Learning about Spices
What is a spice?
Why were spices important?
Sources of spices
Perfumes and Incenses 
Use of spices as aphrodisiacs
Use of spices as medicines
Culinary herbs
A spice timeline

Table of Spices
Allspice (Pimento)
Anise
Black Pepper
Cardamom
Cassia
Chile Pepper
Chocolate
Cinnamon
Clove
Coriander (Cilantro)
Cumin
Dill
Fennel
Fenugreek
Frankincense and Myrrh
Galangal
Garlic
Ginger
Horseradish
Licorice
Mustard
Nutmeg and Mace
Onion
Saffron
Sugar
Sumac
Tamarind
Turmeric
Vanilla

Contacts and Acknowledgments
Common Name CORIANDER (CILANTRO) CORIANDER (CILANTRO)
Click image to enlarge
Genus SpeciesCoriandrum sativum
FamilyApiaceae
Origin Mediterranean Countries
Cultivated Widely around the world
  
  
  
  
  
Description The seed of the well-known cilantro or Chinese parsley plant (Coriandrum sativum) is known as coriander, and it is a spice with one of the longest histories of use. The name coriander is derived from the Greek word koris, meaning bedbug, since the unripe seeds and leaves when crushed have a smell suggestive of a crushed bedbug. The plant is indigenous to Greece, but the seed is now as well known in Asiatic and South American as it is in Mediterranean cooking. Cilantro is regarded as an herb, and is used with Mexican salsas, in Greek dishes and, along with the seeds of coriander, in Indian curries and in Thai food. Coriander is used in condiments, desserts, liqueurs, perfumes and in candies. Sugar covered coriander was known as comfits; these were used ceremoniously as a predecessor of paper confetti. See a list of spices by Taste and Hotness.
Useful Parts The seed is used both whole and ground. The fresh leaves are also popular garnishes in a variety of Mexican and East Asian cuisines.
Medicinal Properties Coriander and cilantro have been advocated for health purposes in folk therapies, and the list of such uses is similar to those for other spices. However, no medical value has been adequately evaluated, and thus this popular herb/spice remains a cook’s ingredient, and is utilized as a manufacturer’s flavor, rather than being recognized as an herbalist’s medication. Food authorities regard coriander as one of the most versatile spices, and, perhaps not surprisingly, individual authors give very different descriptions of its flavor.
See chemicals in spices.
Historical View “Coriander fruits possess stimulant and carminative properties like those of the other aromatic umbelliferous fruits; and may therefore be given in similar cases to those of caraway. They are, however, but little employed in medicine.”

Bentley, Robert and Henry Trimen. Medicinal Plants; being descriptions with original figures of the principal plants employed in medicine and an account of the characters, properties, and uses of their parts and products of medicinal value. London, Churchill, 1880. (WZ 295 B556m 1880)
CORIANDER (CILANTRO)
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Spice Exhibit URL: http://unitproj.library.ucla.edu/biomed/spice/index.cfm

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