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Coriander

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum)

While some complementary and alternative techniques have been studied scientifically, high-quality data regarding safety, effectiveness, and mechanism of action are limited or controversial for most therapies. Whenever possible, it is recommended that practitioners be licensed by a recognized professional organization that adheres to clearly published standards. In addition, before starting a new technique or engaging a practitioner, it is recommended that patients speak with their primary healthcare provider(s). Potential benefits, risks (including financial costs), and alternatives should be carefully considered. The below monograph is designed to provide historical background and an overview of clinically-oriented research, and neither advocates for or against the use of a particular therapy.

Related Terms

  • Apiaceae (family), carotenoids, Chinese parsley, coentro (Portuguese), coriander, Coriandi fructus, Coriandrum sativum, dhania (Indian), ko-en-do-ro (Japanese), koriander, Mexican coriander, Umbelliferae (family).

  • Combination product: Carmint (Melissa officinalis, Mentha spicata, Coriandrum sativum).

  • Note: This monograph includes information about the coriander plant, the seed, the fruit, coriander spice, and coriander essential oil. It does not include information about cilantro, the leaf of the coriander plant.

Background

  • Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual herb in the Apiaceae family. The leaves are also called coriander leaves, Chinese parsley, or cilantro. “Coriander” refers to both the plant itself and the spice produced from coriander seeds.

  • Recipes that call for “fresh coriander” are referring to the leaves (cilantro). Both coriander and cilantro are commonly used in soups, salads, dressings, salsa, and chutney. The leaves are used in curry and guacamole. The roots are used in some Thai recipes. The seeds are used to produce the well-known coriander spice.

  • Ground coriander seed has a distinctive taste, like that of citrus and sage combined. It is quite versatile and can be used in desserts and sweet pastries, Indian curries, meat and seafood dishes, stews, and marinades. It is often used in recipes from Southeast Asia, especially Thailand, as well as China, Mexico, eastern India, South America, and southern Spain.

  • Limited research suggests that coriander may help treat constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as improve vision, digestion, blood sugar, and cholesterol. However, more evidence is needed before conclusions can be made regarding the use of coriander for any medical condition.

Scientific Evidence

Uses

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.

C Constipation

Preliminary studies show that combining standard treatment with coriander tea may treat chronic constipation. More evidence is needed regarding the use of coriander for this condition.

C Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

There is preliminary evidence that suggests a combination product containing coriander may be effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome. Further research is needed.

*Key to grades:

Tradition

The below uses are based on tradition or scientific theories. They often have not been thoroughly tested in humans, and safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious and should be evaluated by a qualified health care professional.

  • Abdominal colic (stomach discomfort), acne, anorexia, anthelmintic (antiparasite), antidepressant, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antineoplastic (anticancer), antioxidant, anxiety, aphrodisiac, appetite stimulant, aromatherapy, aromatic, arthritis, cancer, circulation, colds, deodorant, diabetes, diarrhea, digestive, dizziness, elimination of toxins (chelating agent), eye problems, fever reducer, flatulence, flavoring agent, flu, food uses, fragrance, gastrointestinal disorders, gout, heart disorders, hemorrhoids, hepatitis, hernia, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, hyperglycemia (high blood sugar), indigestion, infections, insecticide, insomnia, labor induction, laxative, long-term debility, measles, mental performance, migraine, mood enhancement, multiple sclerosis, muscle pain, muscle spasms, nausea, nerve pain, nervous exhaustion, pain relief, poor circulation, rheumatism, sedative, skin infections, stiffness, stimulant, stomach cramps, stomachache, sunstroke (heat stroke), temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), tonic, ulcers, urinary difficulties, vision, vitamin A deficiency, wounds.

Dosing

The below doses are based on scientific research, publications, traditional use, or expert opinion. Many herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested, and safety and effectiveness may not be proven. Brands may be made differently, with variable ingredients, even within the same brand. The below doses may not apply to all products. You should read product labels, and discuss doses with a qualified healthcare provider before starting therapy.

Adults (18 years and older)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for coriander in adults.

Children (under 18 years old)

  • There is no proven safe or effective dose for coriander in children.

