Note to readers: Ancient Wisdom is a series of guides that shines a light on age-old wisdom that has helped people for generations with time-honoured wellness solutions to everyday fitness problems, persistent health issues and stress management, among others. Through this series, we try to provide contemporary solutions to your health worries with traditional insights.
The next pandemic would probably be of chronic diseases. As the cases of diabetes, hypertension, heart attack reach an alarming level, it’s important to pay attention to the culprits or factors that may be behind their rise. Bad cholesterol or LDL is found in many of the foods that we see in stores, malls and shopping complexes or the street food like samosa, kachori, pizza, burgers, chips, cookies among others. Poor diet is one of the key reasons heart attack, strokes, and other complex health issues are on rise these days. While one should consult their health expert if their bad cholesterol levels are high, certain natural herbs and spices can also be added to the food to manage cholesterol levels.
Ancient Wisdom Part 1: How to consume ginger for easing constipation; know tips and tricks
Ancient Wisdom Part 2: Neem datun can work wonders for your dental health; here’s how to use it
Ancient Wisdom Part 3: How to consume fenugreek seeds for reducing belly fat; know many benefits of methi
Ancient Wisdom Part 4: Peppermint oil can naturally relieve joint pain, headache; know other benefits
Ancient Wisdom Part 5: 4 ways amla can control blood sugar in people with diabetes
Ancient Wisdom Part 6: Many benefits of onions for eye health; how to add them to your diet
Ancient Wisdom Part 7: Wonderful benefits of ajwain for weight loss
What is coriander?
Coriander or dhaniya is an essential flavouring agent in almost all Indian kitchens. It not only contributes to the distinctive flavour of your curry as a key component of the masala mix, but its fragrant leaves when added to stir-fries, curries, and soups lend an irresistible aroma that enhances the experience of eating. Coriander is the grand old spice that has been trusted for various therapeutic and culinary purposes since time immemorial. In ancient times, Egyptians and Greeks used coriander to treat digestive disorders, high cholesterol and many other diseases. In Rome it was used to flavour bread, while in ancient Babylon, coriander or dhaniya was used to perfume gardens. In Ayurveda, coriander seeds are known to balance heat or Pitta conditions.
Coriander is both an herb and spice. Its leaves (herb) are known as cilantro in North America and as ‘Chinese parsley’ in Asian cuisines. The seeds are used as spice. The leaves and the seeds taste differently and cannot be used in place of each other.
Benefits of coriander for reducing bad cholesterol
Coriander, also known as cilantro in some parts of the world, is a versatile herb that has been cherished not only for its culinary delights but also for its potential health benefits, particularly in managing high cholesterol levels.
“Coriander is a powerhouse of natural compounds that can effectively combat high cholesterol. Its rich content of antioxidants and dietary fibres plays a pivotal role in reducing LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol levels. Coriander contains phytosterols, which are plant compounds that have been found to inhibit the absorption of cholesterol in the intestine. This action helps to lower the levels of LDL cholesterol in the bloodstream, reducing the risk of atherosclerosis and heart disease,” says Dr. Jayati Rakhit, a senior interventional cardiologist at Ohio Hospital in Newtown, Kolkata.
“The herb coriander acts as a diuretic. It is also shown by research that it can help reduce harmful cholesterol (LDL) thus reducing risk of atherosclerosis and prevention of coronary artery disease,” says Dr. Dipankar Roy, MBBS, MD (MEDICINE), Golf View Healthcare & Research Centre.
How was coriander used in ancient times
Historically, coriander was revered by ancient civilizations for its medicinal properties.
“In ancient times, Egyptians and Greeks used coriander to treat various ailments, including digestive disorders and high cholesterol. Its use in traditional medicine has stood the test of time,” says Arpita Bose, a dietitian at Ohio Hospital.
Coriander as ancient remedy
- In ancient times, Egyptians and Greeks used coriander to treat various ailments, including digestive disorders and high cholesterol
- Romans used coriander for flavouring their bread and it was also used as aromatic and carminative.
- Coriander was discovered in ruins dating 5,000 B.C., and legend has it that coriander was used to perfume the gardens of Babylon 3,000 years ago.
- In ancient Mediterranean empires, coriander had medicinal, culinary, and ritual purposes.
- Ancient Egyptians infused their wine with coriander (and garlic) and included it in many dishes. They also added coriander to lukewarm baths to ease fevers.
How to add coriander to your diet for cutting cholesterol
“Incorporating coriander into your daily diet can be both delicious and heart-healthy. You can add fresh coriander leaves to salads, soups, and stir-fries for a burst of flavour and nutrients. Ground coriander seeds can be used as a spice in a variety of dishes, providing a warm, citrusy note to your meals,” says Dr. Rakhit.
“For maximum cholesterol-lowering benefits, consider coriander as part of a balanced diet that includes other heart-healthy foods like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains,” the expert adds.
Who shouldn’t have coriander seeds or powder
While coriander is generally safe for most people, some individuals may experience allergic reactions to it.
Dr Rakshit shares tips:
- People with known coriander allergies should avoid its consumption.
- Individuals on blood-thinning medications should consult their healthcare provider before increasing their coriander intake, as it may have mild anticoagulant properties.
Interesting facts about coriander
- Coriander seeds are a rich source of vitamin K, a nutrient crucial for blood clotting.
- A 100-gram serving of coriander seeds provides an impressive 295% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin K.
- Coriander seeds have been used as a traditional remedy for digestive issues, such as indigestion and bloating.
- The essential oil extracted from coriander seeds has been studied for its potential antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Health benefits of coriander
Dr Roy shares the following health benefits of coriander:
• Improves immunity
• Reduce blood sugar
• Reduce LDL
• Fortifies bone health
Next in series
Hope you enjoyed reading the eighth part of our series on Ancient Wisdom. Part 9 which discusses benefits of jaiphal or nutmeg for cold and cough will be out on September 29 (Friday).