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Chapter: Pharmacognosy and Phytochemistry : Drugs Containing Volatile Oils

Coriander consists of dried ripe fruits of Coriandrum sativum Linn., belonging to family Umbelliferae.






Fructus coriandri, Coriander fruits, Cilantro, Chinese parsley.


Biological Source


Coriander consists of dried ripe fruits of Coriandrum sativum Linn., belonging to family Umbelliferae.


Geographical Sources


Cultivated in Central and Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia, Hungary, in Africa and India. In India it is cultivated in Maharashtra, U.P., Rajasthan, Jammu, and Kashmir. It is also found in a antiwild state in the east of England.


Cultivation and Collection


The coriander seeds are sown in dry weather either in March or in early autumn. Shallow drills, about 1/2 inch deep and 8 inches apart are made and the seeds are sown in it, the rate of germination is slow. The plants are annual herb, which grow to a height of 1 to 3 feet high, slender, and branched. The flowers are in shortly stalked umbels with five to ten rays. The seeds fall as soon as ripe and when the seeds are ripe (about August), the disagreeable odour is produced. Plant is then cut down with sickles; the fruits are collected and dried. During drying fruits develop aromatic smell and the unpleasant odour disappears.




The fruit is a cremocarp, subspherical in shape, Yellowish-brown in colour. The size of the fruit is 3 to 4 mm in diameter, with aromatic odour, and spicy, aromatic taste.


            Coriandrum sativum



The transverse section of coriander shows the presence of a dorsal surface and a commissural surface. The dorsal surface consists of two vittae and a carpophore. The dorsal surface has five primary ridges and four secondary ridges. The epicarp consists of a single row of small thick-walled cells with calcium oxalate crystals. The mesocarp has an outer loosely arranged tangentially elongated parenchyma cells and the middle layer consisting of sclerenchyma. The middle layer is again divided into; the outer region of sclerenchyma is represented by longitudinally running fibres, whereas the inner region has tangentionally running fibres. The vascular bundles are present below the primary ridges. The inner layer has polygonal, irregularly arranged parenchyma cells. The endocarp has the parquetry arrangement. In the testa it has single-layered, yellowish cells, and the endosperm is thick, polygonal, colourless parenchyma with fixed oil and aleurone grains.


       Transverse section of coriander fruit (mericarp)

Chemical Constituents


Coriander consist of about 1% of volatile oil the chief volatile components are D-(+)-linalool (coriandrol), along with other constituents like, borneol, p-cymene, camphor, geraniol, limonene, and alpha-pinenes. The fruits also contain fatty oil and hydroxycoumarins. The fatty oils include acids of petroselic acid, oleic acid, linolenic acid, whereas the hydroxycoumarins include the umbelliferone and scopoletine.





Aromatic, carminative, stimulant, alterative, antispasmodic, diaphoretic and flavouring agent. It is also used as refriger-ant, tonic, appetizer, diuretic, aphrodisiac, and stomachic. Coriander can be applied externally for rheumatism and painful joints. The infusion of decoction of dried fruit of cardamom is useful for the treatment of sore-throat, indigestion, vomiting, flatulence, and other intestinal dis-orders.


Marketed Products


It is one of the ingredients of the preparations known as Cystone (Himalaya Drug Company), Bilwadi churna (Baidyanath), and Sage massage oil (Sage Herbals).


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