Herbs, including cilantro, have a long history of use as folk medicine anticonvulsants. Until now, many of the underlying mechanisms of how the herbs worked remained unknown.
The study in FASEB Journal explains the molecular action of cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) as a highly potent KCNQ channel activator. This new understanding may lead to improvements in therapeutics and the development of more efficacious drugs.
“We discovered that cilantro, which has been used as a traditional anticonvulsant medicine, activates a class of potassium channels in the brain to reduce seizure activity,” says Geoff Abbott, professor of physiology and biophysics at the University of California, Irvine School of Medicine and principal investigator on the study.
“Specifically, we found one component of cilantro, called dodecenal, binds to a specific part of the potassium channels to open them, reducing cellular excitability. This specific discovery is important as it may lead to more effective use of cilantro as an anticonvulsant, or to modifications of dodecenal to develop safer and more effective anticonvulsant drugs.”