My only English newspaper connection with the outside world last week, on the island of Koh Samui, Thailand, was the International Herald-Tribune, which I have to say is an excellent publication, and one I read regularly whenever wandering…
What caught my attention was this piece on coriander oil, which is not only fascinating but triggered my admiration for what I feel is Singapore’s best restaurant, Coriander Leaf, www.corianderleaf.com to which I will be writing about soon.
Meanwhile, this is a good read…
A Bacteria-Busting Oil Behind a Popular Spice
By SINDYA N. BHANOO
New York Times – Herald-Tribune, August 31st
Coriander (cilantro, when the leaves of the plant are used fresh) is a popular spice widely used in Asian, Latin American and Mediterranean cooking.
Now, researchers from the University of Beira Interior in Portugal report that oil extracted from coriander seeds can kill bacteria related to food-borne diseases, like E. coli.
Coriander oil has been used for centuries as a folk remedy for a number of ailments. Researchers have also previously found that the oil may ease cramps, aid in digestion, soothe fungal infections and reduce nausea.
Although it was previously suggested that the oil can act as an antibacterial agent, this study is the first to decipher exactly how it does.
The researchers found that coriander oil is able to damage the membrane of bacterial cells. This blocks the cell from essential processes, like respiration, and ultimately leads to the bacterium’s demise, the researchers report.
They tested the effect of coriander oil on 12 bacterial strains, including E. coli, salmonella and MRSA, an antibiotic-resistant type of staphylococcus . Most of the bacteria were killed by solutions containing less than 1.6 percent coriander oil, they reported.
With further testing, the researchers believe that coriander oil might one day be more widely used as a food preservative to prevent bacterial contamination.
The study was published in a recent issue of The Journal of Medical Microbiology.