Diederichsen and Axel (1996) estimate that the worldwide annual cultivation area of coriander spice is 550,000 hectares, and the annual production of coriander fruits is 600,000 tonnes. The main producers of coriander fruits are Ukraine, Russia, India, Morocco, Argentina, Mexico, and Romania. The main exporters of coriander are Ukraine, Russia, India, and Morocco. The main importers are the United States, Sri Lanka, and Japan, followed by Malaysia, Chile, Bolivia, and some countries in the Middle East.

The essential oil showed pronounced antibacterial and antifungal activity against Gram-positive (S. aureus, Bacillus spp.) and Gram-negative (E. coli, S. typhi, K. pneumonia, P. mirabilis) bacteria, and the pathogenic fungus C. albicans (Matasyoh et al., 2009)

Traditionally, coriander’s medicinal properties include its use in many household medicines to treat colds, fever, nausea, vomiting, indigestion, worms, rheumatism, epilepsy, anxiety, insomnia, and joint pain. In India, the fruits are used as a carminative, diuretic, tonic, and stomachic, as well as antibilious, refrigerant, and aphrodisiac.

Many coriander’s medicinal properties are attributed to phytonutrients and bioactive compounds (Rajeshwari et al., 2011). These include aliphatic lactones, terpenes, glycerides, anthraquinones, sterols, and essential oils. It can also reduce lipid levels, perhaps because of its ability to increase bile synthesis. In animal trials, the species has shown anti-arthritic, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, antimicrobial, anxiolytic, anticonvulsive, antidepressant, and neuroprotective properties. The herb may help prevent oxidative stress-related diseases and enhance the effectiveness of conventional treatments (Tang et al., 2013).

The plant is a popular spice in cuisines worldwide. The leaves and seeds are often ground into a powder and used as a condiment. In India, coriander has been in use perhaps as long as it has in Egypt. It is an essential spice in Indian homes and is used in curry powders, pickling spices, baked goods, meats, fish, and tobacco products.

In Ethiopia, coriander spice adds flavor to berbere, a spicy pepper blend used in meat and vegetarian dishes (Fossil, 1996, pers. comm.). Coriander also flavors alcoholic beverages like gin and is said to enhance the inebriating effect. The famous Russian rye bread Borodinskij chleb is spiced with coriander. In China, the roots are used in cuisine.

Additional reading:

Holy Herbs: Modern Connections to Ancient Plants

Asian herbs and their wondrous health-giving properties

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