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5 Healing Spices: Coriander

5 Healing Spices: Coriander

Coriander

Health Benefits: Eases Digestive Discomfort

Oils contained in coriander seed are powerful, cell-protecting antioxidants that are behind many of coriander’s curative powers, including its ability to soothe digestive ailments.

In a study reported in Digestive Diseases and Sciences, gastroenterologists studied 32 people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a chronic digestive complaint that afflicts 10 to 20 percent of Americans. It includes symptoms such as abdominal pain, cramping and bloating, along with diarrhea and constipation. The researchers divided the subjects up into two groups: One group received a preparation containing coriander; the other received a placebo. After eight weeks, those taking the coriander preparation had three times more improvement in abdominal pain and discomfort than the placebo group.

Why? Coriander works like an antispasmodic drug, relaxing the contracted digestive muscles that cause the discomfort of IBS and other “overactive gut” disorders.

May also help prevent and treat:
Bloating, cholesterol problems, colic, colon cancer, type 2 diabetes, diarrhea, eczema, flatulence, high blood pressure, IBS, indigestion, insomnia, lead poisoning, liver disease, psoriasis, rosacea, stomachache, ulcer, vaginal yeast infection.

How to buy coriander:
Coriander seeds come in two main varieties: European coriander — which accounts for the majority of the U.S. market — is spherical in shape and more flavorful because of its higher concentration of volatile oils. Indian coriander is more egg-shaped and contains some oils not found in European coriander, resulting in a more lemony scent. Coriander is also sold powdered, but it’s best to buy whole seeds, as the oils dissipate after a few months once ground.

How to Use:

  • Mix coriander seeds with peppercorns in your peppermill.
  • Coarsely grind coriander and rub it into meats or fish before cooking.
  • Add whole or ground seeds to stews, casseroles, marinades, vinaigrettes and pickled dishes.
  • Make a classic Moroccan rub: Mix ground coriander with garlic, butter and paprika, and rub it on lamb before roasting.

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