The sound of the pestle to mortar and the aroma of herbs and spices may conjure up images of a mystic land of sages and spiritualism, or probably the kitchen of your local Indian restaurant for those of who are slightly less imaginative. And if you’re thinking of Indian food, you’re probably thinking of the aroma-rich spices and herbs that are so widely used in Indian food. These spices and herbs may lend in huge amounts to the signature taste of Indian food, but we’re here to tell you that the stuff is good for more than being just a garnish or a taste-enhancer in an Indian dish. If we’ve got you wondering why exactly we’re talking about Indian spices and herbs, it’s because we’re writing this article to focus on and give some overdue credit to one very underrated herb oil in particular. Welcome to an article about the benefits and uses of coriander seed oil!
Coriander, also cilantro, Chinese parsley, or dhania, is an annual herb that is wholly edible (roots, seeds, leaves and flowers) and is most traditionally used in cooking. Contrary to popular belief, the earliest forms of coriander originated in second millennium BC Greece, growing wildly in many regions from western Asia to southern Europe.
More Than Just a Garnish!
The fact that coriander is used in cooking worldwide is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits and uses of the herb. Coriander is also widely endorsed for its many health benefits, playing a key role in the treatment of skin inflammation, ulcers, indigestion, menstrual disorders, smallpox, conjunctivitis and blood sugar disorders. The many positive qualities of coriander leaves can also be found in coriander seed oil, boosting its popularity in the western world.
Coriander seed oil is extracted from the seed (fruit) of coriander, scientifically known as “coriandrum sativum”. The many compounds it contains (such as borneol, cineole, cymene, dipentene, linalool, phellandrene, pinene, and terpineol) give it its therapeutic qualities. Coriander is an excellent source of flavonoids and phytonutrients, calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, folic acid, riboflavin (vitamin B2), niacin (vitamin B3), beta carotene (pro-vitamin A) and vitamin K. In addition to this, coriander also has strong liver supporting properties.
The Many Benefits of Coriander Seed Oil
Known as the “gateway to health”, coriander seed oil has the following health-related benefits:
- Lipolytic: Coriander seed oil is a lipolytic, meaning that it encourages lipolysis or the process wherein fats and cholesterol are broken down (also known as the “hydrolysis of lipids”). What this means, especially for those who have been fighting a losing battle with weight gain, is that the faster the lipolysis, the quicker the weight loss. It also helps in maintaining a good metabolic rate. Thus, coriander seed oil is a great, natural way to lose weight.
- Carminative: As a carminative, coriander seed oil helps relieve any gas buildup in your body, which left untreated can cause severe pain in the stomach and chest regions. A teaspoon of coriander oil goes a long way in eliminating excess gas from your system and prevents the formation of additional gases.
- Analgesic: An analgesic is a pain-reducing agent, and coriander oil is a great analgesic due to the presence of compounds like Terpineol and Terpinolene in it. Thus, coriander oil can help relieve toothaches, headaches, joint and muscle pain, headaches, and even pain resulting from injuries. It does this by numbing the affected area.
- Depurative: Coriander seed oil is a great depurative, meaning that it detoxifies your blood, cleansing it of any toxins that might be present, such as uric acid, certain compounds and hormones, foreign toxins that enter the blood and heavy metals.
- Aphrodisiac: Something that might make coriander seed oil infinitely more interesting is the fact that it’s a great natural aphrodisiac! Its aphrodisiac qualities have even been mentioned in Egyptian and Arabic folklore, which it makes it very unsurprising that coriander oil was discovered in the tomb of the Egyptian pharaoh, Tutankhamen! Coriander oil can increase libido, cure temporary impotency, erectile dysfunctions, and frigidity in both sexes by stimulating certain hormones.
- Antispasmodic: Many of us are prone to cramps, especially during sports sessions or menstruation. Coriander oil can help relieve cramps, proving beneficial especially in cases of spasmodic cholera. It can also relieve nervous cramps and convulsions.
- Stimulant: Coriander oil is a great stimulant, warming up your organ systems and providing a boost to the millions of functions your body performs. It stimulates hormone production, enzyme secretions, endocrine functions and the activities of the nervous system. Because of its contribution to stimulating brain functions, it also helps fight depression.
- Fungicidal: Coriander seed oil can inhibit the growth of fungus and treat infections caused by fungal growth. This makes it a great treatment for a number of skin conditions caused by a fungus, as well as dysentery (which is often caused by fungal growth).
- Digestive and Stomachic: Coriander seed oil helps in digestion by providing immediate relief to indigestion by ensuring all your gastric juices are in prime working condition, and decreasing flatulence, while its alluring aroma sets your taste buds salivating, thereby increasing appetite. It also ensures good stomach health by toning the stomach and regulating the many functions that your stomach performs. Coriander oil also has the ability to kill bacteria such as salmonella and E.Coli, making it a great defense against foodborne diseases.
- A Supporter of Vitamin D: Coriander oil can also be a great supporter of vitamin D absorption and synthesis in your body. This is because vitamin D is fat-soluble and coriander seeds contain 28.4% of lipids as a percentage of their total weight! Coriander seed oil is also a great source of vitamin A and K, two vitamins that are highly essential for the synthesis of vitamin D.
- A Supporter of Healthy Blood Sugar Levels: Due to coriander seed oil’s stimulating effect on the endocrine glands, insulin secretion from the pancreas is increased, regulating blood sugar levels. This makes it an effective inhibitor of Type 2 diabetes.
- A Supporter of the Immune System and Cellular Health: Coriander oil is made of phytonutrients, minerals, vitamins and antioxidants. These healthy components work in harmony to provide good immunity. Coriander contains coriandrol (also known as “Linalool”), a promoter of healthy cell growth, and when combined with other healthy nutrients, it can provide great support to your immune system, helping prevent cancer and liver conditions.
Coriander oil is a core ingredient in many beauty treatments as it can help treat a variety of skin conditions, such as rashes, blemishes or allergic reactions. Due to its soothing ability, it’s also a great reliever of inflammation, clearing up pimples and cleansing your skin. It’s also a great natural deodorant, reducing bad breath and body odor, whether used externally or consumed. It inhibits the growth of bacteria in your mouth and around your sweat glands, helping fight unpleasant odor.
The Uses of Coriander Seed Oil
Coriander seed oil plays a huge role in the food industry, used as a flavoring agent for confectionaries, sodas, tobacco and certain liquors. Apart from cooking, coriander seed oil is used in many different aspects. As mentioned already, its myriad of health and beauty benefits make it a core ingredient in many “Ayurvedic” or natural treatments, and in many organic creams, topical skin treatments, types of mouthwash, shampoos and conditioners. Its smell also makes it a component of soaps and certain perfumes.
Though ingestible on its own, you can get your daily dose of the oil through smoothies, shakes, direct application or steam inhalation with a few added drops of the oil.
All Good, No Bad?
Though coriander oil may be one of the healthiest things on the planet, excessive consumption may result in dermatological or intestinal problems. It can also induce allergic reactions such as skin inflammation and rashes, and increased sensitivity to the sun, thereby increasing the risk of skin cancer and sun burns.
However, it’s safe to say that in reasonable amounts, coriander oil can be one of the best gifts you give to your body. Its holistic healthiness makes it an ideal answer to many health-related problems that you could face. So the next time you visit your local Indian restaurant, don’t underestimate the garnish and shove it aside! Up your intake of coriander seed oil through means other than depending on curries, and watch your health reach the top of its game!