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Coriander (Coriandrum Sativum)

For thousands of years, both the leaves and seeds of this fragrant herb have been used for medicinal purposes. For instance, as far back as the 10th Century BC, the Egyptians were including coriander seeds in burial offerings. The ancient Greeks believed the seed to be an aphrodisiac and thought adding them to white wine increased a man's sperm count. In ancient china, coriander was thought to promote immortality. Less dramatic uses included stimulating appetite and improving digestion-remedies still relied upon today. Today, in addition to its health benefits, coriander is a popular cooking herb. Often added to Indian curry spices, the seeds add a warm, sweet flavour to dishes. Mostly used in Asian and southwestern cooking, the fresh leaves known as cilantro-lend a pungent, citrusy taste.

Coriander for bad breath
Chewing coriander seeds to cure bad breath is a remedy that dates back to biblical Palestine. Today, coriander seeds are often an ingredient in many breath freshners because their essential oils help to kill breath odors. You can also simply chew a few seeds for a minute or so and then spit them out. If you gather seeds from plants in your garden, be sure to use only those that are mature-those that are tan or brown and have a sweet fragrance similar to lily of the valley's. In contrast, unripe coriander seeds are green.

Therapeutic Effect
The essential oil in coriander seeds has many capabilities. It relieves spasms, promotes digestion and alleviates flatulence. Because the seeds also contribute energy on a psychic level, they can help migraines-but not common headaches. In additional, coriander is said to increase the ability to express emotions and thoughts. An old folk remedy for wounds is to apply fresh cilantro leaves to the affected areas.

The seeds contain an essential oil comprised of 60 -70% linalool, as well as gerniol, geranul acetate, orneol, decyladehyde and phellandrene. They also contain tannins, vitamic C, protein, fatty acids, gamma-sitosterine, umbelliferone and limonene. Potassium and a little vitamin C are found in the leaves.

Coriander tea for flatulence
Pour 1 cup of boiling water over 2 teaspoons of crushed coriander seeds, steep for 10 mins. Drink 1 cup when need to dispel gas.

Extra Tip : To relieve migraine headaches, drink lightly sweetened coriander tea twice a day. To make the tea, bring 2 cups of water and ½ tbsp; of crushed coriander seeds to a boil, tehn simmer the mixture for 10 min. strain and sweeten with honey.

Cilantro Spread

  • 2 tsp. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 cup plain low fat yogurt
  • Pinch of chilli powder
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  1. In a small bowl, thoroughly mix the cilantro, yogurt and chilli powder
  2. Season the yogurt mixture with salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
  3. Cover the mixture with plastic wrap, and place it in the refrigerator for a few hrs or overnight to allow the flavors to blend.
  4. Use as a topping for fish, as a dip for fresh vegetables or as a spread for bread
A Digestive Aid
Mix ½ tsp. coriander with ½ tsp. of any of the following; angelica, anise, chamomile, fennel, ginger or rosemary. Add 1tsp. of marjoram or peppermint. Steep the herbal mixture overnight in the refrigerator in a combination of 1 cup water and a shot of vodka.

A love Potion
Were the ancient Greeks right in believing that coriander is an aphrodisiac? There's no strong evidence for this, but you might want to do a bit of experimenting. To make the potion, add 3 tsp. of crushed coriander seeds to 1 qt. of red wine. Seal the bottle tightly and allow the wine to steep in a cool place for 1 week. Shake the mixture and then strain. Drink 4-6 oz. at a time.

Kitchen Hints

  • Buy whole coriander seeds, because once coriander is ground, most of the essential oil disspates immediately. Crush the seeds yourself with a mortar and pestle just before using.
  • Toast coriander seeds in an ungreased skillet on the stove top before you crush them to intensify their flavour. Or put them in a toaster oven on medium heat for a few minutes. Watch the seeds closely so they don't burn.
  • Use coriander seeds to season soups, eggs, marinades for poultry, beef and fish, salad dressings, potatoes, beets and onions. Coriander seeds are also often added to liqueurs and to chocolate.
  • Add coriander seeds when baking bread and rolls to give them a spicy taste and aroma.
  • Try fresh cilantro with all types of beans, tomatoes, mushrooms, fish, salads and guacamole.
  • Store fresh cilantro as you would parsley. Sprinkle it with cold water, wrap it in a paper towel, place inside a plastic bag and refrigerate. Or refrigerate the herbs with the stems in water.