At present most people are willing to consume ayurvedic medicine frequently in order to protect themselves from the COVID-19 pandemic. Given this scenario Coriander seeds are a very popular ayurvedic medicine with Sri Lankans. There is medicinal value in the Coriander seed because it improves our immune system. Coriander is rich in immune boosting antioxidants. However, according to some research studies there are some side effects related to Coriander consumption; especially associated with pregnancy. But most people in our society are not aware of the vital facts about this product. Therefore, this time Health Capsule is going to discuss about the side effects of consuming Coriander in large quantities during pregnancy.
The Coriander plant
Coriandrum sativum is the scientific name for the Coriander plant which is a glabrous, aromatic, herbaceous annual plant. This plant has a very effective antioxidant profile. According to some research studies, Coriander contains beneficial pharmacological properties as well as non beneficial properties. They are as follows :
Has phenolic compounds which are responsible for its antioxidant activity and as a result it will boost the immune system.
The consumption of coriander seeds gives the ability to decrease high level of glucose in the blood.
Shows antimicrobial activity against both Gram positive (Staphylococcus aureus, Bacillus spp.) and Gram negative (Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhi, Klebsiella pneumonia, Proteus mirabilis, Pseudomonas aeruginosae) bacteria and a pathogenic fungus such as Candida albicans.
- Sedative Hypnotic Activity and Anti-Anxiety Activity
Has the ability to reduce tension and anxiety and induce calm or to induce sleep.
Has the ability to increase urine production and the glomerular filtration rate. It also excretes the electrolytes.
- Cholesterol lowering Activity
Coriander seeds have a significant hypolipidemic action and they decrease the level of low density lipoprotein (LDL) and very low density lipoprotein (VLDL) cholesterol. They also increase the level of high density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.
- Protective role against Lead Toxicity
Treatment with Coriander significantly reduces the adverse effects related to most of biochemical parameters altered with lead, related to hepatic and renal oxidative stress.
Some studies have described the antifungal activity of Coriander essential oil on Candida spp., which could be useful in designing new formulations for candidosis treatment.
Coriander at very low concentration showed high efficacy in anticancer activity. Coriander promotes both antioxidant and anticancer activity.
- Hepatoprotective Activity
As mentioned in research studies, the administration of Coriander extract resulted in disappearance of fatty deposit, ballooning degeneration and necrosis; indicating antihepatotoxic activity.
- Gastric Mucosal Protective Activity
The protective effect of Coriander aids the pretreatment of gastric mucosal injuries caused by NaCl, NaOH, ethanol, indomethacin and pylorus ligation accumulated gastric acid secretions. This was detected in several studies. The protective effect against ethanol-induced damage of the gastric tissue might be related to the free-radical scavenging property of different antioxidant constituents present in Coriander such as linanool, flavonoids, coumarins, catechins, terpenes and polyphenolic compounds.
However there are negative effects of Coriander also due to over consumption of the seed.
- Post-Coital Antifertility Activity
The effects of the Coriander seeds have been studied on female fertility by using some parametres and they include the effects on the oestrus cycle, implantation, foetal loss, abortion, teratogenicity and serum progesterone levels on days 5, 12 and 20 of the pregnancy. The extract at doses of 250 and 500 mg/kg orally produced a dose-dependent significant anti-implantation effect and it may be due to a significant decrease in serum progesterone levels of pregnancy. But there was no significant change in the weight and length of the fetuses delivered by rats treated with the Coriander extract and no abnormalities were seen in the organs of the off springs and also no any complete infertility. Therefore, it is not safe to consume coriander seeds during pregnancy.
People who are allergic to mugwort, aniseed, caraway, fennel, dill, or similar plants might have allergic reactions to Coriander.
(The writer holds a MSc. Degree in Industrial and Environmental Chemistry from the University of Kelaniya and a BSc in Food Production and a Technology Management degree from the Wayamba University
of Sri Lanka)