Coriander is an herb that’s often used in a lot of dishes as a garnish or as decoration, although it may also be used as part of a condiment. In fact, it’s one of the culinary world’s oldest spices that’s still being used widely today.
But while its leaves and fruits have a pleasant aroma and are often used raw or dried, it’s become a polarizing herb in the culinary world because of its soapy aftertaste.
What exactly makes this herb taste like soap, and why is it being used in dishes?
Cilantro vs. Coriander: What’s the Difference?
Coriander itself is often used because of its stem’s distinct warm, mineral taste and its leaves’ fragrance. The same can be said with cilantro, an herb that has the exact description as coriander. So what’s the difference between the two?
Cilantro and coriander are the same plant, but the only difference is that the former refers to the leaves and stems of the coriander plant (cilantro is the Spanish word for coriander).
However, every part of coriander is edible. The seeds can be used whole or ground and can be enhanced flavor-wise by giving them a light toast in a dry frying pan, and the roots are often crushed and added to curry pastes in Thai cuisine.
Even the flowers are edible too, as they are used in salads to add that certain elegance.
It turns out that there’s more to coriander than just being garnish or for decoration. In fact, coriander is responsible for giving you a lot of health benefits when prepared in the right way, such as the following:
- Lowering skin inflammation – Coriander contains both cineole and linoleic acid, both of which reduce the swelling caused by rheumatism and arthritis, as well as swelling caused by kidney malfunction and anemia.
- Treating skin disorders – Eczema, dryness, and fungal infections can also be treated thanks to coriander’s antifungal and antioxidant properties.
- Treating diarrhea – When reduced to essential oils, coriander also contains both borneol and linanool, which aid in proper digestion. Components such as alpha-pinene and beta-phellandrene also help in reducing diarrhea caused by microbial and fungal action.
- Lowering cholesterol – The acids present in coriander help reduce bad cholesterol in the blood and raise good cholesterol, and helps prevent other heart conditions along the line as well.
- Preventing anemia – Coriander is also surprisingly high in iron, which is great for anemics or those who have a low regular iron intake. It even allows for better bone health.
- Preventing salmonella – One of the most dangerous causes of food poisoning can be prevented by dodecenal (a powerful antibiotic used in treating salmonella-based illnesses), which is present in high amounts in coriander.