Coriander Essential Oil


Coriander seeds are the supreme carminative condiment. They have been used for ages to treat stomach problems of indigestion and to stimulate the appetite. Coriander leaves, quite similar to the parsley, are a ubiquitous garnishing for dishes. Essential oil from coriander seeds retains the aromatic compounds that lend coriander its stomachic (a digestive aid) therapeutics. It is one of the most commonly used essential oils in aromatherapy because it exerts a strong influence on the nervous and gastro-intestinal tract. It is used in reducing pains and aches by mixing it with carrier oils to execute a therapeutic massage. It is the best natural deodorant as it kills odor causing bacteria which is rare. Essential oil can also be distilled from the fresh, dark green, aromatic leaves of coriander but it has much less usability in aromatherapy than the seed essential oil.  


Coriander is the same as Cilantro. It is known as Cilantro in the Americas. Its biological name is Coriandrum sativum. It is a small plant (herb) which bears aromatic leaves, seeds that when dried and roasted in oil release a pleasant, gastronomic flavor. For this very reason, coriander is hugely popular in traditional cuisines all the way from Portugal to India and China. In fact, one of its names is Chinese Parsley. In the Indian subcontinent, it is called Dhania.  

Coriander Essential Oil
Coriander Essential Oil (Image:Shutterstock)

Coriander seed essential oil is obtained by various methods like hydro-distillation or steam distillation. High quality essential oil is yielded when seeds are dried and oil extracted right afterwards, before they start to lose their aroma. 

Coriander leaves lose their aroma in a few hours as they turn from dark green to light green due to heat and sunlight. The essential oil must therefore be extracted before the leaves go bad. So, extraction units have to be very close to the coriander growing areas.  

Color and Aroma

Seed essential oil is a transparent, faintly yellowish oil with a subtle aroma. Its aroma is a complex mix with the strongest scent being a mix of flower (floral) and petitgrain (citrus) and lavender (cooling, soothing aroma). It has hints of camphoraceous smell because of a small amount of camphor that it has, which makes it warming. Although camphor is cool, its effect on the body is warming. Overall, the aroma is herbaceous and a bit spicy. In terms of perfume mixing, it is classified as a middle note (also called the heart note). Its aroma stays strong for about 2 to 3 hours after which it starts to faint.  


The range of therapeutic properties of coriander oil is quite impressive.  

  • Carminative – First and foremost, this essential oil is a carminative. It aids in releasing stored build-up of gas in the intestines as a result of normal digestive process. Sometimes, we suffer from gastritis in which gas production increases, which leads to discomfort, bloating and even nausea. [1] 
  • Stomachic – It relieves colic pain in the stomach. [1] 
  • Aperitif – For centuries, aroma of coriander seeds has been known to stimulate appetite which leads to stronger and more effective digestion. Its aroma just calls out to our stomach and it starts growling for delicious food. [1] 
  • Bactericidal – It is known for its ability to kill both the gram-positive and gram-negative spectrum of bacteria. Coriander seed essential oil is thus used in food processing industries to prevent food borne pathogenic illnesses. [1], [2]  
  • Anxiolytic – It contains the S-form of linalool which is slightly different from the R-form of linalool present in lavender essential oil. Linalool is effective at reducing anxiety and stress levels. [3] 
  • Antispasmodic – This property is helpful in reducing pain in the stomach when intestines are under spasm. [1] 
  • Analgesic –Camphor and linalool are helpful in reducing aches and pains caused by arthritis. [1] 
  • Depurative – It is believed that coriander essential oil causes detoxification by promoting expulsion of toxins from our body. [1] 
  • Aphrodisiac – It promotes sexual libido.  
  • Anti-fungal – Coriander essential oil demonstrated anti-fungal activity against several types of Candida fungus. One of them is the candida albicans which is responsible for oral thrush.  
  • Sedative – It is helpful in insomnia as it helps us to relax, calm the fidgetiness in our body and randomness in our thoughts. It aids in falling asleep. [5] 

Health Benefits and Uses

As a Digestive Aid

Coriander seed essential oil stimulates the brain so that its releases stomach acid. This causes us to feel hungry. Its aroma is effective at making us feel attracted towards our preferred food items. It is safe to be consumed internally (if it is marked as such by the seller) and therein it alleviates indigestion. Incomplete digestion and absorption of food in our intestines is one of the causes for excess gas production which creates the sensation of nausea and eventual bouts of vomiting. It also helps to curb the extremely discomforting bloating that is so severe that the abdomen looks distended because of the pressure that built-up gas exerts from inside. Since the seed essential oil is an antispasmodic, it relieves intestinal spasms that are caused by severe constipation or irritable bowel syndrome.  

