A native of the Mediterranean, coriander is the dried ripe fruit of an annual herb with several branches and serrated leaves. During the Middle Ages, coriander is believed to have been used in love potions. The great Arabian classic 'Thousand and One Nights' often refers to this spice as an aphrodisiac. The name 'Coriander' is based on the Greek work 'kopis' which means 'bug'. The whole plant, when freshly bruised, gives out a peculiarly strong, rather obnoxious odour similar to that associated with bugs. Happily, when the plant grows and matures, these disagreeable traits are wholly lost and the ripe fruits are completely free from them.
A fragrant spice, coriander is today valued as much for its medicinal properties as for its use as a condiment. It finds extensive application in several kinds of foods, beverages, liquors and perfumes. Coriander requires full exposure to sunlight but with less heat and medium-to-heavy loamy soil, good drainage and well-distributed moisture. Since many parts of India meet all these conditions, coriander is a thriving crop in this country. Since the Indian farmers prefer organic cultivation, the quality is good.
The major producers of Indian Coriander are Gujarat, Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Madhya Pradesh. The main importers are USA, UK, Malaysia, Singapore, Sri Lanka and Middle East. Besides coriander as such, India also exports its powder and essential oil.