Origin, Distribution and Composition
Coriander is both an annual and a perennial herb. It is erect, sweet
smelling and grows up to 20 cm in length with many branches. The stem is
feeble, smooth and light green in color. Leaves are compound, thin,
alternate and easily breakable. Fruits are spherical—about one centimeter
in diameter with some longitudinal ridges. They are green when tender and
brownish yellow when ripe. They have a sweet fragrance.
Coriander is a native of the Mediterranean region, where it has been grown
since ancient times. It is extensively cultivated in Europe, North Africa,
India, South America, Malaysia, Thailand and China. It thrives in black
soil and arid regions.
Coriander is rich in various food elements. An analysis of coriander
leaves shows them to contain moisture 86.3 per cent, protein 3.3 per cent,
fat 0.6 per cent, minerals 2.3 per cent, fiber 1.2 per cent and
carbohydrates 6.3 per cent per 100 grams. The mineral and vitamin contents
include calcium, phosphorus, iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin
and vitamin C. They also contain sodium, potassium and oxalic acid. Their
calorific value is 44.
Coriander seeds are dried when they are ripe. They have an aromatic odor
and agreeable spicy taste. An analysis of the seeds shows them to contain
moisture 11.2 per cent, protein 14.1 per cent, fat 16.1 per cent, minerals
4.4 per cent, fiber 32.6 per cent and carbohydrates 21.6 per cent per 100
grams. Their mineral and vitamin contents include calcium, phosphorus,
iron, carotene, thiamine, riboflavin, and niacin. Their calorific value is
Indian coriander contains an essential oil which causes irritation when in
contact with skin for a long time. Besides essential oil, the seeds also
contain a fatty oil.