Coriandrum sativum, is a member of the Umbelliferae family. This is a highly odoriferous herb with a hollow erect stem that grows to a height of about 1 meter. It is native to Europe and Western Asia but has been naturalized in North America and is now widely cultivated. The fruits contain around 0.4 — 1% volatile oil, the major component is d-linalool (coriandrol) (55 — 74%). This content depends on the ripeness of the fruits, geographical locations and other factors. The name ‘coriandrum’ is derived from the Latin ‘koros’ which means ‘bed-bug’, because the fresh leaves have an odour, which apparently resembles the insect’s smell. Coriander is also known as Chinese parsley or cilantro and it takes approximately forty-five pounds of seeds to produce one pound of essential oil. A clear to pale yellow essential oil is steam distilled from the seeds of the plant and it has a spicy, sweet odor. Coriander blends well with other spices, all citrus, clary sage, cypress, Jasmine, juniper berry, neroli, petitgrain, pine, frankincense and sandalwood.
The oil is used mainly as a flavoring agent in pharmaceutical preparations. In cosmetics the oil is used as a fragrance component in soaps, creams, lotions and perfumes. The young leaves are widely used as a garnish in cooking. They are known as Chinese parsley in Chinese cuisine and cilantro in Spanish cooking. The seeds and oil are used extensively as flavor ingredients in all types of food products. In traditional medicine the fruits are used an aromatic carminative, stomachic and antispasmodic.
Psychologically, it is helpful for migraine, neuralgia, nervous exhaustion and insomnia, while on a physiological level it has been used for colds and flu, digestive complaints, muscular aches and pains and arthritis. Coriander can help promote feelings of security. It may increase creativity, spontaneity and passion, as well as promote confidence and motivation. It is considered to be an aid to improving memory. It is useful to use coriander to assist recovery from illness, both physical and emotional. It may be helpful at times when one is depressed or unsure of one’s ability to heal. Coriander is used for healing and love potions. A gentle and compassionate oil.
Generally considered non-toxic, non-irritant and non-sensitizing.
Leung and Foster, Encyclopedia of Common Natural Ingredients, John Wiley & Sons, 1996
Beverley Hawkins, Aromatherapy 201 Course 1999 revised 2000, 2001,2002, 2003, 2004