Lifestyle - DHANIA, also known as coriander or cilantro, is an aromatic herb widely used in the cooking of many cultures across the globe.

It imparts a mouth-watering taste to many recipes and makes food aromatic. Besides food-enhancing properties, it has many medicinal benefits.

* Anti-inflammatory: Dhania has potent anti-inflammatory properties and if taken as either the raw leaves (3 times daily) or as an infusion (tea), will produce a dampening of mild to moderate inflammation in the body.

It has been used to manage arthritis of many forms, as well as inflammation of the muscles.

* Lowers bad cholesterol: It has been found to gently lower LDL (the bad cholesterol) and improve HDL (the good cholesterol). Dhania tea must be used 3 times daily consistently for at least two months for this effect.

* Detoxifies the liver and gut: Regular use of dhania can help detoxify the liver by stimulating the detoxification liver enzymes. It also helps elimination through the bowel. This translates into better energy and vitality.

* Helps diabetes control: Consistent use of dhania helps increase insulin secretion from the pancreas and helps lower blood sugar levels.

* Antiseptic properties: It is a good antiseptic and can be used as a mouth rinse for mouth ulcers, sore throats and as a topical wash for bruises, cuts and burns.

* Rich in iron: Dhania contains ample amounts of iron that helps the body produce red blood cells. Anaemic persons can benefit greatly by incorporating coriander into their diet daily.

* Inflamed eyes: The anti-inflammatory and antiseptic properties of dhania make the coriander infusion a great eye wash for managing conjunctivitis, red eyes or pink eye.

Use a lukewarm but concentrated infusion of coriander leaves boiled in hot water.

* Stimulates memory: Regular use of dhania is known to enhance memory and general nervous system function.

* Useful for bladder inflammation: Dhania and cumin powder soaked together overnight in water and taken one cup, three times daily is an excellent anti-inflammatory, antiseptic solution to relieve the discomfort of bladder irritability.

* Cooppan (MBChB, MD) practises in Morningside, Durban, as an integrative medicine, nutritional and natural medicine GP. He can be contacted at 0313093036. For more information, visit www.drcooppan.com.