Pain Relieving Essential Oil based Ointment for Arthritis (Using Beeswax) 

There are various forms of arthritis like osteo-arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. However, they all generate debilitating joint pain and inflammation which leads to redness, soreness and sharp pain during movement. Arthritic inflammation can be managed using a formulation of essential oils as a massage on the affected joint.  

The following recipe can be used as a salve.  


Essential oils of  

  • Coriander: 20 drops 
  • Ginger: 20 drops 
  • Turmeric: 10 drops 
  • Frankincense: 10 drops 
  • Myrrh: 10 drops 
  • Orange: 40 drops 
  • Eucalyptus: 20 drops 

Base of the salve would be a mixture of corn oil (organic, cold pressed) and beeswax.


Take 70 ml of corn oil and heat it separately over low flame. In another pot, heat up and melt 20 grams of beeswax. Mix the two when they are hot. Keep stirring using a stainless-steel stirrer (not aluminum based stirrer). Add the essential oils in the above-mentioned drops into the mixture while stirring. Beeswax will mix with the corn oil incorporating all the essential oils into an oily ointment. This oily solution should be kept in an amber colored glass bottle with an air-tight cap.  


It can be directly applied topically to the affected joint. Regular application for about 15 days can start to show positive results.  

Coriander Essential Oil Based Blend for Acne Control 

A combination of four specific essential oils has been found to exert synergy in killing P. acnes bacteria.[2] These bacteria colonize sebum producing glands of our skin cells and when they multiply too much, they can lead to formation of blocked pores, pimples and painful nodules under the skin. They can also cause acne, either on their own or as a joint action with other bacteria like S. aureus.  

Ingredients for Essential Oil Acne-Control Blend 

Essential oils of  

  • Coriander – 5 drops 
  • Turmeric – 5 drops 
  • Lemongrass – 5 drops 
  • Citronella – 5 drops 

Jojoba oil (cold pressed and organic) will be the base oil of choice for its superbly low comedogenicity.  

How to make? 

Simply add the mentioned number of drops of essential oil to about 4 fl oz (about 120 ml) of jojoba oil. Shake well and keep in either amber colored glass bottles or in stainless steel container.  


This essential oil can be applied topically onto the skin after all the make-up and dirt has been removed. It should be kept as is. There is no need to wipe it off as jojoba oil is very light and non-greasy. It penetrates deep into the inner layers of the skin and there, the essential oils exert their inflammation reducing and bacteria killing activity.  

For Treating Oral Thrush and Yeast Infections

Candida species of fungi are responsible for localized fungal infections. Thrush of the oral cavity and fungal vaginal infections are often caused by a specific type of fungus known as Candida albicans. These are often very stubborn infections and sadly, they have developed resistance to first line anti-fungal treatments. Certain essential oils (like coriander) and some edible oils, like coconut oil are effective at killing these fungi. We can take advantage of this knowledge. Using coconut oil as base (about 100 ml), adding about 5 drops of coriander seed EO to liquid coconut oil makes for an essential oil infused natural anti-fungal salve that can be applied directly onto the affected region.  

Best Natural Deodorant 

Coriander essential oil is among the very few volatiles that are helpful in getting rid of foul body odor that is more offensive than regular body odor because it is caused by a bacterial infection, usually bacteria of the species Brevibacterium. Apart from coriander seed oil, the following essential oils are also effective at treating such BO – essential oil of Kanuka (Kunzea ericoides) and Manuka (Leptospermum scoparium). Both of these are endemic to the islands of New Zealand.  

Best way to use these three oils is to sprinkle a few drops in bath water and bathe in it. This way, they coat our skin and work at killing the odor causing bacteria. A maximum of 7 drops of essential oil should be added to a regular sized bath tub filled with water. However, one should first do a patch test on skin to be sure that the oil does not lead to any irritation, sensitivity or allergy. Although the number of drops is very few, it is required to keep the number to a minimum because the skin of our genitals is very sensitive. 

Besides these health benefits, coriander essential oil is a staple in aromatherapy treatments to reduce anxiety and stress levels of people. It acts as a sedative. It is also used to obtain a clearer skin. However, there is no substantial basis for its use in alleviating symptoms of diabetes or weight loss.  

Nutritional and Medicinal Information

Chemical composition of coriander seed essential is markedly different from leaf essential oil.  

