraniol and camphor. The seeds also contain: 11-21% fixed oil including 4-17% oleic acid, 4-11% petroselinic acid, and 1.3-1.8% linolenic fatty acids; mucilage; and many ubiquitous compounds such as flavonoids; tannins; approximately 20% sugars; 11-17% protein; and starch.
Overview: The seed of coriander is commonly used as a food and spice around the world, especially in India where it is particularly valued for its healing powers as a digestive herb. Coriander seed has been used as a medicine for thousands of years including in ancient Greece, Rome, China, and India, and the same digestive indications are recorded in each tradition. Coriander seed has several medicinal virtues and is listed in the German Commission E Monographs for alleviating digestive complaints and stimulating appetite. The German Pharmacopoeia also recognizes coriander seed as a source of essential oils that can effectively treat mild stomach cramps, flatulence, and colicky symptoms in the intestinal tract. The essential oil is considered spasmolytic, stomachic (stimulates digestive juices and aids digestion), carminative (reduces gas and bloating), and also has antibacterial and antifungal activity. The seed is recommended as a taste enhancer and can counteract the mild cramps accompanying the use of laxatives. Coriander seeds contain approximately 0.4-1.7% linalool (a compound with documented antiseptic, antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and spasmolytic activity) and 0.8-1.4% alpha-pinene (an antimicrobial compound that also helps to loosen bronchial secretions and is classified as an expectorant).
Traditional Use/Benefits/Body Systems: To relieve indigestion, gas, bloating, and cramping; to stimulate appetite and digestion; to enhance taste and flavor of meals.
Clinical Studies/Scientific Research/References:
Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Pp. 75-77. 2000.
Wichtl M (ed). 1994. Coriandri fructus – Coriander (English translation by Norman Grainger Bisset). In Herbal Drugs and Phyto-pharmaceuticals. CRC Press, Stuttgart, pp. 159-160.
Disclaimer: This information in our Herbal Encyclopedia is intended only as a general reference for educational purposes. It is not a replacement for medical advice. This content does not provide dosage information, cautions/contraindications, or possible interactions with prescription drugs. Please consult any relevant product labels for detailed information on use and with a medical practitioner for individual health advice.