Coriander is believed to be indigenous to the Mediterranean but is now widely grown from North Africa to India to South America to Europe. It is available whole or powdered. Coriander seeds taste warm, mild and sweet with a hint of citrus. The seeds smell woody and aromatic when fully ripened. However, the unripe seeds smell fetid or “buggy” as Pliny described them (he called them coriandrum, which is believed to be a derivative of coris, which is a bug).
Coriander seed is most commonly found in Indian curries but is also widely used in the cuisine of the Middle East, especially Morocco (harissa) and Egypt (dukka), Europe and the Americas.
The seed oil is used medicinally to treat migraine and indigestion and is used as a natural antibiotic (particularly for the treatment of skin conditions). It is gaining popularity as an anti-inflammatory useful for alleviating the pain of arthritis.