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Coriandrum sativum - L.                
Common Name Coriander - Dhania - Cilantro, Coriander
Family Apiaceae or Umbelliferae
USDA hardiness 4-8
Known Hazards The plant can have a narcotic effect if it is eaten in very large quantities[201]. Powdered coriander and oil may cause allergic reactions and photosensitivity. Use dry coriander sparingly if suffering bronchial asthma and chronic bronchitis [301]
Habitats Waste places and arable land, often by the sides of rivers[4, 9].
Range S. Europe. Naturalized in Britain[17].
Edibility Rating  
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun


Physical Characteristics       
 icon of manicon of flower
Coriandrum sativum is a ANNUAL growing to 0.5 m (1ft 8in) by 0.3 m (1ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5 and is not frost tender. It is in flower from Jun to July, and the seeds ripen from Aug to September. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.The plant is self-fertile.
It is noted for attracting wildlife.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils and can grow in very alkaline soils.
It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Synonyms Bifora loureiroi, Coriandropsis syriaca, Coriandrum globosum, Selinum coriandrum
Coriandrum sativum Coriander - Dhania - Cilantro, Coriander

Coriandrum sativum Coriander - Dhania - Cilantro, Coriander
http://www.hear.org/starr/Coriaria microphylla
 Cultivated Beds;
Edible Uses                                         
Edible Parts: Leaves;  Oil;  Seed.
Edible Uses: Condiment;  Oil.

Leaves - raw or cooked. They are used as a flavouring in salads, soups etc[2, 4, 21, 37, 61] and the fresh leaves are probably the most widely used flavouring herb in the world[268]. The leaves have an aromatic flavour[183]. It is foetid according to another report[4], whilst another says that the fresh leaves have a strong bedbug-like smell[244].. The leaves should not be eaten in large quantities[132]. The fresh leaves contain about 0.012% oxalic acid and 0.172% calcium[240]. Seed - cooked. It is used as a flavouring in many dishes including cakes, bread and curries, it is also widely used to flavour certain alcoholic liquors[2, 4, 5, 21, 27, 37]. The fresh seed has a disagreeable and nauseous smell, but when dried it becomes fragrant, the longer it is kept the more fragrant it becomes[4, 132]. Plants yield about 1¾ tonnes per acre of seed[4]. The root is powdered and used as a condiment[161]. An essential oil from the seed is used as a food flavouring[21, 46, 61, 105]
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Antidiarrhoeal;  Antihalitosis;  Appetizer;  Aromatherapy;  Aromatic;  Carminative;  Depurative;  Expectorant;  Narcotic;  Stimulant;  Stomachic.

Coriander is a commonly used domestic remedy, valued especially for its effect on the digestive system, treating flatulence, diarrhoea and colic[9, 244]. It settles spasms in the gut and counters the effects of nervous tension[254]. The seed is aromatic, carminative, expectorant, narcotic, stimulant and stomachic[4, 9, 21, 46, 147, 178, 201, 238]. It is most often used with active purgatives in order to disguise their flavour and combat their tendency to cause gripe[4, 244]. The raw seed is chewed to stimulate the flow of gastric juices and to cure foul breath[240, 268] and will sweeten the breath after garlic has been eaten[254]. Some caution is advised, however, because if used too freely the seeds become narcotic[4]. Externally the seeds have been used as a lotion or have been bruised and used as a poultice to treat rheumatic pains[254, 268]. The essential oil is used in aromatherapy. Its keyword is 'Appetite stimulant'[210]. The German Commission E Monographs, a therapeutic guide to herbal medicine, approve Coriandrum sativum (Coriander - Dhania) for dyspepsia, loss of appetite (see [302] for critics of commission E).
Other Uses
Essential;  Fuel;  Fungicide;  Insecticide;  Oil;  Repellent.

