[Herbal Rootlets]: No. 51 – Cilantro? Coriander? What’s the Difference?

Coriander

The healing powers of nature are only limited by man’s idleness.

– Shawna @ Nature For Kids

Is it Coriander or Cilantro? That depends on the part of the plant you are using and the part of the world you live in! Both come from the plant Coriandrum sativum. Coriander is the seed, Cilantro is the leaf. Both parts of the plant are used in food and medicine and as a medicine, both have different uses.

cilantro

Let’s start with the energetics of each. Do you have Cilantro growing in your garden? If you do, pick a few leaves from the plant. Depending on the time of year, your plant may have gone to seed, enabling you to harvest some seed as well. If not, Coriander is easy to find in the grocery store’s spice section. Trying each, one at a time, chew a bit. Starting with the seed, Coriander, what do you taste? Are the seeds bitter? Pungent? Do you find them a bit hard to chew? Don’t spit them out yet, first, observe how they make your mouth feel. A bit warm perhaps? Maybe a bit drying? Most people describe Coriander as bitter, pungent, warming and drying. Go ahead and spit out the seeds now, or swallow them if you want. Take a drink of water to clear your palate and try the experiment with the Cilantro. Do you like the taste? Some folks do not. Some folks find Cilantro to have a soapy taste, which has been linked to a genetic variants. If you find the taste to not be soapy, continue on with the experiment. How does it taste to you, perhaps a bit citrusy or sour? Maybe some bitterness and pungency too? How does the leaf make your mouth feel? It might surprise you to notice the leaf is cooling instead of warming like the seed.

Nutritionally, Coriander contains carbohydrates, fiber, protein and omega-6 fatty acids. She also contains vitamin C, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc. Cilantro also contains carbohydrates, fiber and protein plus vitamins A, C, E, K, thiamin (B1), riboflavin (B2), niacin (B3), Pantothenic acid (B5), pyridoxine (B6), folate, choline, beta carotene, calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium, selenium, sodium, and zinc.

Photo by Rosalee de la Foret  http://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/

Photo by Rosalee de la Foret http://www.herbalremediesadvice.org/

Medicinally, Coriander is alterative, anodyne, antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, diuretic, nervine, stimulant, stomachic and tonic. Let’s take a look at what we can use him for…

As many kitchen herbs are, Coriander is great for the tummy. As a carminative and stomachic, he works on digestive problems such as bloating, belching, loose stools with undigested food and other cold and damp digestive issues. Remember, we found Coriander to be drying and warming, so he is most effective on problems that are cold and damp in nature.

Coriander is good for treating acute or chronic indigestion, hiccoughs, flatulence and cramps, headaches due to digestive issues and chronic indigestion with debility. Coriander is great to add to homemade gripe water, a tea blend given to colicky babies.

If you’re suffering from sleeplessness caused by indigestion or other digestive issues, Coriander is great for calming you and helping you to get to sleep.

Those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome may find Coriander to be of use in soothing the symptoms, especially when combined with dietary recommendations.

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Coriander has also been found to be beneficial for easing chronic constipation and is found in the popular Traditional Medicinals brand tea “Smooth Move”, combined with Fennel, Cinnamon, Orange peel, Licorice, Ginger and Senna. 

Coriander can also be added to bitters formulas. Herbalist Rosalee de la Foret describes Coriander as a corrigent, helping to balance formula blends. Because his taste is not as bitter and overwhelming, he is often added to digestive blends as a corrigent, which helps to modify or improve the taste of the blend.

A Strong tea of Coriander makes a great mouthwash and gargle for inflamed gums, mouth ulcers and inflamed tonsils.

Coriander is a specific for strengthening the urinary tract. For irritation of the bladder, urinary tract infections, a burning urethra, cystitis, and other urinary related problems, Coriander may be beneficial. As a diuretic, Coriander will stimulate the flow of urine.

For colds and fevers, Coriander’s diaphoretic action will help you sweat out a fever. He is often combined with Ginger for this purpose, making him a great remedy for colds and influenza.

Coriander has also been found to be helpful in lowering blood glucose levels and increasing insulin levels in type 2 diabetics, making him a useful addition to a diabetics diet.

As an antioxidant, Coriander is good for the heart, working to decrease the LDL levels in cholesterol while raising the HDL levels. Those same antioxidants may assist in delaying or preventing the spoilage of food, if the food is seasoned with the Coriander.

Poultices and compresses of Coriander can be applied externally to soothe achy joints, arthritis, cramps and inflammation.

As an antibacterial, Coriander has been found to be useful in killing Salmonella choleraesuis.

The leaves, also known as Cilantro are great for soothing hot, inflammatory issues. Try a poultice on a strain or hot, achy joint, you will find it to be quite soothing.

One of my favorite ways to use Cilantro and Coriander are in food. Coriander is one of those herbs that is easy to use as a food-medicine. Coriander combines surprisingly well with many foods…

apple

Coriander pairs well with Apples. Add them to your Apple crisp for a surprising taste.

Add freshly crushed Coriander to Lemon Ginger tea, great for soothing upset tummies and sore throats.

Add freshly roasted and powdered Coriander to your chocolate sauce before drizzling it on your ice cream.

may15-coriander

Want to learn more about using Coriander medicinally? You can grab this month’s issue for only $3.99 through the end of May 2015.

Do you use Coriander in cooking or medicine? What is your favorite way to prepare this wonderful herb? Hopefully this monograph has inspired you to incorporate Coriander into your meals if he is a new herb for you.


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