Antioxidant activity of Coriandrum sativum and protection against DNA damage and cancer cell migration

BMC Complement Altern Med. 2013 Dec 9;13:347. doi: 10.1186/1472-6882-13-347.


Background: Coriandrum sativum is a popular culinary and medicinal herb of the Apiaceae family. Health promoting properties of this herb have been reported in pharmacognostical, phytochemical and pharmacological studies. However, studies on C. sativum have always focused on the aerial parts of the herb and scientific investigation on the root is limited. The aim of this research was to investigate the antioxidant and anticancer activities of C. sativum root, leaf and stem, including its effect on cancer cell migration, and its protection against DNA damage, with special focus on the roots.

Methods: Powdered roots, leaves and stems of C. sativum were extracted through sequential extraction using hexane, dichloromethane, ethyl acetate, methanol and water. Total phenolic content, FRAP and DPPH radical scavenging activities were measured. Anti-proliferative activitiy on the breast cancer cell line, MCF-7, was assayed using the MTT assay. Activities of the antioxidant enzymes, catalase, superoxide dismutase, glutathione peroxidase, and of the caspases-3, -8 and -9 were assayed on treatment with the extract. Cell cycle progression was analysed using flow cytometry. The scratch motility assay was used to assess inhibition of MCF-7 cell migration. DNA damage in 3 T3-L1 fibroblasts was evaluated by the comet assay. The components in the extract were identified by HPLC and GC-MS.

Results: The ethyl acetate extract of C. sativum roots showed the highest antiproliferative activity on MCF-7 cells (IC50 = 200.0 ± 2.6 μg/mL) and had the highest phenolic content, FRAP and DPPH scavenging activities among the extracts. C. sativum root inhibited DNA damage and prevented MCF-7 cell migration induced by H2O2, suggesting its potential in cancer prevention and inhibition of metastasis. The extract exhibited anticancer activity in MCF-7 cells by affecting antioxidant enzymes possibly leading to H2O2 accumulation, cell cycle arrest at the G2/M phase and apoptotic cell death by the death receptor and mitochondrial apoptotic pathways.

Conclusions: This study is the first report on the antioxidant and anticancer properties of C. sativum root. The herb shows potential in preventing oxidative stress-related diseases and would be useful as supplements used in combination with conventional drugs to enhance the treatment of diseases such as cancer.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antioxidants / chemistry
  • Antioxidants / pharmacology*
  • Apoptosis / drug effects
  • Breast Neoplasms / drug therapy
  • Breast Neoplasms / enzymology
  • Breast Neoplasms / genetics*
  • Breast Neoplasms / physiopathology*
  • Catalase / metabolism
  • Cell Movement / drug effects*
  • Coriandrum / chemistry*
  • DNA Damage / drug effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • MCF-7 Cells
  • Phenols / pharmacology
  • Plant Extracts / chemistry
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Plant Leaves / chemistry
  • Plant Roots / chemistry
  • Protective Agents / chemistry
  • Protective Agents / pharmacology*
  • Superoxide Dismutase / metabolism


  • Antioxidants
  • Phenols
  • Plant Extracts
  • Protective Agents
  • Catalase
  • Superoxide Dismutase