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Subheshaja (सुभेषज) – Coriander

Benefits of Coriander

“Mmmm…are you making sambar powder, Aunty?” asked Preethi as she walked into Dr. Radha’s house.

“Very smart of you to guess that, Preethi. The typical spicy smell you’re getting right now is that of coriander seeds and they’re not only full of flavour, but they have several medicinal properties too!”

“I know they are useful for digestion because my mother keeps saying so.”

“She’s right. Traditional medicine systems from across the world have used coriander for its digestive properties, Preethi. One study has found that persons who suffer from Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) experience significant relief from discomfort, bloating and abdominal pain with a herbal medicine containing coriander. Many animal studies show that oil extracted from coriander seeds helps to improve digestion and stimulates the appetite. (1)

“What other benefits does coriander have, Aunty?”

“Coriander has been found to have good anti-diabetic activity. Studies have shown that the seeds, their extracts and oil, all can bring about a significant reduction in the blood glucose levels. Some researchers have found that this effect is because coriander seeds increase the activity of the enzymes that are responsible for breaking down the blood sugar. Other studies in animals have shown that coriander helps to increase the release of insulin and effects of coriander were found to be similar in strength to the effects of an anti-diabetic drug called Glibenclamide.” (2) (3)

“What compounds does coriander contain to make it so valuable, Aunty?”

“There are several ingredient in coriander – essential oil, terpenoids, flavonoids, alkaloids, vitamin A and C, zinc, iron and so on. The essential oil is mainly responsible for its digestive action. The flavonoids like quercetin have a strong antioxidant action; they boost our immune system, and animal studies are showing promising findings of coriander against inflammation and different types of cancer.” (4)

“Wow, that quite a long list, Aunty!”

“Wait, I have more to add, Preethi! Researchers have noticed that in populations that make use of large quantities of coriander, heart disease rates are lower as compared to persons that do not use it. Studies in rats show promising heart-protective functions for coriander, because it tends to increase the HDL ‘good’ cholesterol and lowers the LDL ‘bad’ cholesterol. Some studies also found that coriander extract can behave as a diuretic – a substance that helps to increase the body’s output of urine and sodium, and this can help to lower blood pressure. As you must know, high blood pressure increases the risk of heart disease, so coriander’s BP lowering effect can actually help protect the heart.” (5) (6)

“As research continues on coriander, it is showing promising results as an antimicrobial and brain health protective agent, too. So it’s good our Indian cooking uses coriander in so many of our masalas.”

“Oh! I’d never heard about this! So, every time we eat some dish cooked with coriander, we’re actually protecting our health!”

References

1. Vejdani R, Shalmani HR, Mir-Fattahi M, Sajed-Nia F, Abdollahi M, Zali MR, Mohammad Alizadeh AH, Bahari A, Amin G. The efficacy of an herbal medicine, Carmint, on the relief of abdominal pain and bloating in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a pilot study. Dig Dis Sci. 2006 Aug; 51(8):1501-7. Available online at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16868824/   

2. Chithra V, Leelamma S. Coriandrum sativum – Mechanism of hypoglycemic action. Food Chemistry. 1999; 67 (3); 229-231. Available online at: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0308814699001132 

3.  Aissaoui A, Zizi S, Israili ZH, Lyoussi B. Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of Coriandrum sativum L. in Meriones shawi rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Sep 1;137(1):652-61. Available online at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21718774/ 

4. Zhang CR, Dissanayake AA, Kevseroğlu K, Nair MG. Evaluation of coriander spice as a functional food by using in vitro bioassays. Food Chem. 2015 Jan 15;167:24-9. Available online at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25148954/ 

5. Dhanapakiam P, Joseph JM, Ramaswamy VK, Moorthi M, Kumar AS. The cholesterol lowering property of coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum): mechanism of action. J Environ Biol. 2008 Jan;29(1):53-6. Available online at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18831331/ 
6. Jabeen Q, Bashir S, Lyoussi B, Gilani AH. Coriander fruit exhibits gut modulatory, blood pressure lowering and diuretic activities. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Feb 25;122(1):123-30. Available online at: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19146935/

Disclaimer: The article is not a medical prescription. It is only for information. The opinion expressed are of the author.

Anusuya Kashi

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