Researchers at the University of California have discovered a compound that could be used to reduce epileptic seizures. The study, headed by Professor Geoff Abbott, is the first to look in detail at cilantro – known as coriander in the UK.
Coriander is a herb that’s rich in fibre, vitamins and other nutrients. Herbalists believe it to have various health benefits. The herb has been known to be used in many cultures worldwide to treat a range of conditions. However, until now there hasn’t been any scientific research into if or how the herb may work.
The research team studied the plant and discovered a compound called dodecenal that boosts potassium in the brain. This substance helps send nerve signals and control muscle contractions.
Professor Abbott said: “We discovered that cilantro activates a class of potassium channels in the brain to reduce seizure activity.”
The findings are published in the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology Journal and may lead to improvements in therapy as well as the development of more effective drugs. However, further research is needed before safe and tested treatments can be developed.