Safety

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not strictly regulate herbs and supplements. There is no guarantee of strength, purity or safety of products, and effects may vary. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy. Consult a healthcare provider immediately if you experience side effects.

Allergies

  • Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to coriander, its parts, or members of the Apiaceae family. Avoid if allergic or sensitive to mugwort or birch pollen, celery, caraway, fennel, garlic, onion, anise, or dill.

Side Effects and Warnings

  • Coriander is likely safe when used in moderation in foods. Most reported side effects occurred in people with allergies or sensitivities to coriander.

  • Drowsiness or sedation may occur. Use caution if driving or operating heavy machinery.

  • Coriander may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that lower blood pressure.

  • Coriander may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised in people with diabetes or hypoglycemia, and in those taking drugs, herbs, or supplements that affect blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may need to be monitored by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.

  • Coriander may cause skin inflammation and hives when touched.

  • Coriander may cause asthma, cough, chest tightness, dry and irritated throat, genital tract infection, inflammation of the eyes, liver problems, lung spasms, narcotic effects, or rhinitis (inflammation of the nose).

  • Use cautiously in people with excessive sun exposure. Coriander may increase sensitivity to light.

  • Avoid in people with a known allergy or sensitivity to coriander, its parts, or members of the Apiaceae family. Avoid if allergic or sensitive to mugwort or birch pollen, celery, caraway, fennel, garlic, onion, anise, or dill.

Pregnancy and Breastfeeding

  • Use cautiously in pregnant or breastfeeding women. Coriander is likely safe when eaten in amounts generally found in foods in nonallergic women. There is currently a lack of scientific evidence on the use of coriander during pregnancy or breastfeeding.

Interactions

Most herbs and supplements have not been thoroughly tested for interactions with other herbs, supplements, drugs, or foods. The interactions listed below are based on reports in scientific publications, laboratory experiments, or traditional use. You should always read product labels. If you have a medical condition, or are taking other drugs, herbs, or supplements, you should speak with a qualified healthcare provider before starting a new therapy.

Interactions with Drugs

  • Coriander may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using medications that may also lower blood sugar. People taking insulin or drugs for diabetes by mouth should be monitored closely by a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist. Medication adjustments may be necessary.

  • Coriander may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking drugs that lower blood pressure.

  • Coriander may interfere with the way the body processes certain drugs using the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of these drugs may be increased in the blood and may cause increased effects or potentially serious adverse reactions. People using any medications should check the package insert and speak with a qualified healthcare professional, including a pharmacist, about possible interactions.

  • Coriander may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some drugs. Examples include benzodiazepines such as lorazepam (Ativan®) or diazepam (Valium®), barbiturates such as phenobarbital, narcotics such as codeine, some antidepressants, and alcohol. Caution is advised while driving or operating machinery.

  • Coriander may also interact with agents for liver damage, agents that may increase light sensitivity, agents that remove heavy metals, antibiotics, anticancer agents, antifungal agents, anti-inflammatory agents, antiparasitic agents, cholesterol-lowering agents, diuretics, fertility agents, gastrointestinal agents, laxatives, and muscle relaxants.

Interactions with Herbs and Dietary Supplements

  • Coriander may lower blood sugar levels. Caution is advised when using herbs or supplements that may also lower blood sugar. Blood glucose levels may require monitoring, and doses may need adjustment.

  • Coriander may cause low blood pressure. Caution is advised in people taking herbs or supplements that lower blood pressure.

  • Coriander may interfere with the way the body processes certain herbs or supplements using the liver’s cytochrome P450 enzyme system. As a result, the levels of other herbs or supplements may become too high in the blood. It may also alter the effects that other herbs or supplements possibly have on the cytochrome P450 system.

  • Coriander may increase the amount of drowsiness caused by some herbs or supplements.

  • Coriander may also interact with antibacterial herbs and supplements, anticancer herbs and supplements, antifungal herbs and supplements, anti-inflammatory herbs and supplements, antioxidants, antiparasitic herbs and supplements, cholesterol-lowering herbs and supplements, diuretic herbs and supplements, gastrointestinal herbs and supplements, herbs and supplements for liver damage, herbs and supplements that may increase light sensitivity, herbs and supplements that may promote fertility, herbs and supplements that may remove heavy metals, laxatives, and muscle relaxants.

