Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is an annual herb in the Apiaceae family. The leaves are also called coriander leaves, Chinese parsley, or cilantro. "Coriander" refers to both the plant itself and the spice produced from coriander seeds.
Recipes that call for "fresh coriander" are referring to the leaves (cilantro). Both coriander and cilantro are commonly used in soups, salads, dressings, salsa, and chutney. The leaves are used in curry and guacamole. The roots are used in some Thai recipes. The seeds are used to produce the well-known coriander spice.
Ground coriander seed has a distinctive taste, like that of citrus and sage combined. It is quite versatile and can be used in desserts and sweet pastries, Indian curries, meat and seafood dishes, stews, and marinades. It is often used in recipes from Southeast Asia, especially Thailand, as well as China, Mexico, eastern India, South America, and southern Spain.
Limited research suggests that coriander may help treat constipation and irritable bowel syndrome, as well as improve vision, digestion, blood sugar, and cholesterol. However, more evidence is needed before conclusions can be made regarding the use of coriander for any medical condition.

Related Terms

Apiaceae (family), carotenoids, Chinese parsley, coentro (Portuguese), coriander, Coriandi fructus, Coriandrum sativum, dhania (Indian), ko-en-do-ro (Japanese), koriander, Mexican coriander, Umbelliferae (family).
Combination product: Carmint (Melissa officinalis, Mentha spicata, Coriandrum sativum).
Note: This monograph includes information about the coriander plant, the seed, the fruit, coriander spice, and coriander essential oil. It does not include information about cilantro, the leaf of the coriander plant.

evidence table

These uses have been tested in humans or animals. Safety and effectiveness have not always been proven. Some of these conditions are potentially serious, and should be evaluated by a qualified healthcare provider.
Constipation (Grade: C)
Preliminary studies show that combining standard treatment with coriander tea may treat chronic constipation. More evidence is needed regarding the use of coriander for this condition.
Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) (Grade: C)
There is preliminary evidence that suggests a combination product containing coriander may be effective in treating irritable bowel syndrome. Further research is needed.