8 Surprising Health Benefits of Coriander

1. May help lower blood sugar 

High blood sugar is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes (1Trusted Source).

Coriander seeds, extract, and oils may all help lower blood sugar. In fact, people who have low blood sugar or take diabetes medication should practice caution with coriander because it’s so effective in lowering blood sugar.

Animal studies suggest that coriander seeds reduce blood sugar by promoting enzyme activity that helps remove sugar from the blood (2).

A study in rats with obesity and high blood sugar found that a single dose (9.1 mg per pound of body weight or 20 mg per kg) of coriander seed extract decreased blood sugar by 4 mmol/L in 6 hours, similar to the effects of the blood sugar medication glibenclamide (3Trusted Source).

A similar study found that the same dosage of coriander seed extract lowered blood sugar and increased insulin release in rats with diabetes, compared with control animals (4Trusted Source).


Coriander may lower blood sugar by activating certain enzymes. In fact, it’s powerful enough that people with low blood sugar should use it cautiously.

2. Rich in immune-boosting antioxidants 

Coriander offers several antioxidants, which prevent cellular damage caused by free radicals.

Its antioxidants have been shown to fight inflammation in your body (5Trusted Source, 6Trusted Source, 7Trusted Source).

These compounds include terpinene, quercetin, and tocopherols, which may have anticancer, immune-boosting, and neuroprotective effects, according to test-tube and animal studies (8Trusted Source, 9Trusted Source, 10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).

One test-tube study found that the antioxidants in coriander seed extract lowered inflammation and slowed the growth of lung, prostate, breast, and colon cancer cells (12Trusted Source).


Coriander is full of antioxidants that demonstrate immune-boosting, anticancer, anti-inflammatory, and neuroprotective effects.

3. May benefit heart health

Some animal and test-tube studies suggest that coriander may lower heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels (13Trusted Source, 14Trusted Source).

Coriander extract appears to act as a diuretic, helping your body flush excess sodium and water. This may lower your blood pressure (13Trusted Source).

Some research indicates that coriander may help lower cholesterol as well. One study found that rats given coriander seeds experienced a significant decrease in LDL (bad) cholesterol and an increase in HDL (good) cholesterol (15Trusted Source).

What’s more, many people find that eating pungent herbs and spices like coriander helps them reduce their sodium intake, which may improve heart health.

In populations that consume large amounts of coriander, among other spices, rates of heart disease tend to be lower — especially compared with people on the Western diet, which packs more salt and sugar (16Trusted Source).


Coriander may protect your heart by lowering blood pressure and LDL (bad) cholesterol while increasing HDL (good) cholesterol. A spice-rich diet appears to be associated with a lower risk of heart disease.

4. May protect brain health

Many brain ailments, including Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and multiple sclerosis, are associated with inflammation (17Trusted Source, 18Trusted Source, 19Trusted Source).

Coriander’s anti-inflammatory properties may safeguard against these diseases.

One rat study found that coriander extract protected against nerve-cell damage following drug-induced seizures, likely due to its antioxidant properties (20Trusted Source).

A mouse study noted that coriander leaves improved memory, suggesting that the plant may have applications for Alzheimer’s disease (21Trusted Source).

Coriander may also help manage anxiety.

Animal studies demonstrate that coriander extract is nearly as effective as Diazepam, a common anxiety medication, at reducing symptoms of this condition (22Trusted Source).

Keep in mind that human research is needed.


The antioxidants in coriander may reduce brain inflammation, improve memory, and reduce anxiety symptoms, though more research is needed.

5. May promote digestion and gut health

Oil extracted from coriander seeds may accelerate and promote healthy digestion (23).

One 8-week study in 32 people with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) found that 30 drops of a coriander-containing herbal medication taken thrice daily significantly decreased abdominal pain, bloating, and discomfort, compared with a placebo group (24Trusted Source).

Coriander extract is used as an appetite stimulant in traditional Iranian medicine. One rat study noted that it increased appetite, compared with control rats given water or nothing (25Trusted Source).


Coriander may reduce unpleasant digestive symptoms like bloating and discomfort often experienced by people with IBS. It may also boost appetite among some people.

6. May fight infections

Coriander contains antimicrobial compounds that may help fight certain infections and foodborne illnesses.

Dodecenal, a compound in coriander, may fight bacteria like Salmonella, which can cause life-threatening food poisoning and affect 1.2 million people annually in the United States (26Trusted Source, 27Trusted Source).

Additionally, one test-tube study revealed that coriander seeds are among several Indian spices that can fight the bacteria responsible for urinary tract infections (UTIs) (28Trusted Source).

Other studies suggest that coriander oil should be used in antibacterial formulations due to its ability to fight foodborne illnesses and hospital-acquired infections (29Trusted Source, 30Trusted Source).


Coriander exhibits antimicrobial effects that may help fight foodborne illnesses and pathogens like Salmonella.

7. May protect your skin

Coriander may have several skin benefits, including for mild rashes like dermatitis.

