Coriander’s Health Benefits   Leave a comment

Ground coriander spice

Coriander, also known as Coriandrum sativum, derives from a plant native to Asia to North Africa, and southern Europe. While all parts of the plant are edible, the fresh coriander leaves and dried seeds are most commonly used in cooking. The fresh leaves are often used in many South Asian dishes including chutney, daal (lentils), vegetable medleys and chicken, as well as Chinese recipes and Russian salads. In Mexico, the fresh leaves are used as a garnish in guacamole and salsa. The essential oil of the coriander seed is thought to counteract overly spicy foods, making it a popular additive to curried dishes and spicy Mexican foods.  References to coriander date back to ancient civilizations, where medicinal properties were documented in Sanskrit and Greek writings.

Coriander seed and leaves.

Coriander is associated with many health benefits, possessing anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, analgesic, anxiolytic, anti-oxidant, lipid-lowering and digestive properties, as well as many others. It may have beneficial effects in diabetes, as shown by a UK study in mice whereby coriander decreased blood glucose levels, in addition to having insulin-releasing and insulin-like activity. Coriander seeds have also been shown to increase lipid metabolism in rats that were fed a high-fat diet with added cholesterol. The cholesterol-lowering effects were thought to be related to increased activity of plasma LCAT (an enzyme that transports cholesterol from peripheral tissues to the liver where it is metabolized), enhanced synthesis of hepatic bile acid, and increased degradation of cholesterol to fecal bile acids neutral sterols. Coriander has also been used to treat anxiety and insomnia for centuries in the Middle East. Recent studies in mice have shown that the aqueous extract of coriander can reduce spontaneous activity and improve neuromuscular coordination, suggesting anxiolytic, sedative and muscle relaxant effects. The fresh leaves of coriander were found to have a bactericidal effect against the food-borne bacterium, Salmonella choleraesuis


Wikipedia – Coriander
Antibacterial activity
Anxiety, Insomnia
Coriander home remedies (photo of coriander seed and leaves)
Anti-Diabetic effect
Cholesterol-lowering effect
Cholesterol metabolism by LCAT


Posted February 6, 2011 by lipiroy in Spices

Disclaimer   Leave a comment

The information expressed on this website is not intended to substitute medical advice. The opinions expressed by the author of this website are not a reflection of the academic organizations with which the author is affiliated, past or present. If you need medical attention, please contact your physician. Comments posted on this blog should not replace professional advice provided by your physician. Any posts with advertisements or commercials will be deleted.

Posted February 6, 2011 by lipiroy in Disclaimer

Spinach and Eggplant with Black Cumin   1 comment

       2 bags of spinach
       1 teaspoon of black cumin seeds
       1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
       5 individual garlic clove pieces
       1 teaspoon salt
       ½ teaspoon turmeric
       4 round ½ inch slices of eggplant
       ~4 tablespoons of canola or corn oil 

  1. In frying pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil at medium setting.
  2. Add slices of eggplant; fry until golden brown, then turn over. Remove from pan, place onto paper towel, and set aside.
  3. In larger pan, heat 1-2 tablespoons of oil.
  4. Add cumin seeds, mustard seeds, garlic.
  5. Wash spinach well, cut into small pieces then add to oil pan.
  6. Sprinkle salt and turmeric.
  7. Stir well.
  8. Let sit uncovered to allow water to evaporate. Add additional salt, if desired.
  9. When water evaporates, transfer spinach to serving dish. Place fried eggplant slices on top of spinach.
  10. Enjoy!! 🙂

    © Copyright 2010 by Lipi Roy, MD,MPH. All rights reserved.

Posted November 28, 2010 by lipiroy in Recipes

Black Cumin’s Health Benefits   2 comments

Black cumin (Nigella sativa) has been used as a spice, food preservative and traditional medicine for thousands of years. Native to southwest Asia (though seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs), black cumin seeds have multiple names, including fennel flower, blackseed, black caraway, “kaljeera” in Assamese, “karum cheerakam” in Tamil, “kalonji” in Hindi and “chernushka” in Russian. It has a bitter, pungent smell and taste, but this has not prevented its use in many culinary dishes, ranging from Indian naan bread, Turkish çörek buns, Bosnian pastries and simply as condiments with salads and stir fry dishes.

