encyclopedia

Coriander Seed

Scientific Names:    

Coriandrum sativum L. [Fam. Apiaceae]    
 
   
Forms:    

Dried whole coriander seed; coriander seed oil extract    
     

Traditional Usage:    

– Amenorrhea
– Antimicrobial
– Antioxidant
– Bone and Joint Conditions (externally)
– Breathing Problems
– Cramps (stomach)
– Diarrhea
– Dyspepsia
– Flatulence
– Gastritis (sub-acid)
– Gastrointestinal Upsets
– Indigestion
– Stomachaches
– Vermifuge     
     
    
Overview:    

The seed of coriander, Coriandrum sativum L. [Fam. Apiaceae], 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). Dr. James Duke reports that the seeds contain five different compounds that can help to ease people with breathing difficulties. Coriander seed tea is also recognized by herbalists to prevent hormonal imbalances and treat menstrual difficulties in young women including amenorrhea. Folk use of coriander seed includes use against intestinal worms and as a component of compresses for sore and aching joints; but these uses have not been validated scientifically. Coriander has been reported to have strong lipid lowering effects and in one recent study was shown to play a protective role against the deleterious effects of lipid metabolism in experimental colon abnormal growths.    
     
    
Active Ingredients:    

Coriander Seeds contain: 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 characteristic scent of the unripe seeds and the mature herb is trans-Tridec-2-en-1-al. 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; 3-ketoacyl-ACP synthase; coumarins; 5- and 8-methoxypsoralen and imperatorin; mucilage; and many ubiquitous compounds such as flavonoids; tannins; approximately 20% sugars; 11-17% protein; and starch.    
     
    
Suggested Amount:    

The daily dose of coriander seed is 3g of the dried seed or crushed seeds taken directly or as an infusion. To prepare an infusion: Pour approximately 150ml of boiling water over 1-2 teaspoonfuls of crushed and powdered coriander seed, cover and after about 10-15 minutes pass through a tea strainer. Unless otherwise prescribed, a moderately warm cup of the freshly prepared infusion is drunk between meals two to four times a day. Tinctures (1g coriander seed per 5ml tincture abbreviated as 1:5) and fluidextracts (1:1) of coriander seed are taken corresponding to the above daily dosage.    
     
    
Drug Interactions:    

One author reports interactions of coriander seed products with diabetes medicines (hypoglycemics, examples: insulin, Glucophage(R) metformin, DiaBeta(R) Glynase(R) glyburide, Glucotrol(R) glipizide).    
     
    
Contraindications:    

None known    
     
    
Side Effects:    

Allergic reactions are possible in susceptible persons. The plant and seed also contain several photoactive compounds and therefore extracts should not be used in quantity or applied externally before going in the sun or getting prolonged exposure to high UV levels. High dosages of coriander seed (above the recommended therapeutic dosages and culinary levels used in Indian cooking) for a prolonged duration are reported by some authors to cause liver damage. Side effects associated with overdose include: Breathing problems or tightness in your throat or chest, chest pain, skin hives, rash, or itchy or swollen skin. Coriander is also reported to lower blood sugar and therefore may interfere with existing hypo- or hyperglycemic therapies.    
     
    
References:    

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Copyright American Botanical Council. Publ. by Integrative Medicine Communications, 1029 Chestnut Street, Newton, MA 02464. Pp. 75-77.
 
Chithra V V, Leelamma S. 2000. Coriandrum sativum – effect on lipid metabolism in 1,2-dimethyl hydrazine induced colon cancer. J Ethnopharmacol 2000 Aug; 71(3): 457-463.
 
Duke, J. 1997: The Green Pharmacy, The Ultimate Compendium of Natural Remedies from the World's Foremost Authority on Healing and Herbs. pp. 53; 82; 106-107; 336-337. Rodale Press.
 
Mekhedov S, Cahoon EB, Ohlrogge J. 2001. An unusual seed-specific 3-ketoacyl-ACP synthase associated with the biosynthesis of petroselinic acid in coriander. Plant Mol Biol 2001 Nov; 47(4): 507-18.
 
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.