Coriandrum sativum. Coriander.
Nat. Ord. — Apiaceae. Sex. Syst. — Pentandria Digynia.
Description. — This is an annual plant with a tapering root, and an erect, round, smooth, more or less branching, striated stem, growing from one to two feet high. The leaves are compound, the lower ones pinnate, on long slender petioles, their leaflets wedge-shaped or fan-shaped, and acutely-notched, somewhat resembling those of common parsley ; the upper ones thrice ternate, with five linear-pointed leaflets. The flowers are white, often with a reddish tint, and are disposed in compound, terminal, stalked umbels, of rarely more than four or five rays; the partial rays more numerous. Calyx five-toothed, acute, unequal, permanent. Petals obovate, emarginate, with inflexed lobes, the exterior radiating and bifid. The fruit is spherical, a line and a half in diameter, somewhat coriaceous, carminative and aromatic. Seed excavated in front, with a loose skin.
History. — Coriander is a native of Italy, but found growing wild in most parts of Europe. It flowers in June, and the fruit ripens in August. When bruised, all parts of the fresh plant are extremely fetid, resembling the odor of bugs, while the fruit, which is the officinal portion, becomes fragrant by drying; the smell and taste being gratefully aromatic, and which is owing to a volatile oil, which may be obtained by distillation. As found in the shops, the fruit is globular, about the eighth of an inch in diameter, obscurely ribbed, of a grayish or brownish yellow color, and separable into two portions, or half fruits. Its virtues are imparted to alcohol, and partially to water.
Properties and Uses. — Stimulant and carminative. Used principally to cover the taste of other medicines, or to correct their nauseous or griping qualities. Dose, from a scruple to a drachm.
Of. Prep. — Confectio Sennae.