Lining the produce section of the grocery store and then cooked inside the tortilla of a good street taco, you will find parts of the Coriandrum sativum plant. The green, leafy parts of the plant are better known as cilantro and make a nice flavor addition to a number of dishes. The plant also grows small seeds, however, called coriander, that can be added to food, ground into a powder, or steam distilled to create essential oils.
The essential oil from coriander seeds offers many benefits both inside and outside the kitchen. The herb promotes wellness from the head—as a headache remedy—to the toes—as a treatment for athlete’s foot.
Highlighted below are the primary benefits of coriander essential oil, which is so much more than a tasty addition to a meal.
The History of Coriander
Coriander has been grown and used for thousands of years, making it one of the oldest spices and herbs around. While it comes from the same plant as cilantro, the two are quite different and cannot be substituted for one another. Coriander offers a spicy, earthy scent, and a flavor profile that complements citrus fruits.
Coriander seeds have been found in ancient ruins dating as far back as 5000 BCE. According to folklore, the plant was grown in Persia and used as a fragrance in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.1
The coriander seed is also referenced in the Bible, where it is compared to manna, the substance miraculously supplied as food to the Israelites in the wilderness. Coriander was later discovered in the tombs of pharaohs and is believed to be a sign of eternal love. 2
Coriander and cilantro spread around the world with the growth of civilizations. The ground seeds were used in natural remedies, especially in parts of India. Coriander powder was also used to flavor food in Southeast Asia, India, and Latin America.
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Today, ground coriander can be found in the spice aisle of most supermarkets and is commonly used in making curry, chili, soups, and certain baked goods. Additionally, coriander essential oil continues to be used for its health benefits as research confirms some of the healing properties that popular folklore claimed coriander provides. 3
Coriander has a wide range of beneficial properties. It is known to be an analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antispasmodic, deodorant, and stimulant. All of these functions of coriander essential oil can be traced to its chemical structure.
Coriander is comprised of three main components: monoterpenols, monoterpenes, and ketones. The monoterpenols in coriander allow it to heal and protect the skin while improving complexion. The monoterpenes give coriander it’s antioxidant, cleansing, and mood-boosting properties. Finally, the ketones in coriander essential also assist in its effect on skin health, provide the oil with its distinct fragrance, and allow coriander oil to improve digestive health. 4
Other important compounds in coriander essential oil include:
Uses for Coriander Essential Oil
Coriander is just as versatile medicinally as it is in the kitchen. The essential oil has countless uses for the entire body—both inside and out.
Improves Appearance of the Skin
One of the most common uses for coriander essential oil is to promote healthy, clean, and clear skin. 5 The oil has high levels of antioxidants which gives coriander the ability to prevent free radical damage. Though the skin naturally deteriorates as we age, damage from stress, environmental pollution, and the sun’s rays can speed up the aging process. 6
The antioxidants in coriander slow this process and can even reverse some of the damage. When used topically, after being diluted with a carrier oil like jojoba, almond, or coconut oil, coriander reduces age spots and reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Because of its antibacterial properties, coriander can also be a great addition to your skincare routine to prevent acne and blackheads. It can also keep excess oil at bay for a brighter, healthier complexion. Add a few drops of coriander essential oil to your moisturizer or toner for its skin-enhancing benefits.
Soothes the Stomach
It is no secret that coriander is a superstar spice in the kitchen. What a lot of people don’t know is coriander essential oil can also be safely consumed and offers relief for stomach troubles.
Coriander essential oil can promote healthy digestion when used topically or internally. For topical application, dilute coriander oil with a carrier oil or lotion and rub on the abdomen in clockwise circles.
The oil can also be consumed but must be diluted to do so. Mix a drop in a glass of warm water with lemon or add to a vegetarian capsule and take by mouth. Use either method as needed to relieve constipation and bloating, or repeat daily to alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).7
Coriander essential oil can also help improve digestion after a large meal or increase appetite before one. Use either of the methods described above for these benefits. Alternatively, mix a drop of oil in a cup of hot, herbal tea for a relaxing way to soothe the stomach.
Additionally, some evidence suggests that coriander can aid in weight loss when combined with proper diet and exercise. The essential oil works by breaking down fat and stimulating the enzymes responsible for digestive processes.