Many scientific studies have investigated the therapeutic properties of black cumin. Its active ingredient and most abundant component, thymoquinone (TQ), has reproducible antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and chemopreventive effects. TQ exerts its anti-inflammatory effects by suppressing immunomodulators such as prostaglandins and leukotrienes, and has been shown to play an anti-inflammatory role in experimental models of peritonitis, colitis, encephalomyelitis and arthritis. TQ has also been shown to decrease the proliferation of different tumor cells, including breast adenocarcinoma, pancreatic carcinoma, colorectal carcinoma, ovarian carcinoma, leukemia and osteosarcoma. The exact mechanism of the aforementioned effects is not completely understood, but TQ in black cumin has been shown to downregulate the expression of several biochemical messenger molecules (Bcl-xL, COX-2, iNOS, TNF and cyclin D1), all regulated by NF-kB. Thus, a large body of data has shown that black cumin has many beneficial health effects including the ability to fight infections (bacterial, fungal, viral, parasitic), many different types of cancers, as well as digestive disorders, headaches and skin diseases!

Stay tuned for a delicious recipe that uses black cumin…

Salem ML.  Int Immunopharmacol. 2005 Dec;5(13-14):1749-70.
Aggarwal BB et al. Planta Med. 2008 Oct;74(13):1560-9.
Gali-Muhtasib H et al.  Int J Oncol 2004; 25: 857–66.
Badary OA et al. Drug Chem Toxicol 2003; 26: 87–98.
Mansour MA et al. Cell Biochem Funct 2002; 20: 143–51.

Posted November 28, 2010 by lipiroy in Spices

Potato with Scallions using Turmeric   3 comments

2 big potatoes, peeled
2 bunches of scallions
2 tablespoons of oil (canola, corn, safflower)
1/2 teaspoon of black cumin
1/4 teaspoon of turmeric
~1/2 teaspoon of salt (for taste)

1. Cut potato into small diagnoal pieces; wash.
2. Chop scallions into small pieces.
3. Heat oil in large non-stick pan.
4. Add black cumin to heated oil; fry for 1 minute.
5. Add potatoes; stir.
6. Add salt and turmeric; stir.
7. Cook at medium-high heat for several minutes.
8. When potato is half-cooked, add scallions; stir well.
9. Cover; cook until potato is soft.
10. Remove cover to let potato be crisp.

Note that this should be a dry recipe (i.e. no sauce). Eat with rice and lentils (‘daal’), optional. Enjoy! 🙂

© Copyright 2010 by Lipi Roy, MD,MPH. All rights reserved.

Posted September 5, 2010 by lipiroy in Recipes

Turmeric’s Health Benefits   10 comments

Turmeric (Curcuma longa), also known as “the golden spice of life,” is a highly popular spice. Originating in India nearly 4000 years ago, turmeric is used throughout Asia and the Western world. The active ingredient in turmeric is curcumin. Turmeric is a major component of “curry powder” and it imparts the famous yellow coloring for which curry is known.   In addition to its use in Indian dishes for color and as a preservative, turmeric is used in Ayurveda (Indian traditional medicine) to treat various common ailments including stomach upset, dysentery, ulcers, jaundice, flatulence, arthritis, sprains, wounds, acne and skin and eye infections.

From a clinical standpoint, turmeric has been extensively investigated. It is remarkably safe. Scientific studies have shown that turmeric has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer properties. It is a promising chemopreventive and disease-modifying agent. Turmeric is currently being studied in human clinical trials for several diseases including pancreatic cancer, colon cancer, Alzheimer’s disease, multiple myeloma and psoriasis.

Stay tuned for a tasty recipe that uses turmeric…

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Dorai T et al. Prostate. 2001;47(4):293-303.
Epstein J et al. Br J Nutr. 2010;103(11):1545-57. 
Hatcher H et al. Cell Mol Life Sci. 2008 Jun;65(11):1631-52.
Singh S. Cell. 2007:130:765-768.

Posted August 29, 2010 by lipiroy in Spices

Acknowledgements   Leave a comment

My blog would never have come to fruition had it not been for a few key individuals for whom I have a great deal of respect. Jacqueline Thompson is an inspirational and creative force who came up with the idea of a blog in the first place. David Bell, Lisa Yimm and Sanjib Sarkar are all technical wizards who helped me create and launch the blog. And last but never least, to my parents and brother for always supporting me in all of my adventurous endeavors! Of course, the BIGGEST acknowledgement must be extended to my wonderfully talented mother, Basanti Roy, whose delectable meals inspired me to cook, and whose impeccable skills at entertaining I continue to emulate 🙂


Posted June 16, 2010 by lipiroy in Uncategorized