An essential oil from the seed is used as a food flavouring, in perfumery, soap making etc[21, 46, 61, 74, 105]. It is also fungicidal and bactericidal[238]. The growing plant repels aphids[14, 20, 201]. A spray made by boiling of one part coriander leaves and one part anise seeds in two parts of water is very effective against red spider mites and woolly aphids[201]. An oil from the seed is used for making soap[74]. The report does not make it clear if the essential oil or the fixed oil is used[K]. The seed contains about 20% fixed oil[240], this has potential for industrial use in Britain, it could become an alternative to oilseed rape though the oil content is a bit on the low side at present (1995). The oil can be split into two basic types, one is used in making soaps etc, whilst the other can be used in making plastics[234]. The dried stems are used as a fuel[74].
Cultivation details                                         
Prefers a warm dry light soil[4, 27, 37]. Plants grown mainly for their seeds do well in partial shade, but when growing for the seed or essential oil a sunny position is preferred[238]. The plants dislike constant moisture[14] or too much nitrogen[200]. Another report says that coriander grows best when a cool damp spring is followed by a hot dry summer[238]. Coriander tends to run quickly to seed if the plants are too dry at the seedling stage[238]. Plants tolerate a pH in the range 4.9 to 8.3. Coriander is often cultivated, both on a garden scale and commercially, for its edible seed[4, 142], there are some named varieties[183]. The plant is fast-growing, ripening its seed without difficulty in Britain and it seems to be free of pests and diseases[234]. The seeds have been used medicinally and as a food flavouring since ancient times, and were introduced into Britain by the Romans[244]. In the Middle Ages they were added to love potions because of their reputation as aphrodisiacs[244]. The plants flowers are very attractive to pollinating insects[14, 18, 201]. Coriander is in general a good companion plant in the garden, helping to repel aphis and carrot root fly[238]. It grows well with anise, improving the germination rate when the two species are sown together[14, 18, 20, 238], but it grows badly with fennel, where it acts to reduce the seed yield of the fennel[14, 18, 20, 201, 238]. Coriander also grows particularly well with dill and chervil[201].
Seed - sow April in situ[1, 37]. The seed is slow to germinate and so on a garden scale it can also be sown in March in a cold frame. Sow a few seeds in each pot and then plant them out when they are growing away strongly in May[4]. The seed can also be sown in situ in the autumn[1]. Autumn sown plants will grow bigger and produce more seed.
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Expert comment                                         
Botanical References                                         
Links / References                                         

  [K] Ken Fern Notes from observations, tasting etc at Plants For A Future and on field trips.

[1]F. Chittendon. RHS Dictionary of Plants plus Supplement. 1956
Comprehensive listing of species and how to grow them. Somewhat outdated, it has been replaces in 1992 by a new dictionary (see [200]).
[2]Hedrick. U. P. Sturtevant's Edible Plants of the World.
Lots of entries, quite a lot of information in most entries and references.
[4]Grieve. A Modern Herbal.
Not so modern (1930's?) but lots of information, mainly temperate plants.
[5]Mabey. R. Food for Free.
Edible wild plants found in Britain. Fairly comprehensive, very few pictures and rather optimistic on the desirability of some of the plants.
[9]Launert. E. Edible and Medicinal Plants.
Covers plants in Europe. a drawing of each plant, quite a bit of interesting information.
[14]Holtom. J. and Hylton. W. Complete Guide to Herbs.
A good herbal.
[18]Philbrick H. and Gregg R. B. Companion Plants.
Details of beneficial and antagonistic relationships between neighbouring plants.
[20]Riotte. L. Companion Planting for Successful Gardening.
Fairly good.
[21]Lust. J. The Herb Book.
Lots of information tightly crammed into a fairly small book.
[27]Vilmorin. A. The Vegetable Garden.
A reprint of a nineteenth century classic, giving details of vegetable varieties. Not really that informative though.
[37]Thompson. B. The Gardener's Assistant.
Excellent general but extensive guide to gardening practices in the 19th century. A very good section on fruits and vegetables with many little known species.
[46]Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants.
An excellent and very comprehensive guide but it only gives very short descriptions of the uses without any details of how to utilize the plants. Not for the casual reader.
[61]Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man.
Forget the sexist title, this is one of the best books on the subject. Lists a very extensive range of useful plants from around the world with very brief details of the uses. Not for the casual reader.
[74]Komarov. V. L. Flora of the USSR.
An immense (25 or more large volumes) and not yet completed translation of the Russian flora. Full of information on plant uses and habitats but heavy going for casual readers.
[105]Tanaka. T. Tanaka's Cyclopaedia of Edible Plants of the World.
The most comprehensive guide to edible plants I've come across. Only the briefest entry for each species, though, and some of the entries are more than a little dubious. Not for the casual reader.
[132]Bianchini. F., Corbetta. F. and Pistoia. M. Fruits of the Earth.
Lovely pictures, a very readable book.
[142]Brouk. B. Plants Consumed by Man.
Readable but not very comprehensive.
[147]? A Barefoot Doctors Manual.
A very readable herbal from China, combining some modern methods with traditional chinese methods.
[161]Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237.
A comprehensive but very terse guide. Not for the casual reader.
[178]Stuart. Rev. G. A. Chinese Materia Medica.
A translation of an ancient Chinese herbal. Fascinating.
[183]Facciola. S. Cornucopia - A Source Book of Edible Plants.
Excellent. Contains a very wide range of conventional and unconventional food plants (including tropical) and where they can be obtained (mainly N. American nurseries but also research institutes and a lot of other nurseries from around the world.
[200]Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992.
Excellent and very comprehensive, though it contains a number of silly mistakes. Readable yet also very detailed.
[201]Allardice.P. A - Z of Companion Planting.
A well produced and very readable book.
[210]Westwood. C. Aromatherapy - A guide for home use.
An excellent little pocket guide. Very concise.
[234]- Radio 4 Farming Programme, 25/08/95.
An article on the potential of Coriandrum sativum as an oil crop.
[238]Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses.
A very well presented and informative book on herbs from around the globe. Plenty in it for both the casual reader and the serious student. Just one main quibble is the silly way of having two separate entries for each plant.
[240]Chopra. R. N., Nayar. S. L. and Chopra. I. C. Glossary of Indian Medicinal Plants (Including the Supplement).
Very terse details of medicinal uses of plants with a wide range of references and details of research into the plants chemistry. Not for the casual reader.
[244]Phillips. R. & Foy. N. Herbs
Deals with all types of herbs including medicinal, culinary, scented and dye plants. Excellent photographs with quite good information on each plant.
[254]Chevallier. A. The Encyclopedia of Medicinal Plants
An excellent guide to over 500 of the more well known medicinal herbs from around the world.
[268]Stuart. M. (Editor) The Encyclopedia of Herbs and Herbalism
Excellent herbal with good concise information on over 400 herbs.
[301]Karalliedde. L. and Gawarammana. I. Traditional Herbal Medicines
A guide to the safer use of herbal medicines.
[302]From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia Commission E

