Herb Hero: Coriander

January is a time for new year cleansing and winter warming recipes. As such, we’ve chosen coriander as our herb of the month, in part for its multitude of health benefits, but primarily for its frequent use in winter warming curries which are oh so welcome in the cold winter months!



Cultures across the world have used coriander for its health benefits and fresh taste for thousands of years. It’s said that Tutankhamun’s tomb was found with coriander seeds sprinkled throughout. Coriander was grown in the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, and it is one of the first herbs to be cultivated in North America. Ayurveda medicine has used coriander for over 5,000 years for its purported roles in supporting liver function, fighting infections, promoting digestion, detoxing the liver and kidneys, and aiding memory function.


Today most of us associate coriander with its culinary uses. It’s hugely popular in Asian and Central and South American cooking, but it’s also used widely in Europe, Russia, the Middle East and Africa.

In the UK, coriander is readily available in supermarkets. You can also grow it yourself from seed. (Top tip: Coriander actually comes from the same family as carrots and so the roots can be eaten too, and are delicious added to soups, stews, casseroles and curries.) The seeds are also edible either fresh or can be used as dried as a spice. The flowers are also edible and can be added to salads in the summer.

Coriander tends to lose its flavour when cooked so it’s best to add the fresh chopped leaves just prior to serving.