Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) has been used since ancient times as both a culinary and a medicinal herb. It’s also been used in the making of perfumes. It’s still used for all those things today.
The plant is native to areas from Southern Europe to Northern Africa to Southwest Asia and has 2 stages of growth. The first is the “vegetative” stage when it produces pungently aromatic leaves known as cilantro. During this stage, the plant is usually referred to as cilantro. Mmmmm… cilantro. But I digress. Once the plant flowers and produces seeds it’s known as coriander, at least in the North America. (In most of the rest of the world, it’s simply referred to as coriander no matter what stage it’s in: coriander leaves, coriander seeds.)
Because it’s classified as a spice oil, many people prefer to use it only during the cooler late autumn, winter, and early spring months. In my opinion, that’s a mistake.
Coriander, both seed and essential oil has been used for:
Coriander blends well with the following oils:
Too much Coriander can by stupefying; less is truly more.
The name coriander ultimately comes from the Ancient Greek word for bedbug; because they thought coriander had a fetid, bed bug-like smell. Since I’ve never smelled a bed bug, I’ll have to take their word for it. But if it does, I gotta say… bed bugs must smell pretty yummy cause I love the smell of both the leaves and the seeds of the coriander plant.
Now for some less gross trivia: Coriander was supposedly grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Who knew?