Author Information

  • This information is based on a systematic review of scientific literature edited and peer-reviewed by contributors to the Natural Standard Research Collaboration (www.naturalstandard.com).

References

Natural Standard developed the above evidence-based information based on a thorough systematic review of the available scientific articles. For comprehensive information about alternative and complementary therapies on the professional level, go to www.naturalstandard.com. Selected references are listed below.

  1. Aga, M., Iwaki, K., Ueda, Y., Ushio, S., Masaki, N., Fukuda, S., Kimoto, T., Ikeda, M., and Kurimoto, M. Preventive effect of Coriandrum sativum (Chinese parsley) on localized lead deposition in ICR mice. J Ethnopharmacol. 2001;77(2-3):203-208. View Abstract
  2. Burdock, G. A. and Carabin, I. G. Safety assessment of coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) essential oil as a food ingredient. Food Chem.Toxicol 2009;47(1):22-34. View Abstract
  3. Chithra, V. and Leelamma, S. Coriandrum sativum–effect on lipid metabolism in 1,2-dimethyl hydrazine induced colon cancer. J Ethnopharmacol. 2000;71(3):457-463. View Abstract
  4. Cloyd, R. A., Galle, C. L., Keith, S. R., Kalscheur, N. A., and Kemp, K. E. Effect of commercially available plant-derived essential oil products on arthropod pests. J Econ.Entomol. 2009;102(4):1567-1579. View Abstract
  5. Emamghoreishi, M., Khasaki, M., and Aazam, M. F. Coriandrum sativum: evaluation of its anxiolytic effect in the elevated plus-maze. J Ethnopharmacol. 1-15-2005;96(3):365-370. View Abstract
  6. Garcia-Gonzalez, J. J., Bartolome-Zavala, B., Fernandez-Melendez, S., Barcelo-Munoz, J. M., Miranda, Paez A., Carmona-Bueno, M. J., Vega-Chicote, J. M., Negro Carrasco, M. A., Ameal, Godoy A., and Pamies, Espinosa R. Occupational rhinoconjunctivitis and food allergy because of aniseed sensitization. Ann.Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2002;88(5):518-522. View Abstract
  7. Gray, A. M. and Flatt, P. R. Insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity of the traditional anti-diabetic plant Coriandrum sativum (coriander). Br.J Nutr. 1999;81(3):203-209. View Abstract
  8. Jabeen, Q., Bashir, S., Lyoussi, B., and Gilani, A. H. Coriander fruit exhibits gut modulatory, blood pressure lowering and diuretic activities. J Ethnopharmacol. 2-25-2009;122(1):123-130. View Abstract
  9. Josimovic, L. and Cudina, I. Spectrophotometric analysis of irradiated spices. Int J Rad.Appl.Instrum.A 1987;38(4):269-274. View Abstract
  10. Moneret-Vautrin, D. A., Morisset, M., Lemerdy, P., Croizier, A., and Kanny, G. Food allergy and IgE sensitization caused by spices: CICBAA data (based on 589 cases of food allergy). Allerg.Immunol.(Paris) 2002;34(4):135-140. View Abstract
  11. Shellard, E. J. [Remarks on coriander oil. Comparison of coriander oils in the Polish (F.P.3) and British (B.P.1963) pharmacopeias]. Acta Pol.Pharm 1967;24(2):183-192. View Abstract
  12. Srinivasan, K. Plant foods in the management of diabetes mellitus: spices as beneficial antidiabetic food adjuncts. Int.J Food Sci.Nutr. 2005;56(6):399-414. View Abstract
  13. van Toorenenbergen, A. W. and Dieges, P. H. Immunoglobulin E antibodies against coriander and other spices. J Allergy Clin Immunol. 1985;76(3):477-481. View Abstract
  14. Verma P, Sen NL. The impact of plant growth regulators on growth and biochemical constituents of coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.). Journal of Herbs, Spices & Medicinal Plants 2008;14(3-4):144-153.
  15. Wadhwa A, Singh A Mittal A Sharma S. Dietary intervention to control vitamin A deficiency in seven- to twelve-year-old children. Food and Nutrition Bulletin 1994;53:53-56.

The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.