Coriander...love it or hate it?
IS IT tasty or terrible... and before you answer, remember looks can be deceiving.
Coriander is a green leafy herb also known as cilantro or Chinese parsley. It's used in a variety of meals and adored by some and despised by others. I'm definitely in the latter on this one!
All parts of the plant are edible but the fresh leaves and the dried seeds are the parts most traditionally used in cooking.
The leaves have a different taste from the seeds. Some people find the leaves to have a pleasant citrus taste, while a small percentage experience a soapy taste. This has been linked to a gene which detects aldehyde chemicals, which is also present in soap. Others experience an unpleasant aroma, like sweaty socks.
The health benefits of coriander can include: the treatment of skin inflammation, high cholesterol levels, diarrhoea, mouth ulcers, anaemia, indigestion, menstrual disorders, smallpox, conjunctivitis, skin disorders, and blood sugar disorders, while also benefiting eye care.
Unfortunately, some people (like me) have a severe reaction to coriander. In fact, it has spoilt many an evening out, not knowing what was causing the pain. Sometimes unbearable .... not dissimilar to childbirth.
How is it so, that a small healthy looking herb could be a villain in disguise? I believe it is the seed more so than the foliage that is the real issue for me, but none-the-less it's horrible either way.
A coriander allergy is an immune system reaction to parts of the coriander plant, including the leaves and the whole or ground seeds. It may be caused by oral allergy syndrome.
Many spice allergies are a result of oral allergy syndrome, or a pollen-food allergy. Coriander is related to the birch tree, so people allergic to birch pollen may experience a mild and brief allergic reaction, such as itchy or tingling lips, severe stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and constipation. It may also affect the respiratory system, causing wheezing and trouble breathing.
Like most allergies, it may take some time to discover the cause and then realise that avoidance is key. For me, that means being vigilant and on coriander alert!
Facebook has a page dedicated to the passionate people who can't stand the humble herb. Love it or hate it, the "I hate coriander page" is a good laugh. Check it out, go to: facebook.com/ihatecoriander/.