Coriander has a warm, sweet and spicy aroma. Although this aromatic spice is most well-known for its use in Mediterranean cuisine, the use of coriander oil, produced from the seeds of the coriander plant, has provided numerous health benefits over the centuries. Coriander seeds are rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium. Its use in foods and in clinical agents could prevent food-borne illnesses, and even treat antibiotic-resistant infections, according to the authors of a study published in the Journal of Medical Microbiology. This oil’s warming effect may be helpful for alleviating muscle aches and pain related to rheumatism, arthritis, and muscle spasms and strains. It may also be used to aid in digestion, ease cramps and convulsions, and treat fungal infections.
A study from the University of Beira Interior in Portugal has shown that coriander oil is very powerful against a broad range of harmful bacteria. The researchers tested coriander oil against 12 bacterial strains, including E. coli, Salmonella, Bacillus cereus, and Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Of the tested strains, all showed reduced growth, and most were killed, by solutions containing 1.6% coriander oil or less.
This study not only shows that coriander oil also has an antibacterial effect, but provides an explanation for how it works, which was not previously understood. “The results indicate that coriander oil damages the membrane surrounding the bacterial cell. This disrupts the barrier between the cell and its environment and inhibits essential processes including respiration, which ultimately leads to death of the bacterial cell,” explained Dr. Fernanda Domingues who led the study. The researchers suggest that this oil could have important applications in the food and medical industries. “In developed countries, up to 30% of the population suffers from food-borne illness each year. This research encourages the design of new food additives containing coriander oil that would combat food-borne pathogens and prevent bacterial spoilage,” said Dr. Domingues. “Coriander oil could also become a natural alternative to common antibiotics. We envision the use of coriander…to fight multi drug-resistant bacterial infections that otherwise could not be treated. This would significantly improve people’s quality of life.”