Treat Hair, Skin Problems: Health Benefits of Coriander Seeds
It doesn’t matter whether your family is vegetarian or non-vegetarian, or whether you live in India or in Mexico – you’re sure to have coriander seeds in your kitchen!
Coriander, also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley, is botanically called Corianderum sativum. This is no ordinary plant – it’s been around since as far back as 5000 B.C. In fact, it is also reported to be among the plants that grew in the legendary Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Coriander is one plant that is used in totality; right from its leaves to the seeds.
Coriander seeds are actually dried coriander fruit that are tiny like seeds. Golden brown, with tiny ridges on the outer surface and a hollow cavity inside; it is this cavity that contains essential oils which gives it the characteristic aroma and flavour.
The main use of coriander seeds is in cooking, featuring prominently among all major world cuisines. Besides food, coriander is used in traditional medicine like Ayurveda – it is one of the main ingredients of the Ayurvedic medicinal drink called kashayam.
Health Benefits of Coriander Seeds
Coriander seeds are low on vitamins, but they contain significant amounts of dietary fiber, calcium, manganese vitamin-C and iron. They are also rich in antioxidants that can help to flush out the toxins from your body.
Here are a few health benefits of coriander seeds.
1. Relieves Digestive Issues
With its rich dietary fiber, coriander seeds enable food to move through the digestive system regularizing bowel movements. The anti-oxidant properties of the seeds encourage the release of digestive juices. What’s more, coriander seeds relax digestive muscles, relieving pain and gassiness.
2. Prevents Food Poisoning
One of the oldest uses of coriander seeds has been in preventing food poisoning. Dodecenal, a compound found in coriander seeds, has been found to be more effective than antibiotics in treating food borne illnesses, particularly Salmonella.
3. Improves Bone Health
Coriander seeds contain high amounts of bone-friendly minerals like calcium, magnesium and manganese. These help in strengthening the bones, enabling quick recovery as well as preventing bone-related illnesses like osteoporosis.
4. Heals Skin Problems
Coriander’s anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties are great for improving the condition of skin. They help counter common skin issues like rashes, eczema, dryness and itchiness. The linoleic acid in the seeds helps soothe any kind of skin irritation. The anti-oxidants also help in fighting signs of premature ageing like fine lines and wrinkles.
5. Improves Oral Health
In the old days, coriander seeds were chewed to freshen breath and prevent halitosis. But besides this, their benefits go deeper as the citronellol in the seeds help treating mouth sores and ulcers. Several natural toothpaste brands include coriander seeds among its ingredients due to its antiseptic properties.
6. Prevents Diabetes
Coriander seeds are used in Ayurveda to counter sudden spikes in blood sugar, making it a useful way to manage or prevent diabetes. The seeds contain compounds that mimic insulin in the blood, keeping blood sugar levels under control.
7. Relieves Menstrual Issues
These tiny seeds are well known for their role in improving menstrual health. The seeds contain compounds that stimulate the endocrine glands, encouraging them to maintain a proper balance of hormones. This in turn reduces bloating, menstrual cramps, excess flow, and irregular cycles.
8. Strengthens Hair
Along with improving the condition of skin, coriander seeds are also good friends of hair. They work in two ways – by strengthening the hair follicles and controlling hair fall, and by stimulating the scalp for further hair growth.
Tips to Buy and Store Coriander Seeds
Coriander seeds can be bought whole or ground, although the whole version is preferred since the powder loses its flavour quickly. High quality coriander seeds can be identified by squeezing them – they should give out a pleasant peppery flavour. Avoid buying light green seeds – they can be quite bitter.
If you love growing your own herbs, give it a shot. Coriander can be grown and harvested in your own home, as long as there is enough sunlight. The plants need moist and well-drained soil, with a space of about 6-8 inches around them. The seeds can be harvested about 45 days after sowing them, when they’re green and have a little stalk attached to them. Harvested seeds can be stored in a brown paper bag till golden brown, after which they can be transferred to an airtight container.
When stored in a cool, dark place, coriander seeds can last for several months. Ground coriander is better stored in the refrigerator and used up quickly while still fresh.
5 Home Remedies with Coriander Seeds
1. Coriander Tea
This tea is great for digestive troubles like gas, IBS cramps and general indigestion. Consume the tea warm and use good quality seeds for better results.
2. Coriander Water
Coriander water has multiple benefits. It helps keep diabetes in check, while also encouraging weight loss and improving skin and hair health.
3. Massage Oil
The anti-inflammatory properties of coriander seeds help relieve joint pain and makes them feel rejuvenated.
4. Hair Oil
This hair oil helps to nourish the scalp and stimulate the hair follicles for more hair growth.
5. Anti-Acne Mask
This mask helps tackle acne while also soothing and moisturizing the skin while turmeric brings an added glow.
Note: While coriander seeds are largely safe for use, some people with existing food sensitivities to nuts and seeds may have allergic reactions. Excessive intake of coriander can make the skin of some people more sensitive to sunlight, increasing their chances of getting sunburnt. Since coriander seeds help lower blood sugar, those with chronic low blood sugar may have to cut down on their intake.
(Pratibha spent her childhood in idyllic places only fauji kids would have heard of. When she's not rooting for eco-living or whipping up some DIY recipes to share with her readers, Pratibha is creating magic with social media. You can view her blog at www.pratsmusings.com or reach to her on Twitter at @myepica.)