Turmeric, obtained from the rhizomes of Curcuma longa, is used in South Asia as a traditional medicine for the treatment of epilepsy. To date, in vivo studies on the anticonvulsant activity of turmeric have focused on its principal curcuminoid, curcumin. However, poor absorption and rapid metabolism have limited the therapeutic application of curcumin in humans. To explore the therapeutic potential of turmeric for epilepsy further, we analyzed its anticonvulsant activity in a larval zebrafish seizure assay. Initial experiments revealed that the anticonvulsant activity of turmeric in zebrafish larvae cannot be explained solely by the effects of curcumin. Zebrafish bioassay-guided fractionation of turmeric identified bisabolene sesquiterpenoids as additional anticonvulsants that inhibit PTZ-induced seizures in both zebrafish and mice. Here, we present the first report of the anticonvulsant properties of bisabolene sesquiterpenoids and provide evidence which warrants further investigation toward the mechanistic understanding of their neuromodulatory activity.
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