Coriander is an important spice crop having a prime position in flavoring food. The plant is a thin stemmed, small, bushy herb, 25 to 50 cm in height with many branches and umbels. Leaves are alternate, compound. The whole plant has a pleasant aroma. Inflorescence is a compound umbel comprises 5 smaller umbels. Fruit is globular, 3 to 4 mm diameter, when pressed break into two locales each having one seed. Fruit has delicate fragrance; seeds are pale white to light brown in color.
Origin and Distribution
It is a native of Mediterranean and commercially produced in India, Morocco, Russia, East European countries, France, Central America, Mexico, and USA. Coriander is a tropical crop and can be successfully cultivated as a rabbi season crop in an area free from severe frost during February when the crop flowers and sets its seeds.
Coriander seeds possess many plant-derived chemical compounds that known to have been anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.
The characteristic aromatic flavor of coriander seeds comes from their essential volatile oils and fatty acids. Some important fatty acids in the dried seeds include petroselinic acid, linoleic acid (omega 6), oleic acid, and palmitic acid. In addition, the seeds contain essential oils such as linalool (68%), a-pinene (10%), geraniol, camphene, terpine etc. Together; these active principles are responsible for digestive, carminative, and anti-flatulent properties of the seeds.
As in other spices, coriander is also rich in dietary fiber. 100 g seeds provide 41.9 g of fiber. Much of this fiber is metabolically inert insoluble fiber, which helps increase bulk of the food by absorbing water throughout the digestive system and help easing constipation condition.
In addition, dietary fibers bind to bile salts (produced from cholesterol) and decrease their re-absorption in colon, thus help lower serum LDL cholesterol levels. Together with flavonoid anti-oxidants, fiber composition of coriander helps protect colon mucusa from cancers.