Researchers at the University of California Irvine have made an important discovery about cilantro exerts its medicinal effects. Principal investigator Geoffrey ; Abbot and colleague Rian Manville have uncovered the molecular action through which cilantro delays the onset of certain seizures in epilepsy and other diseases. Therefore The discovery could pave the way for the development of more effective drugs. But The herb cilantro is a member of the Apiaceae family; which is made up of around 3,700 species including celery; parsley and carrots.
The herb cilantro
It contains nutrients that offer various health benefits including anti-cancer effects and improved skin health. The herb is a good source of antioxidants and also helps to cut down sodium intake. Cilantro has been consumed by humans for thousands of years, but the mechanisms underlying the herb’s beneficial effects had not been known. Therefore As recently reported in FASEB journal; but Manville and Abbot have now shown that cilantro is a highly potent activator of the neuronal voltage-gated potassium channel subfamily Q (KCNQ) ;channel. KCNQ dysfunction can cause severe epileptic encephalopathies that do not respond to current anticonvulsant medications.
More specifically, the researchers found that a component of cilantro called dodecenal binds to a specific part of the potassium channels to open them, thereby reducing cellular excitability. “This specific discovery is important as it may lead to more effective use of cilantro as an anti-convulsant, or to modifications of dodecenal to develop safer and more effective anti convulsant drugs;” says Abbott. On screening cilantro leaf metabolites; the researchers discovered that the long-chain fatty aldehyde (E)-2-dodecenal activated multiple KCNQ channels including the predominant neuronal isoform and the predominant cardiac isoform; which regulate electrical activity in the brain and heart.
Predominant cardiac isoform
This dodecanal recapitulated the herb’s anticonvulsant effect and delayed certain chemically-induced seizures. “The results provide a molecular basis for the therapeutic actions of cilantro and indicate that this ubiquitous culinary herb is surprisingly influential upon clinically important KCNQ channels;” write the researchers. Herbs such as cilantro have a long history of use as botanical folk medicines; with DNA evidence showing it dates back as far as 48,000 years.
Archaeological evidence stretching as far back as 800,000 years also points to a non-food use of plants by Homo erectus. Often also referred to as coriander, cilantro refers to the leaves of the Cariandrum sativumplant. But In traditional medicine; coriander was used to relieve gastrointestinal problems and as an antibiotic; a treatment for appetite or memory loss, an analgesic; and an aphrodisiac. Currently; it is being studied for its antimicrobial; antioxidant; neurological and diabetes-regulating effects.