Coriandrum sativum

Coriander has been cultivated in different parts of the world for more than 3,000 years now. This herb is not only popular because it is a scented stimulating substance, but also owing to the fact that it is an important culinary spice. The importance or value of coriander has been accepted by people across the world since ages. It finds mention in almost all medical texts and scriptures during the medieval period. The Bible, Greek writers as well as early Sanskrit scholars have all documented the use as well as benefits of coriander.

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Native to the Holy Land (an ancient country in southwestern Asia on the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea now known as Palestine), the earliest Hebrews equated coriander with the manna, which God granted to the 'Children of Israel' and was one of the bitter herbs that were consumed by them during Passover (a holy ritual of the ancient Jews that commenced more than 3,000 years ago). On the other hand, primeval Egyptians considered coriander to be the 'secret of happiness' and added the herb with fresh garlic in wine that was drunk as a magic potion that stimulated sexual desire. Precisely speaking, coriander seeds were discovered in the tomb of Ramses II (an Egyptian king or Pharaoh who ruled during the 19th Dynasty - 1279 BC - 1212 BC).

In India, coriander is an extensively used culinary spice. In fact, people were aware of the allure of coriander even in the ancient times. The neutral flavor of coriander accompanied with a somewhat sweet, but heady scent is attained by distilling the coriander fruit through steam. The essential oil obtained from coriander seeds is useful in invigorating the nervous system. In addition, this oil enhances appetite and provides relief from rheumatic pains. In addition, coriander oil is often used as a magic potion to enhance sexual desire and is used as massage oil, for inhalation as well as in baths.

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The essential oil of coriander is obtained from the seeds by a process known as steam distillation. Coriander belongs to the Umbelliferae family and, as mentioned earlier, it effectively encourages digestion and invigorates the nervous system. People having low energy levels find coriander as a mild stimulant. In addition, when an individual experiences stress/ strain, petulance and anxiety, use of coriander essential oil helps him/ her to relax. Coriander also has a calming effect on people who have suffered a shock or fright.

The essential oil obtained from the seeds of coriander possesses a pleasing aroma. It is spicy, fragrant, pleasingly sweet and somewhat like bergamot orange. Coriander essential oil combines nicely with bergamot, clary sage, jasmine, cinnamon bark and frankincense when it is used in zesty perfumes meant for men or light flower-scented after shaves. When the coriander essential oil is used in aromatherapy it helps in nurturing and is also supportive.

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Unadulterated coriander essential oil is obtained by steam distilling dried out coriander fruits. This oil is sweet, tepid and spicy. In fact, the mild and alluring aroma of coriander essential oil soothes the senses to unwind and take pleasure in the moment. Since coriander possesses the properties of linalool (a neutral, fragrant, unsaturated terpene liquid alcohol), it strengthens our immune system. In fact, linalool is found naturally in several flowers and spices and has facilitates in diminishing stress as well as combat inflammation and depression. In addition linalool also promotes sleep. The content of linalool in coriander oil is as high as 83 per cent.

It is interesting to note that researchers in Japan have reported initial scientific proof that coming across specific aromas have the aptitude to change the activity of gene as well the composition of blood in such manners that it diminishes the intensity of stress. The findings of the study by these Japanese scientists have been published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry.

People across the world have been using coriander, lavender, lemon and other similar organic fragrances to facilitate reduction of stress, combat inflammation as well as depression for several centuries. These aromatic substances have also been used to promote sleep, especially in people suffering from insomnia. However, this is the first time that scientists have confirmed that a natural compound present in flowers and spices known as linalool also has a positive affect on our body vis-à-vis stress, inflammation, depression and sleeplessness.

The essential oil obtained from coriander possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-spasmodic (preventing or relieving spasms) properties, and, hence, it is extensively used by sportspersons as effective massage oil to facilitate blood circulation as well as relieve stiffness of the joints, muscle ache and joint ache. In addition, coriander essential oil may also prove to be effective in easing rheumatism and neuralgia (a sharp and raging pain along the course of a nerve).

The essential oil obtained from the seeds of coriander possesses comforting and soothing characteristics. This essential oil is generally applied externally to prevent as well as treat a number of conditions, especially different types of inflammations and pains. Sometimes, the coriander essential oil is also combined with food and even water for adding essence and also as a dietary supplement. Coriander essential oil stimulates the appetite. This oil encourages the secretion of digestive enzymes, alleviates flatulence or gas and is also helpful in treating indigestion. The mild stimulant or tonic properties of coriander essential oil makes it effective in maintaining the blood sugar balance. This particular effect of the herbal oil is enhanced when it is mixed with bitter fennel.

Coriander essential oil is effective in eliminating toxic substances from the body. In addition, this oil promotes blood circulation, provides relief from muscle stiffness, and alleviates inflammations and arthritis or rheumatic pains. It may be noted that the essential oil obtained from coriander seeds possesses properties like estrogen and is effective in controlling menstruation. Many women find using the oil useful during menopause.

It may be mentioned here that the symptoms of menopause are a result of the changes in the hormone production by the endocrine system in a woman's body. The use of aromatherapy in menopausal women invigorates the actions of particular brain cells that, in turn, influence a woman's endocrine system biologically. The changes caused in the endocrine system owing to aromatherapy subsequently provide women relief from the menopausal symptoms.

In order to treat or alleviate menopausal symptoms by means of aromatherapy, it is essential for an aroma therapist to devise a topical or inhaled aromatherapy healing strategy that will also take into consideration the medical history of the woman enduring menopause as well as her existing menopause symptoms. Precisely speaking, aromatherapy for alleviating menopausal symptoms may include the following approaches:

  • Massage with watered down coriander essential oil;
  • Inhaling coriander essential oil straight away from a cloth soaked with the oil or indirect inhalation by means of vaporizers, steam inhalations or sprays; or
  • Topical application of coriander essential oil to major body areas, including breasts, lower back, hips and the areas where the kidneys are located.

General properties

  • analgesic
  • antispasmodic
  • carminative
  • diuretic
  • warming

Blends well with

General uses


Use of coriander or the essential oil obtained from the herb's fruits may cause irritation and, hence, it should always be used in small applications. Unless your doctor, who is an experienced medical practitioner, has advised otherwise, never consume the coriander essential oil orally. Always keep in mind that an erroneous dosage of the coriander essential oil may even prove to be fatal. Since the coriander essential oil possesses a mild stimulating characteristic, pregnant women should avoid its use during the initial three months of pregnancy.


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