You know those green leaves packed with flavor (and nutrients!) that you commonly consume in guacamole? That’s cilantro. Coriander is a seed spice that’s been cultivated since ancient times and comes from the same plant that gives us beneficial cilantro leaves. Don’t be alarmed if this doesn’t ring a bell. These seeds might not be as well-known unless perhaps you’re a lover of curries and masalas, which include coriander as an integral ingredient.
Coriander is an annual herb also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley. When the leaves are used in their fresh form, we commonly refer to this herb as cilantro. The dried seeds are what we know as coriander, and they’ve been used as a culinary spice and food-poisoning preventative agent for ages. As a spice, it’s either sold whole or ground with a flavor similar to a blend of lemon, sage and caraway. Sounds interesting, right?
These seeds not only offer a unique and intriguing flavor profile, but their consumption has also been shown to blood flow and heart health as well as to calm serious digestive problems like IBS. That’s because coriander contains a multitude of bioactives that lead to a wide array of pharmacological activities, including its ability to act as an antimicrobial, anti-epileptic, antidepressant, antimutagenic, anti-inflammatory and anxiety inhibitor. It’s also been shown to help lower cholesterol, blood pressure and blood sugar naturally!
Health Benefits of Coriander Seeds
1. Lower Blood Sugar
Coriander seeds and essential oil both have blood sugar-lowering effects on the human body. The effect is actually so therapeutic and likely that people who suffer from low blood sugar or take blood sugar-lowering medicine are warned to be careful with using coriander products.
If you’re looking to naturally treat diabetes and lower you blood sugar, you should start having more coriander in your daily diet. Multiple animal studies have backed up this notion and show that it can help stimulate the secretion of insulin and lower blood sugar. One study showed that coriander improved carbohydrate metabolism and increased hypoglycemic action. (2) Hopefully there will be more human studies soon, but either way, many people have experienced the antidiabetic effects of this spice for ages.
The essential oil has dual blood glucose-lowering effects in diabetes as well. It works both by enhancing the secretion of insulin from the pancreas and exhibiting insulin-like activity at the cellular level. You can combine two to three drops of coriander essential oil with a carrier oil and put it on the soles of your feet daily. Some people also like to apply this same mixture to the pancreas area at night with a warm compress.
2. Ease Digestive Discomfort
Why does coriander makes such a great digestive aid? Researchers have found that it works like an antispasmodic drug, relaxing contracted digestive muscles that cause the discomfort of IBS and other problematic gut disorders.
A study published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences studied 32 people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a chronic digestive complaint affecting 20 percent of Americans today. The study evaluated the effects of taking a preparation containing coriander versus taking a placebo. After eight weeks, those taking the coriander preparation had significantly lower severity and frequency of abdominal pain and discomfort. They also had less severity and frequency of bloated stomach compared to the placebo group.
3. Decrease Blood Pressure
For people suffering with hypertension, consuming this spice has been shown to reduce blood pressure. Not only does it help positively modulate gut activity, but it also has a diuretic effect on the body, which is very helpful to people suffering from high blood pressure. When you treat high blood pressure, you also decrease your risk of serious and deadly conditions like blood clots and strokes.
4. Fight Food Poisoning
Several studies suggest that coriander is among several herbs that have strong antimicrobial effects against food-borne pathogens. When you use it in your cooking, you actually add an additional layer of protection against the risk of food poisoning.
Coriander actually contains an antibacterial compound that may specifically fight against Salmonella, which is responsible for 1 million food-borne illnesses in the U.S. every year. A study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry specifically showed its antibacterial activity against Salmonella choleraesuis. Coriander contains high levels of dodecenal, a natural compound that’s actually twice as powerful of an antibiotic than the leading treatment for salmonella-based illness. By adding this spice into your diet, you can guard yourself against uncomfortable or even fatal food poisoning.
5. Improve Cholesterol Levels
Studies have shown that by incorporating coriander into your diet you can decrease your levels of bad cholesterol. In one animal experiment, a significant decrease in bad cholesterol or LDL and an increase in healthy cholesterol or HDL was shown among subjects who were administered coriander seeds. So you’re looking to lower cholesterol overall and balance LDL to HDL cholesterol, this spice may help do the trick.
6. Help Urinary Tract Infections
Coriander seeds are helpful in relieving symptoms of a urinary tract infection or UTI. Simply soak 1.5 teaspoons of dried coriander seeds overnight in two cups of water. Strain and drink, or just add to your morning smoothie. It helps relieve the discomfort and pain associated with the UTI and helps speed overall healing.
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