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August 04, 2021

Coriander: a Potential Source of High-Value Components for Functional Foods

Basically, functional foods are foods that provide a health benefit in addition to macro and micronutrients. These foods are vital in disease prevention and include fortified foods, phytonutrient-containing fruits and vegetables, fermented foods, fish and chocolate. (1)

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.) is valued for its culinary and medicinal uses. All parts of this herb are in use as flavoring agent and/or as traditional remedies for the treatment of different disorders in the folk medicine systems of different civilizations. The plant is a potential source of lipids (rich in petroselinic acid) and an essential oil (high in linalool) isolated from the seeds and the aerial parts. Due to the presence of a multitude of bioactives, a wide array of pharmacological activities have been ascribed to different parts of this herb, which include anti-microbial, anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, anxiolytic, anti-epileptic, anti-depressant, anti-mutagenic, anti-inflammatory, anti-dyslipidemic, anti-hypertensive, neuroprotective and diuretic. Interestingly, coriander also possessed lead-detoxifying potential. The fruits (seed and pericarp) are the most widely used components of the coriander plant with the most important constituents being the essential oil and the fatty oil. The fatty oil (physical oil/fixed oil) is around 25% of the seed while the essential oil content is usually less than 1%. The fatty oil is light yellow in color and has a characteristic smell. The oil is unique in that it contains high amount of Petroselinum acid. The fruits of coriander have been used to treat inflammation, indigestion, cough, bronchitis, vomiting, dysentery, diarrhea, gout, rheumatism, intermittent fevers and giddiness among others. In Ayurvedic medicine, the seeds are combined with caraway and cardamom seeds or with caraway, fennel and anise seeds in eastern medicine to treat digestive complaints. In traditional Chinese medicine, coriander seeds are administered to treat indigestion, anorexia, stomach ache, influenza with no sweating, bad breath, whereas, in Germany, coriander seeds are usually taken as medicinal teas or components of carminatives and laxatives. The main use is to treat dyspeptic complaints, loss of appetite, abdominal discomforts and gastrointestinal upsets. The fruit is listed in the European Pharmacopoeias and is used as a digestive aid, against worms and to treat rheumatism. In Iran, coriander has a long history of medicinal use for preventing convulsions, anxiety, insomnia and loss of appetite. In Saudi Arabia, a percentage of the population still uses infusion of coriander seeds as an anti-diabetic agent, and the seed extract has been used to decrease fertility. Some of biological activities of coriander include:

Anti-microbial activity: The anti-microbial activity of coriander leaves and seeds and their extracts and essential oils is one of the most reported biological activities of the plant.

Anti-oxidant activity: The effect of polyphenolic extract of coriander seeds was assessed on hydrogen peroxide (H2O2)-induced oxidative stress in human lymphocytes. Treatment with H2O2 caused oxidative stress by decreasing activities of anti-oxidant enzymes (i.e. superoxide dismuthase, catalase, glutathione peroxidase, gluthatione reductase and glutathione-S-transferase). General decrease in glutathione content and increase in thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS) was observed.

Anti-diabetic activity: An aqueous extract of coriander seeds (20 mg/kg) was fed to obese-hyperglycemic-hyperlipidemic rats at a single dose in a study for 30 days. The results showed that the coriander extract suppressed hyperglycemia, with a normal blood glucose level reached after 4 h of dosing, with no effect on lipids. Insulin, insulin resistance and lipid parameters including total cholesterol, low density lipoproteins (LDL)-cholesterol and triglycerides were reduced.

Safety Considerations

The effect of aqueous extract of fresh coriander seeds was assessed for toxicity on reproductive system. In Saudi Arabia, the plant has been traditionally used as an anti-fertility agent. Oral supplementation of 250 mg and 500 mg/kg in rats resulted in a dose-dependent decrease in implantation, most likely due to decreased progesterone level. However, no complete infertility was observed. There was no change in weight of fetuses and no deformities. (2)






1- What Are Functional Foods?. Retrieved from

2- Gooda Sahib, N., Anwar, F., Gilani, A.H., Abdul Hamid, A., Saari, N., & M. Alkharfy, K. (2013). Coriander (Coriandrum sativum L.): A Potential Source of High-Value Components for Functional Foods and Nutraceuticals - A Review. Phytotherapy Research, 27, 1439–1456. Retrieved from


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