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|DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.|
|NOTE: Juice of the plant is considered an intoxicant.|
Native to the Mediterranean and Caucasian regions, Coriander is a sparsely, feathery-leaved annual to 1 foot with pink pollen which is attractive to bees. STEMS are solid and ridged. Lower LEAVES are fanlike (lobed like parsley), the upper filagreed (finely divided like dill). FLOWERS are small, flat umbels, white to pale pink with a reddish accent, appearing in umbels in July and August. FRUIT appears in clusters of small green globes which mature to brown; although called 'seeds' they are technically 'fruit' as they contain 2 actual small seeds (see Propagation below). ROOT is thin and spindle-shaped.
Known historically as far back as 1500 BCE as a medicine and spice in the Mediterranean regions. In Egypt the seeds were found in King Tut's tomb (ca 1300 BCE). Grown commercially in India, Morocco, Poland, Romania, Argentina and on a smaller scale in the state of Kentucky for use in the liquor industry; the best seed is said to come from Egypt. Introduced into Chinese cuisine and medicine about 600 CE. Coriander was introduced into the United States with the first settlers before 1670.The entire plant has an unpleasant odor until the seeds mature which take on a pleasant spicy aroma. The unpleasant odor gave rise to its name taken from the Greek 'koris' meaning bedbug. Astrologically ruled by Mars and the Moon §
CONTAINS: Volatile oil and 5 antiasthmatic compounds.
|PROPAGATION||By SEED. Annual. 'Seeds' are technically fruit as they contain 2 true seeds. Germination can be improved by rubbing fruits till the 2 seeds are separated. Soak seeds for 3 to 4 days, changing water twice a day to remove the coumarins which inhibit germination; dry the seeds for 8 hours, then plant where they are to grow. Soil temp should be 55 to 68ºF. Reseed every few weeks to maintain a steady supply of fresh leaves throughout the season.|
|NEEDS||Grown as an ornamental in moderately rich, well-drained soil in full sun (prefers a lime-rich soil). Mulch early in the season. Plants grown for their leaves (cilantro) do better in part shade. C. sativum does better with a cool, wet spring followed by a hot, dry summer. Can be pot grown. Coriander has a tendency to bolt in hot, dry weather. It is best not to fertilize these plants as too much nitrogen can interfere with the development of the flavor.|
|PART USED||Leaves, Seed, Oil, Root; young leaves used fresh for culinary purposes; for medicinal purposes the seeds are usually powdered.|
|HARVEST||LEAVES when young (parsley like foliage used fresh in many Asian and Latin dishes and is called 'cilantro'); collect mature SEEDS (BEFORE the seeds scatter) by cutting the whole plant and hanging to dry. Punch holes in the sides of a paper bag and tie over hanging bunches to catch seeds; store leaves and seeds separately. Allow seeds to mature in storage for 6 months before use.|
|FORM||Liquid extract, Distilled oil, Crushed seeds, Powdered seeds|
|PROPAGATE||By SEED in spring; by ROOT CUTTINGS in late winter.|
|NEEDS||Grown as a crop in damp, heavy soil in sun or shade.|
|PART USED||Leaves, Root|
|HARVEST||Leaves before flowering; roots in 2nd year of growth in the autumn (used fresh for cooking; fresh or dried for infusions and decoctions)|
|RELATED SPECIES||BUTTON SNAKEROOT (E. aquaticum): Has been used in the past for problems of the kidneys and sex organs.|
FIELD ERYNGO (E. campestre): Has been used as a substitute for E. maritimum for urinary tract infections, skin problems, and whooping cough. Leaves and blossoms are considered a mild diuretic; the roots considered expectorant and antispasmodic.
RATTLESNAKE MASTER (E. yuccifolium): Used the same as Button Snakeroot.
SEA HOLLY (E. maritimum): Was once believed to be an aphrodisiac; lozenges called 'eryngoes' were once sold for this purpose. Part used is the roots which have been employed as a diuretic, anti-inflammatory, and expectorant. Has been used to treat cystitis, urethritis, excess urine (as produced in diabetes), prostate problems, and renal colic. Growing needs are a well-drained sandy or stony soil in full sun; sow seed in autumn or stratify for 4 weeks before a spring sowing. The roots are harvested in autumn and used fresh or dried for powders, decoctions, and flavorings.
Eryngium planum: A plant of eastern Europe once used to treat whooping cough.