The name Coriandrum, used by Pliny, derived from the Greek word for a bug, referring to the fetid, bug-like odor given off by the fresh plant when bruised. The fruit loses this odor when dried. Coriander is a slender, solid-stemmed herb, about two feet high. The leaves are pinnate of bi-pinnate, the lower leaves divided into narrow, linear segments. The globular fruit, about 1/2 inch long is prominently ridged and reddish-brown when ripe.
Origins and cultivation:
A much grown plant in India, Coriandrum is a common ingredient in Indian cooking, with young plant (green shoots and leaves) used for flavoring and garnishing curries and soups and the seeds (raw or roasted) used as condiments in curry powders and seasonings. Coriander has immense medicinal properties and its fruit is used as a condiment, in curries, in some alcoholic beverages, and as a remedy for flatulence. The plant is very effective as a diuretic to increase flow of urine and as a refrigerant to break increasing fever. The crushed and roasted seeds mixed with warm water are used to gargle in cases of thrush of the mouth. If mixed with cold water, it works as a lotion in case of conjunctivitis.