Deodorising and stimulating
Coriander (Coriandrum sativum) is also known as Chinese parsley, Mexican parsley and cilantro in Spanish and Dhanyaka in India. It is native to the Middle East, but now grows all over the world. It is a member of the carrot family (Umbelliferae).
Coriander grows up to three feet in height. Its leaves are feathery and it bears purple-tinged or white flowers and small green seeds. The pale-coloured oil is steam distilled from these seeds.
Coriander seed oil has a sweet, spicy, strong and woody aroma. Its main constituents are linalool and geraniol. It is deodorising and stimulating. The ancient Egyptians called coriander the spice of happiness and they used it as an aphrodisiac. It was also referred to as an aphrodisiac in the Arabian fantasy One Thousand and One Nights.
Coriander oil is helpful for chilly conditions. It is thought to be effective in warming aching and tired muscles. In aromatherapy, coriander oil is considered stimulating and is used to relieve tired states of mind. It uplifts and refreshes where states of tension, fatigue and nervous weakness exist.
Carmelite monks in Paris used it in a 17th century eau de toilette recipe; from there, it became used in liqueurs such as Benedictine and Chartreuse. Today it is used to flavour sweets, tobacco, pickles, sauces, seasonings and alcoholic drinks.