Coriandrum (U. S. P.)—Coriander.
Related entry: Oleum Coriandri (U. S. P.)—Oil of Coriander
"The fruit of Coriandrum sativum, Linné"—(U. S. P.).
COMMON NAMES: Coriander, Coriander fruit.
Botanical Source.—Coriander is an annual, smooth herb, with a tapering root, and a round, erect stem, 12 or 18 inches high, more or less branched, leafy, round, and striated. The leaves are compound; the lower ones pinnate, on long, slender petioles, their leaflets wedge-shaped, or fan-shaped, acutely notched; upper leaves multifid, in fine, linear segments. The flowers are white, often with a reddish tint, disposed in compound, terminal, stalked umbels, of rarely more than 4 or 5 rays; the partial rays being more numerous. The calyx is 5-toothed, acute, unequal, and 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. The seed is excavated in front and has a loose skin (L.)
History.—Coriander is an Italian plant, but introduced in all the warmer portions of Europe and temperate parts of Asia, flowering from May to July, and maturing its fruit early in the latter part of summer. Occasionally it is found in cultivation in the United States and South American States. When the fresh plant is bruised, it emits a disagreeable, bedbug-like odor, but by desiccation the fruit acquires its peculiar aromatic odor. The pleasant flavor is owing to a volatile oil, which may be procured by distillation. Alcohol takes up the active properties of the seed, water only partially.
Description.—"Globular; about 4 Mm. (1/6 inch) in diameter; crowned with the calyx-teeth and stylopod; brownish-yellow, with slight, longitudinal ridges; the two mericarps cohering, enclosing a lenticular cavity and each furnished on the face with two oil-tubes; odor and taste agreeably aromatic"—(U. S. P.).
Chemical Composition.—The fruit contains a volatile oil, its chief constituent (see Oleum Coriandri), tannin, malic acid, mucilage, and a large quantity (about 13 per cent) of fatty material. The amount of ash was found to be 5.21 per cent (Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1887, p. 28).
Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Coriander is a stimulant and carminative, and is employed in medicine as an adjuvant or corrigent. Its dose is from 20 to 60 grains.