Coriander Oil (Coriandrum sativum)
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is also known as Chinese parsley, Mexican parsley and cilantro in Spanish and Dhanyaka in India. It is native to the Middle East, but now grows all over the world. It is a member of the carrot family (Umbelliferae).
Coriander grows up to three feet in height. Its leaves are feathery and it bears purple-tinged or white flowers and small green seeds. The pale-coloured oil is steam distilled from these seeds.
The seeds have been found in Bronze Age ruins on the Aegean islands and in tombs of the Pharaohs. It was grown in the hanging gardens of Babylon. The Romans used coriander to flavour wine and brought it to Britain.
Coriander seed oil has a sweet, spicy, strong and woody aroma. Its main constituents are linalool and geraniol. It is deodorizing and stimulating.
The ancient Egyptians called coriander the spice of happiness and they used it as an aphrodisiac. It was also referred to as an aphrodisiac in the Arabian fantasy One Thousand and One Nights.
Coriander oil is helpful for chilly conditions. It is thought to be effective in warming aching and tired muscles.
In aromatherapy, coriander oil is considered stimulating and is used to relieve tired states of mind. It uplifts and refreshes where states of tension, fatigue and nervous weakness exist. It is thought to be an aphrodisiac as it is warm, spicy, sexy and exotic.
Carmelite monks in Paris used it in a 17th century toilet water recipe; from there, it became used in liqueurs such as Benedictine and Chartreuse. Today it is used to flavour sweets, tobacco, pickles, sauces, seasonings and alcoholic beverages.