Readers comment                                         
Elizabeth H.
Dr. med. veronika Rampold Mon Dec 26 2005
Coriander was extremely simple to grow in my garden. I just threw a handful of coriander seed, from the spice cupboard, on a spot of sunny sandy soil and it grew withoút further care, even resistant to the masses of slugs we GErmans have. After four months seeds were ripe, I let them reseed themselves and next year the amount of ripe seed yielded from the resowing was 400 grammes, from one and a half square meters. Besides, the whole place now is again covered densely by young re-seedlings of third generation... I think the plant will become a weed in my garden, as borage and nigella did. Make it a weed in your gardens and you will always have a most harmless digestive and good spice, usable nearly in same way as Caraway. What I do not understand is that Orientals use the fetid coriander leaves too. Their smell, to me, is very repulsive.
Elizabeth H.
Anni Dixon Tue Jun 12 2007
Anni Dixon/http://www.gentlehealer.co.uk/helpyourselftohealth The previous notes about coriander have been useful for me. I am growing it this year for the first time, because I have read that it assists the removal of mercury from the body, including the brain, and I have a long term, difficult to treat, condition of mercury poisoning. I am using the leaves and stems, currently in large quantities (a large handful of fresh-thinned coriander each day) as seeds got from the http://www.realseeds.co.uk Real Seeds club, based in Wales, and they germinated quickly and really well, therefore I am thinning them, but not sure whether I really need to do this. I will allow them to seed themselves. By the way, even if writers on this site find the leaves unpalatable, they are eaten in large quantities in Greece and Turkey and other Mediterranean countries, who highly value their nutritional value.


Elizabeth H.
Kiranmayee Ph.D., Fri Apr 25 2008
Does Coriandrum have cold tolerant gene? If so, what it that?
Elizabeth H.
deepa Thu Aug 7 2008
sir, i am very much interested in doing reseaech in coriandrum. pls esnd me the relevant journal which is very useful to me.
Elizabeth H.
rajesh brc Sun Nov 9 2008
i want to do research in coriandrum can u pls send me some uses and pharmacological acivity i can do pls urgent send to me my mail rajbrc@yahoo.com
Elizabeth H.
Alicia Zuñiga Tue Feb 10 2009
Me gustaria saber si me pueden propiciar articulos cientificos sobre el cilantro respecto en su produccion con tratamiento de humus liquido de lombriz
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