In one study, its extract failed to treat diaper rash in infants on its own but could be used alongside other soothing compounds as an alternative treatment (31Trusted Source, 32Trusted Source).

Other studies note that the antioxidants in coriander extract may help prevent cellular damage that can lead to accelerated skin aging, as well as skin damage from ultraviolet B radiation (33Trusted Source, 34Trusted Source).

Furthermore, many people utilize coriander leaf juice for skin conditions like acne, pigmentation, oiliness, or dryness. Nonetheless, research on these uses is lacking.


Coriander contains antioxidants that may protect your skin from aging and sun damage. It may also help treat mild skin rashes.

8. Easy to add to your diet

All parts of the Coriandrum sativum plant are edible, but its seeds and leaves taste very different. While coriander seeds have an earthy flavor, the leaves are pungent and citrus-like — though some people find that they taste like soap.

Whole seeds can be added to baked goods, pickled vegetables, rubs, roasted vegetables, and cooked lentil dishes. Warming them releases their aroma, following which they can be ground for use in pastes and doughs.

Meanwhile, coriander leaves — also called cilantro — are best to garnish soup or use in cold pasta salads, lentils, fresh tomato salsa, or Thai noodle dishes. You can also purée them with garlic, peanuts, coconut milk, and lemon juice to make a paste for burritos, salsa, or marinades.


Coriander seeds and leaves both come in handy for everyday cooking but offer very different flavors that determine their best uses.

The bottom line

Coriander is a fragrant, antioxidant-rich herb that has many culinary uses and health benefits.

It may help lower your blood sugar, fight infections, and promote heart, brain, skin, and digestive health.

You can easily add coriander seeds or leaves — sometimes known as cilantro — to your diet.

Keep in mind that many of the above studies use concentrated extracts, making it difficult to know how much coriander seeds or leaves you would need to eat to reap the same benefits.

Last medically reviewed on September 17, 2019

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Evidence Based

Cilantro vs Coriander: What’s the Difference?

By Ryan Raman, MS, RD — Updated on April 14, 2023

Cilantro and coriander come from the same plant. Depending on your location, coriander may refer to just the dried seeds or to the whole plant. Cilantro typically refers to the leaves and stalk.

Cilantro and coriander come from the plant species — Coriandrum sativum (1Trusted Source).

However, they are named differently in different parts of the world.

In North America, cilantro refers to the leaves and stalks of the plant. The word “cilantro” is the Spanish name for coriander leaves. Meanwhile, the dried seeds of the plant are called coriander.

Internationally, it’s a different story. Coriander is the name for the leaves and stalks of the plant, while the dried seeds are called coriander seeds.

To avoid confusion, the rest of this article refers to the leaves and stalks of the Coriandrum sativum plant as cilantro and the dried seeds as coriander.

Despite coming from the same plant, cilantro and coriander have significantly different nutrient profiles, tastes and uses.

This article will help you understand the differences between cilantro and coriander.

They Have Different Nutrient Profiles

When it comes to nutrition, cilantro and coriander are quite distinct.

Cilantro leaves have much higher levels of vitamins, but lower levels of minerals. Conversely, coriander seeds have lower levels of vitamins, but far more minerals (2, 3).

Below is a comparison of the nutritional content of a 10-gram serving cilantro and coriander (2, 3).

Cilantro (% RDI)Coriander (% RDI)Dietary fiber1.116.8Vitamin A13.50Vitamin C4.53.5Vitamin K38.80Manganese2.19.5Iron19.1Magnesium0.68.2Calcium0.77.1Copper1.14.9Phosphorus0.54.1Selenium0.13.7Potassium1.53.6Zinc0.33.1

It’s worth noting that fresh cilantro is 92.2% water. Meanwhile, coriander seeds are only 8.9% water. This is a major reason why cilantro has lower levels of minerals by weight, as the water in cilantro contains no minerals or calories (2, 3, 4).

Summary Though they come from

the same plant, cilantro and coriander have different nutrient profiles.

Cilantro has higher levels of vitamins, such as vitamins A, K and E, while

coriander is more abundant in minerals like manganese, iron, magnesium and


They Taste and Smell Different

Interestingly, cilantro and coriander have different tastes and aromas.

Cilantro is an herb with a fragrant, citrusy flavor. Many people enjoy its refreshing taste and aroma, but others can’t stand it. Interestingly, people that find cilantro repulsive tend to have a genetic trait that makes them perceive cilantro as “foul” or “soapy” (5Trusted Source).

One study looked at the proportion of people from different ethnicities that dislike cilantro.

They found 21% of East Asians, 17% of Caucasians, 14% of people of African descent, 7% of South Asians, 4% of Hispanics and 3% of Middle Eastern participants disliked cilantro (5Trusted Source).

On the other hand, coriander appears to have a less polarizing taste and smell. Its aroma is best described as warm, spicy and nutty, with a hint of citrus. The spice is commonly paired with cumin and cinnamon because they share similar flavor traits.

