Coriander is an herb that’s commonly used to flavor international dishes.
It comes from the Coriandrum sativum plant and is related to parsley, carrots, and celery.
In the United States, Coriandrum sativum seeds are called coriander, while its leaves are called cilantro. In other parts of the world, they’re called coriander seeds and coriander leaves. The plant is also known as Chinese parsley.
Many people use coriander in dishes like soups and salsas, as well as Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian meals like curries and masalas. Coriander leaves are often used whole, whereas the seeds are used dried or ground.
To prevent confusion, this article refers to the specific parts of the Coriandrum sativum plant.
Here are 8 impressive health benefits of coriander.
Coriander seeds, extract, and oils may all help lower blood sugar. In fact, people who have low blood sugar or take diabetes medication should practice caution with coriander because it’s so effective in lowering blood sugar.
A study in rats with obesity and high blood sugar found that a single dose (9.1 mg per pound of body weight or 20 mg per kg) of coriander seed extract decreased blood sugar by 4 mmol/L in 6 hours, similar to the effects of the blood sugar medication glibenclamide (
A similar study found that the same dosage of coriander seed extract lowered blood sugar and increased insulin release in rats with diabetes, compared with control animals (
Coriander may lower blood sugar by activating certain enzymes. In fact, it’s powerful enough that people with low blood sugar should use it cautiously.
Coriander offers several antioxidants, which prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals.
Coriander is full of antioxidants that demonstrate immune-boosting, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects.
Coriander extract appears to act as a diuretic, helping your body flush excess sodium and water. This may lower your blood pressure (
Some research indicates that coriander may help lower cholesterol as well. One study found that rats given coriander seeds experienced a significant decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol (
What’s more, many people find that eating pungent herbs and spices like coriander helps them reduce their sodium intake, which may improve heart health.
In populations that consume large amounts of coriander, among other spices, rates of heart disease tend to be lower — especially compared with people on the Western diet, which packs more salt and sugar (
Coriander may protect your heart by lowering blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. A spice-rich diet appears to be associated with a lower risk of heart disease.
Coriander’s anti-inflammatory properties may safeguard against these diseases.
One rat study found that coriander extract protected against nerve-cell damage following drug-induced seizures, likely due to its antioxidant properties (
Coriander may also help manage anxiety.
Animal studies demonstrate that coriander extract is nearly as effective as Diazepam, a common anxiety medication, at reducing symptoms of this condition (
Keep in mind that human research is needed.
The antioxidants in coriander may reduce brain inflammation, improve memory, and reduce anxiety symptoms, though more research is needed.
One 8-week study in 32 people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) found that 30 drops of a coriander-containing herbal medication taken thrice daily significantly decreased abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort, compared with a placebo group (
Coriander may reduce unpleasant digestive symptoms like bloating and discomfort often experienced by people with IBS. It may also boost appetite among some people.
Coriander contains antimicrobial compounds that may help fight certain infections and foodborne illnesses.
Coriander exhibits antimicrobial effects that may help fight foodborne illnesses and pathogens like Salmonella.
Coriander may have several skin benefits, including for mild rashes like dermatitis.
Furthermore, many people utilize coriander leaf juice for skin conditions like acne, pigmentation, oiliness, or dryness. Nonetheless, research on these uses is lacking.
Coriander contains antioxidants that may protect your skin from aging and sun damage. It may also help treat mild skin rashes.
All parts of the Coriandrum sativum plant are edible, but its seeds and leaves taste very different. While coriander seeds have an earthy flavor, the leaves are pungent and citrus-like — though some people find that they taste like soap.
Whole seeds can be added to baked goods, pickled vegetables, rubs, roasted vegetables, and cooked lentil dishes. Warming them releases their aroma, following which they can be ground for use in pastes and doughs.
Meanwhile, coriander leaves — also called cilantro — are best to garnish soup or use in cold pasta salads, lentils, fresh tomato salsa, or Thai noodle dishes. You can also purée them with garlic, peanuts, coconut milk, and lemon juice to make a paste for burritos, salsa, or marinades.
Coriander seeds and leaves both come in handy for everyday cooking but offer very different flavors that determine their best uses.
Coriander is a fragrant, antioxidant-rich herb that has many culinary uses and health benefits.
It may help lower your blood sugar, fight infections, and promote heart, brain, skin, and digestive health.
You can easily add coriander seeds or leaves — sometimes known as cilantro — to your diet.
Keep in mind that many of the above studies use concentrated extracts, making it difficult to know how much coriander seeds or leaves you would need to eat to reap the same benefits.