Coriander: Essential for every kitchen with lots of health benefits

Coriander: Essential for every kitchen with lots of health benefits
Coriander
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They are an easy to grow small low-lying plants famous for its seeds and leaves. The leaves and the seeds are extensively used in cooking. The leaves are commonly known as cilantro. In some places the root is also added in food. They are grown almost in all the regions of the world.

Quick Details of Coriander

Other Common NamesCoriander, Chinese parsley, Dhania
TypeOutdoor/ indoor herb
MaintenanceLow
FloweringLate spring
LightDirect light
WaterRegular watering
TemperatureWarm climate
SoilAny well-drained moist potting soil
FertilizerAny house plant fertilizer
HabitatMediterranean and south east Europe
ToxicityCan cause allergies in few people
Common DiseasesMostly resistant to diseases
Scientific nameCoriandrum sativum

Overview of Coriander

It is an annual herb the family Apiaceae. Some of the common names include Chinese parsley, dhania or cilantro. They are said to be a native of Mediterranean and parts of south east Europe. The plants are now grown and widely used around the world. The plant can grow up to a height of 50cm. The leaves are irregular shaped with definite lobes present in the leaves at the bottom and slender leaves as it reaches the tip. The flowers are white in colour. It is a spice belonging to the parsley family.

Special features:

They are edible plants with almost all the parts including the roots used for cooking. They have a pleasing lemony flavour. The leaves are rich in vitamin A, K, C and other dietary vitamins. The seeds have a small amount of potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. The presence of ascorbic acid, palmitic acid, linoleic acid and stearic acid helps in obtaining a proper secretion of hormones

Usage and Advantage of Coriander

  •  Used in traditional medicine to treat stomach ailments.
  •  Helps relieve constipation.
  •  Used in treating infections caused by bacteria and fungus.
  •  Helps increase milk flow in lactating mothers.
  •  Added as a spice.
  •  It is also used as a flavor in food.
  •  The leaves can be used to reduce acne, reduces wrinkles, controls oily skin.
  •  Controls blood pressure and cholesterol
  •  Improves mouth health and eyesight.
  •  Reduces menstrual cramps

General Care for Coriander

Soil: Prefers airy, light well drained moist soil. Sand can be mixed to increase aeration of the soil.

Watering: They prefer moist soil; hence the plants should be watered regularly. However, the young plants do not require much water.

Light: Bright direct/indirect light. Too much harsh direct sunlight can harm the plants.

Fertilizers: Any plant fertilizers can be added during sowing and later ones a month.

Pruning: It should be pruned regularly to promote new growth. 1/3rd of the stems can be cut once it reaches a height of 6 inches. over pruning can weaken the plant preventing it from growing further. Regular pinching off of the soft stems extends the life span.

Pests and other problems for Coriander

The plants can be attacked by a number of pathogens. Some of them include:

Bacterial diseases:

Soft rot: Caused by Erwinia carotovora, E.chrysanthemi. The symptoms include water logged lesions near the base of petiole which later turns brown. Mostly caused in plants grown in waterlogged soils.

Control: Making sure the soil is well drained and watering only when the soil is dry.

Bacterial leaf spot: Caused due to Pseudomonas syringae. The symptoms include water-soaked spots between the leaf veins which can turn black. The stems have dark streaks. The flowers turn yellow and the fruits have water logged lesions.

Control:  it is difficult to control.

Viral diseases:

Carrot motley dwarf: Caused by carrot redleaf virus (CRLV), carrot mottle virus (CMoV). The symptoms include yellowing and reddening of the leaves and stunted growth.

Fungal diseases:

Damping off: Caused due to Pythium spp. The symptoms include rotting seeds that fail to germinate, death of seedling, reddish water soaked lesions in the stem.

Control: Make sure the plant is grown in well drained soil. Treating the seeds with fungicides before sowing them.

Powdery mildew: Caused by Erysiphe heraclei. The symptoms include powdery growth of the leaves, petioles, flowers. The leaves become chlorotic and flowers become distorted.

Control: Prevent excess fertilization and addition of fungicides.

The plants can also get attacked by aphids, mites and white flies. Spraying the plants with neem oil can prevent the attack of pests and nematodes.

Propagation of Coriander

Seeds: They are usually propagated by seeds. The plants flowers one mature. The seeds can be collected from the plants. They have a short life span hence the seeds have to be sown every few weeks to obtain a continuous harvest. If you want just leaves the seeds can be sown in any season based on your climate .

Unique way of Propagation: Once you buy coriander for vegetable shop and if it is having roots, cut off the leaves leaving roots with 2-3 inch of leaves and place it in the plain water in any cup. You will see a new growth and you can use this again for your kitchen purpose. Keep changing water in every 2-3 days.

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