The Power of Herbs – Part II – Coriander Health Benefits


Like many other people, I’ve been cooking up a storm over the past few weeks of lockdown. What started out as a simple way to pass a few hours every evening has quickly become one of my favourite hobbies and I’ve become more and more adventurous with the different recipes I attempt.

From banana bread to homemade fajitas, freshly made vegetable soup and tiramisu – I’ve tried my hand at pretty much every meal of the day and though I’m by no means an expert, I’ve picked up some very handy tips along the way… tips that give the impression I know what I’m doing, even when I don’t!

One of the most useful things I’ve learned from the experts is the importance of seasoning each dish. Salt and pepper are a staple in most people’s presses but add a dash of lemon/lime and a sprinkling of fresh herbs to a meal and you’re sure to impress. Finding myself drawn to Spanish, Mexican, Latin and Indian cuisine, coriander is up there as one of my most used ingredients these days. Often a topic of contention – some people love it, others loathe it – it has a tonne of health benefits so is definitely worth incorporating into your diet if the taste doesn’t bother you and you feel like branching out.

Also commonly known as cilantro (particularly over in the US) or Chinese parsley, coriander is best recognised for its strong smell and distinctive taste with both the leaves and the seeds being used to flavour food. Rich in antioxidants, research regarding the health benefits of coriander is ongoing but – in addition to its culinary uses – it’s also a regular component in medicinal and therapeutic remedies to treat disorders of the digestive, respiratory and urinary systems

The Benefits of Coriander

Other than being a tasty addition to any dish, the health benefits of coriander make it a great plant to have growing in your herb garden.

May Protect Brain Health

As the command centre for the nervous system, it’s incredibly important to keep our brains in good working order. Oftentimes brain ailments such as Parkinson’s are associated with inflammation which means that it’s key to ensure your diet comprises foods such as coriander which is known for its anti-inflammatory properties and could help to safeguard against such diseases.

While human research is still needed on the subject, previous animal research has demonstrated that coriander leaves helped to improve memory and could possibly thus be used in treating Alzheimer’s disease.

Rich in Antioxidants

Just as a glass of red wine is high in antioxidants, so too is coriander – pair them together for a truly delicious meal! Containing several immune-boosting properties, coriander leaves and seeds are full of vitamin K which plays an important role in helping blood clot, preventing bone diseases such as osteoporosis and lowering a person’s risk of heart disease. All the more reason to load your plate full of coriander if you ask me!

May Promote Digestion and Gut Health

Gut issues can have a huge knock-on effect on the whole body – impacting everything from a person’s immune system to their mood, digestion and sleep. The good news though is that it’s never been easier to look after your gut health, and it’s been suggested that coriander could have a part to play in helping to promote healthy digestion and reduce other unpleasant digestive symptoms such as bloating.

Tasty Guacamole Recipe Using Coriander

The perfect addition to your morning slice of toast and you can use the leftovers for homemade taco night!


1 large ripe tomato

3 ripe avocados

Juice of 1 lime

Handful of chopped coriander leaves and stalks – extra chopped leaves to garnish

1 small red onion, finely chopped

1 chilli – red or green, deseeded, finely chopped

Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Use a large knife to squash the tomato to a pulp before tipping into a bowl.
  2. Cut the avocados in half, using a spoon to scoop out the flesh and add to the bowl with the tomato.
  3. Add the juice of 1 large lime to the bowl, along with a handful of chopped coriander, 1 finely chopped red onion and 1 deseeded, finely chopped chilli. Season with salt and pepper.
  4. Use a fork to mash/mix everything together before serving. Add another handful of chopped coriander leaves on top as a garnish.

Other ways to incorporate fresh coriander into your daily meals:

  • Add to a green smoothie as a nutritious extra
  • Use as a tasty tortilla filling
  • Combine with lime, garlic, parmesan and cashew nuts to make homemade pesto
  • Sprinkle on top of soup as a colourful garnish
  • Mix with butter, crushed garlic, lime juice and sea salt to make a marinade for grilled fish
  • Chop and add to salads
  • Incorporate it into your next stir fry along with grated ginger and finely chopped spring onion

How to Grow Coriander

All you need to know about growing, sowing and cultivating coriander!


Coriander seeds can be sown either outdoors or indoors, with early summer being the best time to plant. Sow seeds thinly and cover lightly with multi-purpose compost. Germination generally takes anywhere from seven to 20 days and you should sow every three or four weeks to ensure you have a constant supply of leaves.


Soil and compost should be kept damn but it is important to avoid overwatering. Regular feeding is not necessary – fertiliser can be used as a pick-me-up if needed. Don’t forget to weed regularly around plants so as to ensure growth continues.

How to Store Coriander

Harvesting your fresh coriander is very easy. Simply cut the entire stem once it is ripe (just before they start to fall to the ground) and allow to dry on a clean paper towel. When fully dry, your coriander can be used fresh or stored in an airtight container. Alternatively, you can store in it in the freezer for future use.

Coriander plants grown for seeds should be allowed to grow until long stalks carrying white blooms and peppercorn-size seeds appear. Seeds can be used whole as is or ground to a fine powder.  

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