Due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties, coriander essential oil is a great choice for treating skin irritation.
For example, coriander oil can easily be used in an at home antifungal treatment. For this, mix coriander essential oil with other antifungal essential oils such as lemon, eucalyptus, or tea tree essential oils, then combine everything with a carrier oil. Store the mixture in an airtight container and apply topically to fungal infections such as athlete’s foot or ringworm. Use twice a day after cleaning the affected area.
Coriander essential oil is also effective at reducing minor skin irritations like sunburns, flaking skin, or chapped lips. The oil helps cool and soothe the skin and can even provide itch relief.
Provides Pain Relief
Coriander oil is an anti-inflammatory and improves circulation, meaning it is excellent for providing pain relief. The oil works by reducing swelling in stiff joints or sore muscles in addition to promoting circulation to the affected areas to speed up healing.
Try using coriander essential oil topically to prevent pain caused by arthritis, tendonitis, muscle stiffness, or muscular exhaustion. The oil is also known to stop and prevent muscle spasms. Apply diluted coriander essential oil to the affected areas or add it to a massage oil for relief.
Coriander essential oil can be inhaled through a diffuser or the steam from the shower to alleviate pain caused by a cold or sinus infection. The oil will open up the nasal passages to help you breathe easier.
The oil can also be used topically to alleviate the pain of menstrual cramps. Rub diluted coriander essential oil onto the abdomen in clockwise motions until completely absorbed.
Coriander essential oil has also been shown to reduce the pain of headaches and tooth pain. Try mixing a drop or two in a glass of water and swishing around in the mouth for teeth. You’ll get the added benefit of refreshed breath, as coriander is a natural deodorizer. For a headache, massage diluted essential oil onto the temples, forehead, and base of the neck.
Coriander is considered to be a mood-boosting essential oil. When used in aromatherapy, the oil can promote relaxation as it alleviates anxiety and stress. Try mixing a few drops in a room diffuser or applying to the bottom of the feet before bed.
During the day, coriander oil can be incredibly stimulating. It promotes feelings of joy and mixes well with other uplifting essential oils such as grapefruit, bergamot, ginger, and lemon. You can find all these plant extracts and more in MONQ’s Vibrant essential oil diffuser. Generally, the oil is known to promote excitement and reduce fatigue, making it a great natural option to cure an afternoon slump.
Consider drinking a cup of coriander tea before work, as it has the potential to improve memory and overall cognitive health. With a sharp mind and elevated spirit, you should be ready to take on the day.
Safety and Precautions
The plant that produces coriander is non-toxic to humans. However, caution should be exercised when using the essential oil as it is highly concentrated. A drop of coriander oil does not have the same potency as adding a pinch of the spice to food.
Essential oils should always be diluted before use. To enjoy the topical benefits of coriander essential oil, mix a few drops with a carrier oil or lotion before application. Test the oil on a small patch of skin to ensure you do not react negatively to it. If irritation occurs, discontinue and consult with a medical professional.
Coriander essential oil may be ingested, but only as directed. Only consume pure-grade, quality tested coriander oil, and mix it with water, tea, or a veggie capsule to use as a supplement. Adding a drop or two to a dish when cooking will also adequately dilute the oil—just remember, less is more. Consuming large doses of the oil can cause side effects such as upset stomach and irregular blood sugar.
As with most essential oils, coriander should not be used by children. Additionally, use of coriander essential oil is discouraged for women who are pregnant or nursing.
Keep the oil away from the eyes and mucous membranes, and do not use coriander oil if you are allergic to coriander or cilantro.
There are many reasons why coriander has been so popular for such a long period of time. From the symbolic uses in ancient times to the remedies it provides today, coriander provides a range of benefits for overall health and wellness.
Coriander oil can heal the body inside and out. From skin irritations to joint and muscle pain, coriander has you covered. The oil is not just for physical ailments, though, as it also works to improve mental health as a mood-booster.
Try coriander essential oil in an herbal tea or veggie capsule, applying it topically after diluting it with a carrier oil, or inhale it through a room diffuser as part of an aromatherapy session. Your body and your mind will thank you.