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Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is a yearly and perennial herb, belonging to the family Apiaceae. The name ‘coriander’ has been derived from French coriandre, all the way through Latin "coriandrum". It is a hairless plant which grows up to heights of about 50 cm (20 inches) having leaves which are inconsistent in shape. On the pale green shoots are the fan shaped bright green leaves with jagged edges. Coriander is one of those plants whose strongly flavoured leaves, the seeds and shoot are all edible. The fresh leaves form an essential ingredient in many Indian, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese dishes and also in Mexican salsas and guacamole. Chopped raw coriander leaves are used to garnish various cooked dishes right before serving, such as soups, dals and other dishes.
 

The flowers are small and pinkish-white, formed in clusters that ripen into coriander seeds. The aromatic seeds are round yellowish brown in colour when ripe. The seeds usually have a warm, nutty and piquant flavour and giving a citrus flavour when crushed. The seeds can be used in both dried and green form. Both whole seeds and grounded form are used depending on the preparation of various dishes, grounded coriander being the most preferred form. Sometimes the seeds are roasted or fried for a short time before grinding to enhance the aroma. This aroma plays an important part while making chutneys, curry pastes, or for preparing pickles and the likes. Like other spices the flavour is lost rapidly after the seeds have been grounded and left open. There by making it necessary to be stored in tight containers away from sunlight n heat.

Coriander is grown widely in countries such as India, Morocco, Hungry, Poland, Mexico, USA and the Mediterranean region. It is a flourishing crop in the Indian sub-continent due to the idealistic environment and climatic conditions. Some of the leading corianders producing states are Gujurat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, and Tamil Nadu. Other than using coriander for culinary purpose, it is also used in producing oils and in medicines, especially ayurveda.

     




Some of the known benefits of coriander seeds as found by researchers are:

   
Prevents nausea.
   
Being stimulating in nature and helping proper secretion from the endocrine glands, it also helps proper secretion of the hormones and thereby inducing proper menstrual cycles and reducing pains etc. during periods.
   
The essential oils in coriander such as Borneol and Linalool aids in digestion and proper functioning of liver and bowels thereby curing diarrhoea.
   
Both coriander leaves and seeds have shown significant anti-oxidative potential.
   
It is also important to know that Coriander may help removal of mercury from aqueous solutions. In case of lead poisoning, Coriander extract has shown the potential to suppress lead deposition.
   
The detoxifying, anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant properties of coriander are ideal for curing skin disorders such as eczema, dryness and fungal infections.
   
Coriander is highly beneficial for diabetes patients because of the stimulating effect it creates on the endocrine glands which increases the secretion of insulin from pancreas resulting in increase of insulin level in the blood. This helps in absorption of sugar followed by fall in the sugar level in the blood.
   
Lowers bad cholesterol (LDL) and raises good cholesterol (HDL).
   
A good source of dietary fiber.

   
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