Summary Cilantro has a

fragrant, refreshing and citrusy taste and aroma, while coriander has a warmer,

spicy and nutty taste and aroma. Interestingly, some people may have a specific

genetic trait that makes them perceive cilantro differently.

They Have Different Uses in Cooking

The different properties of cilantro and coriander have led people to use them differently in recipes.

The refreshing, citrusy taste of cilantro leaves has made them a common garnish in South American, Mexican, South Asian, Chinese and Thai dishes.

Fresh cilantro is typically added just before serving, since heat can quickly reduce its flavor.

Cilantro Dishes

Here are some dishes that contain cilantro:

Salsa: A Mexican side dish

Guacamole: An avocado-based dip

Chutney: A sauce of Indian origin

Acorda: A Portuguese bread soup

Soups: Some may call for cilantro as a garnish to enhance their flavor

Conversely, coriander seeds have a warmer and spicier taste and are commonly used in dishes that have a spicy kick.

Coriander Dishes

Here are some dishes that contain coriander:




Soups and


Meat rubs




bread: A sourdough rye bread of Russian origin

Dhana dal: Roasted and crushed coriander seeds, a popular Indian snack

Dry roasting or heating coriander seeds can enhance their taste and aroma. However, ground or powdered seeds lose their flavor quickly, so they’re best enjoyed fresh.

Can You Substitute Coriander for Cilantro?

Due to their different taste profiles, cilantro and coriander cannot be used interchangeably.

In addition, because the word “coriander” can refer to the seeds or the leaves, you may have to do some detective work when you’re following a new recipe that calls for it.

If you find a recipe that calls for “coriander,” make sure to check how the ingredient is used to find out whether the recipe is talking about the leaves and stalks, or the seeds of the plant.

Summary Cilantro has a more

refreshing and citrusy taste, which is why it’s commonly used as a garnish in

many recipes. In contrast, coriander has a more warm and spicy taste, which is

why it’s more commonly used in curries, rice dishes, soups and meat rubs.

Possible Health Benefits of Cilantro and Coriander

Several studies have linked cilantro and coriander to some impressive health benefits.

However, most of these findings are from test-tube or animal-based studies. Although they are promising, more research in humans is needed.

Here are some possible health benefits that cilantro and coriander share.

May Reduce Inflammation

Both cilantro and coriander are packed with molecules called antioxidants.

Antioxidants are thought to help reduce inflammation in the body by binding to and suppressing inflammation-promoting molecules known as free radicals (6Trusted Source).

One animal study found that the antioxidants in a cilantro extract helped fight skin aging. Skin aging is often accelerated by free-radical damage (7Trusted Source).

Furthermore, a test-tube study found that the antioxidants in a coriander seed extract reduced inflammation and inhibited the growth of cancer cells from the stomach, prostate, colon, breast and lungs (8Trusted Source).

While these studies are promising, more human-based research on the antioxidant benefits of cilantro and coriander are needed.

May Reduce Risk Factors for Heart Disease

Heart disease is the leading cause of death worldwide (9Trusted Source).

Some test-tube and animal studies have shown that cilantro and coriander may reduce several of its risk factors (10Trusted Source, 11Trusted Source).

One test-tube study found that cilantro extract may reduce the formation of blood clots. By reducing blood clotting, cilantro extract supplements may potentially reduce the risk of heart disease (10Trusted Source).

Moreover, one animal study found that a coriander seed extract significantly reduced blood pressure. In addition, it encouraged the animals to eliminate more water and salt through urine, which further helped reduce blood pressure (11Trusted Source).

May Lower Blood Sugar Levels

Having elevated blood sugar levels is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes (12Trusted Source).

Surprisingly, both cilantro and coriander seeds may help reduce blood sugar levels. They’re thought to do this by increasing the activity levels of enzymes that help remove sugar from the blood (13).

In fact, in one animal study, scientists found that animals that received coriander seeds had significantly less sugar in their bloodstreams (13).

In another animal study, cilantro leaves were shown to be nearly as effective as a diabetes medication at reducing blood sugar levels (14Trusted Source).

While these results are promising, more human-based research is needed on how cilantro and coriander affect blood sugar levels.

May Help Fight Infections

Test-tube studies have shown that the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of both cilantro and coriander may help them fight infections (15).

One test-tube study showed that compounds from fresh cilantro leaves helped fight foodborne infections by killing bacteria such as Salmonella enterica (16Trusted Source).

Another test-tube study showed that coriander seeds fight bacteria that commonly cause urinary tract infections (UTIs) (17). 

However, there is currently no evidence that coriander or cilantro can help fight infections in humans, so more human-based research is needed.


Both cilantro and coriander may deliver impressive health benefits. They may help reduce inflammation and blood sugar levels, lower the risk of heart disease and fight infections. However, more research on their effects in humans is needed

This Post Has 5 Comments

  1. Caroline Njeri

    This article is very informative. From now on, I will give coriander the respect it deserves.

  2. Carson Anekeya

    I actually didn’t know much of this, thanks for sharing.

  3. Shukrani Maina

    I didn’t know there was a difference between the two

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