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Supplements

coriander seed

 

What Is It?
Health Benefits
Forms
Dosage Information
Guidelines for Use
General Interaction
Possible Side Effects
Cautions
References
Evidence Based Rating Scale
 

What Is It?

Coriander "seed" is actually the common term for the tiny ribbed brown fruit of an annual Herb, Coriandrum sativum. The delicate, bright green leaves are used as a culinary herb--better known as cilantro or Chinese parsley. The seed is also used to flavor various commercial foods, particularly beverages, frozen dairy desserts, candies, and puddings. Its pleasing aromatic oil is a common ingredient in creams, lotions, and perfumes.

Although native to Mediterranean Europe and West Africa, coriander is now cultivated in many countries with temperate climates. The seed was reportedly used by healers in ancient Greece, and later in Rome, Great Britain, India, and China. Its primary use in Traditional medicine is for gastrointestinal complaints. For use in Ayurvedic medicine, the traditional healing practice of India, coriander seed is combined with cardamom seed and caraway. Traditional European healers mixed it with caraway, fennel, or anise seeds.

Health Benefits

Although coriander has a long history of folk uses, from stomach-calming teas to muscle-soothing salves, little research has been conducted to prove its effects in humans. However, along with broad anecdotal evidence, laboratory and animal studies suggest that the herb may have some limited value as a mild digestive aid. These benefits are attributed to the action of tiny amounts of an aromatic volatile oil, mainly consisting of linalool, found in coriander seed and to a lesser degree in the plant's leaves.

In test tubes, the essential oil has been shown to fight some fungal and bacterial infections, and in animal studies the dried seed has shown Diuretic ("water pill") properties. Coriander also has nutritional value, as it is rich in vitamins and minerals. Some animal studies indicate that it lowers blood sugar and has other biological effects, although findings are contradictory.

Specifically, coriander seed may help to:

Calm upset stomach. Although its action is very mild, coriander seed may be helpful in easing gastrointestinal symptoms. The mixture of antibacterial essential oils present in coriander seed (linalool, coriandrol, geraniol, borneol, and terpenes) is responsible for the herb's ability to stimulate the flow of stomach acids and for its antispasmodic actions. (1, 2) Many modern herbalists follow the ancient traditionalists in specifically recommending coriander for indigestion and diarrhea. (3) Coriander is also used as an ingredient in some laxative preparations in order to counteract their harsh effects like bowel or stomach spasms. (4) While this herb has not been evaluated by the FDA for medicinal use in the United States, coriander has been approved by Germany's Commission e for use as a digestive aid. (5) In a preliminary laboratory study, coriander seed exhibited antispasmodic activity in the GI tract of rabbits and guinea pigs, supporting its potential role in easing indigestion and diarrhea. (6) Research in humans is needed. Commission e also approves coriander as a remedy for loss of appetite. (2)

Relieve flatulence. The essential oils of coriander are also responsible for its ability to act as a carminative—a substance that prevents formation of gas and eases its passage. (1, 2) Used as a tea, coriander has long had a reputation for easing flatulence and relieving the painful cramps that can accompany it. (5) In a 2006 pilot study of 32 patients with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), the severity and frequency of abdominal pain, discomfort and bloating was significantly lower in a group treated with the herbal medicine Carmint, which contains coriander, Melissa officinalis (lemon balm) and Mentha spicata (spearmint). (7) More research is needed. 

Lower blood pressure. The vasodilating (widening of blood vessels), antispasmodic, and diuretic properties of coriander make it potentially useful in treating hypertension (high blood pressure). In the preliminary laboratory study previously mentioned, coriander seed demonstrated blood pressure lowering activity in anesthetized animals. (6) More research is needed. 

Regulate insulin in diabetes. Coriander seed has a long history of use in treating diabetes. (4) Several studies in mice indicate that coriander seed may help to lower blood glucose levels in patients with diabetes by exhibiting both insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity. (8-10) In one of the studies, coriander seed was more effective at regulating insulin levels than glyburide, a mainstay conventional anti-diabetic drug. (10) More research is needed.  

Improve cholesterol levels. By increasing the synthesis of bile in the liver and increasing the breakdown of cholesterol into other compounds, coriander may help to improve cholesterol levels. In a preliminary study of rats fed a high-fat diet with added cholesterol, supplemental coriander seed led to lower levels of total cholesterol and triglycerides and increased levels of HDL (or "good") cholesterol. (11) In the study comparing coriander seed extract and glyburide in diabetic rats, in addition to regulating insulin levels, rats receiving the extract showed decreases in elevated levels of total cholesterol, LDL ("bad") cholesterol, and triglycerides. (10) More research is needed to confirm or refute these preliminary findings. 

