Coriander as an aphrodisiac

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coriander aphrodisiac or cilantro aphrodisiac

Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also commonly called cilantro in North America, is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae. Coriander is native to southwestern Asia west to north Africa. It is a soft, hairless, fetid plant growing to 50 cm tall. The leaves are variable in shape, broadly lobed at the base of the plant, and slender and feathery higher on the flowering stems. The flowers are borne in small umbels, white or very pale pink, asymmetrical, with the petals pointing away from the centre of the umbel longer (5-6 mm) than those pointing to the middle of the umbel (only 1-3 mm long). The fruit is a globular dry schizocarp 3-5 mm diameter.

Also referred to as “cilantro” and “Chinese parsley”, it is a fast growing annual reaching 12 - 24 inches tall. The entire plant including the leaves, the seeds and roots are all edible. It has a very pungent odor and is widely used in Mexican, Caribbean and Asian cooking.

Coriander has been cultivated for thousands of years with some evidences pointing back to as early as the Neolithic age. The word "coriander" came from the Greek "koris", which means bug — an allusion to the fetid smell of crushed coriander leaves.

The distinctive smell of fresh coriander leaves is due to the aldehyde in the volatile oil. The leaves are rich in vitamin C, vitamin A, the B vitamin riboflavin and dietary fibre. Coriander's use as a medicine is as old as its use as a spice. The ancient Egyptians were among the first to use it as such. The Greeks and Romans used crushed coriander leaves to treat ulcers and rheumatism.

Today coriander is considered an aid to the digestive system. It is an appetite stimulant and aids in the secretion of gastric juices. The essential oils of the cilantro leaves contain antibacterial properties and can be used as a fungicide. Coriander seeds are also considered to have cholesterol lowering properties.

History also attests to its mystical aphrodisiac potency. The Chinese used the herb in love potions believing it provided immortality. The book of The Arabian nights tells a tale of a merchant who had been childless for 40 years and but was cured by a concoction that included coriander. That book is over 1000 years old so the history of coriander as an aphrodisiac dates back far into history. In Ayurveda, coriander is an aphrodisiac, digestive, anti-flatulent, tonic, coolant, and diuretic. In the Middle Ages, several herbs such as the coriander, the cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum), the clove (Syzygium aromaticum), the ginger (Zingiber officinale) and the cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum) were all mixed to make a drink, called “Hipocras” that was commonly used during weddings. This same drink was imported to Europe by the members of the crusades and later on exported to many nations of South America, but it was banned because it stimulated the libido too much.


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