(S)-(+)-Linalool   57.57% 
Geranyl acetate  15.09% 
P-cymene  2.52% 
Camphor  3.02% 
Borneol  1.27% 
Nerol  1.68% 
Carvone  1.14% 
β-caryophyllene  3.26% 

Source: 4     

All of these compounds are natural terpenoids. They are a product of the evolution process wherein trees and plants started generating aromatic compounds to protect themselves from pests or to attract pollinating agents like bees. Coriander essential oil is used to kill the larvae of the aedes aegypti mosquito. These cause dengue fever, yellow fever and chikungunya, all of which are deadly diseases common to the tropical humid regions of the world.  

Linalool found in coriander is the S form which is just a mirror image of the linalool found in lavender essential oil (the R form). Both of them differ slightly in their chemical properties. But, like the R form, S form of linalool is also effective at reducing anxiety levels. S form of linalool is popularly called coriandrol after coriander. Most of these compounds mentioned in the table above can be found in other essential oils also. Geranyl acetate is found in many essential oils, chiefly Geraniol. Camphor for example is found in turpentine and Camphor laurel (Cinnamomum camphora) and many more trees. So, it is the relative proportion of these volatiles that translates into major differences in the therapeutics of essential oils. 

Geranyl acetate, the second largest constituent of coriander oil is a potent antioxidant and anti-cancerous for colon cancer cells. It has been found to induce apoptosis (normal cell death) in colon cancer cells in vitro (in the test tube). This can suggest its future applicability in developing medication to treat colon cancer in humans.  

Let us also evaluate the chemical composition of essential oil of coriander leaf. This table below depicts the constituents of coriander leaf essential oil sourced from Massachusetts.  

(E)-2-dodecenal  15.6% 
(E)-2-tetradecenal  12.7% 
(E)-2-decenal  12.1% 
Decanal  9.25% 
2-decen-1-ol  8.18% 
(E)-2-undecenal  5.32% 
dodecanal  4.96% 
(E)-2-pentadecenal  4.77% 

Source: 6 

This particular essential oil is potent at killing the Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. [2] A blend using coriander leaf EO and cumin seed EO is much more powerful antibacterial against S. aureus. Coriander leaf oil has also been recently found to kill the pathogen responsible for Leishmaniasis (it is a protozoa parasite), which is one of the neglected tropical diseases. [7] 

Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues

Coriander essential oil may act as an irritant to the eyes, throat and even skin, mainly because of geranyl acetate. Linalool rich oils should not be inhaled directly from the bottle for too long. They can cause dangerously low blood pressure which can even be life threatening. A maximum of 4 drops should be put in a diffuser and the room should be well ventilated to prevent accumulation of linalool in the room. This way, it is quite safe. Coriander essential oil must not be used in the vicinity of infants and pregnant and lactating mothers. It is safe to be consumed internally, but one must take only 1 drop diluted in 100ml of pure water per day. It is categorized as generally recognized as safe (GRAS) on the FDA database of essential oils.  

Buying and Storage

A lot about the quality of an essential oil and thus its therapeutic potential depends on the nature of the produce used, standards maintained during extraction process, quality control (using GC-MS analysis) and excellent storage firms. High quality manufacturers store their inventory in cold rooms wherein inert gases like nitrogen are used to slow down oxidation of the volatile compounds. This keeps the essential oils in pristine condition. Therefore, one must buy from a firm that has a reputation for scientifically best practices and also pays heed to sustainability of our environment.  

Essential oils must be stored in the refrigerator at around 4 degrees Celsius. Coriander seed oil can last for about 1-2 years because it is mostly made of monoterpenes. Oils rich in monoterpenes oxidize faster. The leaf essential oil can easily last for 3 years as it is mostly made of aldehydes. [8] 


  1. Salvatore Battaglia – The Complete Guide to Aromatherapy.  
  2. Ane Orchard and Sandy Van Vuuren – Commercial Essential Oils as Anti-microbials to treat Skin Diseases. Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2017.  
  3. Evaluation of anxiolytic potency of essential oil and S-(+)-linalool from Cinnamomum osmophloeum ct. linalool leaves in mice. Cheng BH et al, Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine.  
  4. Chemical Composition and Insecticidal Activity of Essential Oil from Coriandrum sativum Seeds against Tribolium confusum and Callosobruchus maculatus. Abbas Khani and Tahere Rahdari, ISRN Pharmaceutics. 
  5. Sedative effect of central administration of Coriandrum sativum essential oil and its major component linalool in neonatal chicks. Gaston MS et al, Pharmaceutical Biology.  
  6. Chemical composition and biological activity of Coriandrum sativum L.: A review. K.K. Chahal et al, Indian Journal of Natural Products and Resources.  
  7. Pharmacological activities of cilantro’s aliphatic aldehydes against Leishmania donovani. Donega MA et al, Planta Medica. 
  8. RobertTisserand– Lemon On The Rocks – Keep Your Essential Oils ,Cool,2013.

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