Forms

  • oil
  • liquid
  • fresh herb
  • dried herb/tea 

Dosage Information

Although no standards have been set for coriander preparations in the United States, Germany requires that pharmaceutical grade seeds contain no less than 0.6% volatile oil. Austria requires no less than 0.5% volatile oil.

While no typical dosage has been established for coriander seed, a tea made by simmering 1 to 2 teaspoons of crushed or bruised coriander seeds per 8 ounces of water has been used. Drink up to three times a day between meals. Or add 1 teaspoon (15 ml) of coriander liquid Extract to water and drink three times a day between meals.

Guidelines for Use

The easiest way to take coriander seed is to prepare it as a tea.

General Interaction

Note that coriander increases the hypoglycemic effect of drugs taken for hypoglycemia. Consult a physician before taking coriander seed in the presence of diabetes or when taking drugs that lower blood sugar for other medical reasons (e.g., metformin for polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS), and then monitor blood sugar closely while using the herb. 

Possible Side Effects 

  • Patients who are allergic to foods in the celery family may be allergic to coriander and should use it cautiously.
  • Although rare, coriander may produce mild sun sensitivity in some individuals. 

Cautions

Do not use medicinal quantities of coriander while pregnant or breast-feeding.

References

1. Schulz V, Hansel R, Tyler VE. Rational Phytotherapy: A Physician's Guide to Herbal Medicine. Terry C. Telger, transl. 3rd ed. Berlin, GER: Springer, 1998.
2. Blumenthal, M (Ed.): The Complete German Commission E Monographs: Therapeutic Guide to Herbal Medicines. American Botanical Council. Austin, TX. 1998.
3. Grieve M. A Modern Herbal. Volume 1. New York: Dover Publications, Inc; 1971.
4. Leung AY, Foster S. Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients Used in Food, Drugs, and Cosmetics. 2nd ed. New York: John Wiley and Sons; 1996.
5. Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J, editors. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Austin, TX: American Botanical Council; Boston: Integrative Medicine Communications; 2000.
6. Jabeen Q, Bashir S, Lyoussi B, Gilani AH. Coriander fruit exhibits gut modulatory, blood pressure lowering and diuretic activities. J Ethnopharmacol. 2009 Feb 25;122(1):123-30.
7. Vejdani R, Shalmani HR, Mir-Fattahi M, et al. The efficacy of an herbal medicine, Carmint, on the relief of abdominal pain and bloating in patients with irritable bowel syndrome: a pilot study. Dig Dis Sci. 2006 Aug;51(8):1501-7.
8. Gray AM, Flatt PR. Insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity of the traditional anti-diabetic plant Coriandrum sativum (coriander). Br J Nutr. 1999 Mar;81(3):203-9.
9. Eldi M, Eldi A, Saeidi A, et al. Effect of coriander seed (Coriandrum sativum L.) ethanol extract on insulin release from pancreatic beta cells in streptozotocin-induced diabetic rats. Phytother Res. 2009 Mar;23(3):404-6.
10. Aissaoui A, Zizi S, Israili ZH, Lyoussi B. Hypoglycemic and hypolipidemic effects of Coriandrum sativum L. in Meriones shawi rats. J Ethnopharmacol. 2011 Sep 1;137(1):652-61.
11. Chithra V, Leelamma S. Hypolipidemic effect of coriander seeds (Coriandrum sativum): mechanism of action. Plant foods for Human Nutrition. 1997;51(2):167-72.

Evidence Based Rating Scale

The Evidence Based Rating Scale is a tool that helps consumers translate the findings of medical research studies and what our clinical advisors have found to be efficacious in their personal practice into a visual and easy to interpret format. This tool is meant to simplify the information on supplements and therapies that demonstrate promise in the treatment of certain conditions.

Condition

Rating

Explanation

Diabetes

 

A long history of use and preliminary animal studies indicate potential efficacy in regulating insulin levels. More research is needed. (4, 8-10)

Flatulence
Several alternative therapy sources and a history of traditional use indicate potential efficacy. A pilot study showed beneficial results in treating abdominal pain, discomfort and bloating in patients with IBS. More research is needed. (1, 2, 5, 7)

High blood pressure
Preliminary evidence in animals indicates potential efficacy. More research is needed. (6)


High cholesterol
Preliminary evidence in animals indicates potential efficacy. More research is needed. (10, 11)

Indigestion


The German Commission E has approved coriander for this use and several alternative therapy sources support its use. (1-6)

 


Date Published: 04/18/2005
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