Botanical Name: Coriandrum sativum
Common Names: Coriander, Cilantro, Dhania, Dhanyak, Chinese Parsley
Coriandrum sativum is an herbaceous annual in the Apiaceae family native to parts of Europe, Africa, and Asia.
In the United States, the herb’s leaves are commonly referred to as cilantro and the dried seeds as coriander.
Coriander seed is a common spice used in many cultures throughout the world.
The seeds are warming and have a slightly nutty and citrus flavor that is intensified when roasted.
Coriander seeds can be ground fresh before use or kept whole and added to marinades, sauces, and rubs.
Coriander is a spice that has been used in the Mediterranean and Asia for thousands of years and is now widely cultivated and available in the West.
Traditionally, it was used to support healthy digestion and was often added to beans or other hard-to-digest dishes due to its carminative qualities.
Further, it is well known as a flavoring for liquor, beers, and various soups, sauces, and meats.
Used as a culinary spice in India, coriander is the main ingredient in Indian curry powder alongside spices such as turmeric, fenugreek, cumin, and chili.
In some of the northern parts of Europe and in Russia, coriander is used to flavor alcoholic liquors, in particular, gin.
Belgian-style white beer is often brewed with coriander and orange peel which gives it the characteristic spicy citrus flavor.
Further, the sweet citrusy and musty aroma of the ripe seeds has been used to flavor sausages, pickles, candies, sauces, and soups, and have also been distilled into essential oil.
In particular, it is used in elixirs containing harsh purgatives or laxatives such as senna to mask the flavor and to moderate its propensity to cause intense cramping.
Much of the traditional uses for coriander center around its carminative and stomachic activities as it has been employed to support digestion and to stimulate appetite in a variety of cultures and countries for thousands of years.
In Ayurvedic medicine (the traditional healing system of India) coriander is often combined with caraway and cardamom seeds for use as a digestive tonic.
It is energetically cooling and has a sweet, bitter, and pungent taste.
Similarly, in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), coriander is considered pungent in taste.
It is used as a digestive tonic as well and as a flavoring to improve the taste of herbal preparations just as it has been in herbal medicine practices in the West.
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