Medicinal Benefits of Cinnamon – Is It Medicinally Valuable?

Cinnamon spice is found almost in every kitchen worldwide due to its exotic flavor and aroma. But it is not merely a flavoring spice; there are several medicinal benefits of cinnamon backed by modern science. 

Cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of many species of trees of the genus Cinnamomum.

People from ancient times used cinnamon as a spice and a medicine. Doctors in the medieval age used it to treat arthritis, cough, and sore throat.

Cinnamon as a spice is available in powder form or pieces of bark. Essential oils and supplements of cinnamon are also available. 

This article will look at the different medical benefits of cinnamon. 

Medicianal uses of cinammon

Is Cinnamon Medicinally Valuable? 

Cinnamon has mainly four types: Cinnamomum zeylanicum (true cinnamon), Cinnamomum Burmanni, Cinnamomum Loureiroi, and Cinnamomum Aromaticum. [1] 

It contains various compounds, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamate, cinnamic acid, and many essential oils. Researchers have found evidence of many potential medicinal benefits of cinnamon; these benefits include:

Anti-Microbial Activity

Cinnamon has anti-microbial activity; the cinnamaldehyde compound in cinnamon has anti-microbial effects. It can prevent the growth of Listeria and Escherichia coli in food and thus prolong their shelf life. [1]

A study looked into the cinnamon effects against several organisms such as bacteria like Staphylococcus Aureus, Fungus such as Aspergillus Flavus, Mucor Plumbeus, and Yeast like Candida Lipolytica, combined with clove oil cinnamon found to be effective against Aspergillus Flavus. [2]

One study examined the anti-microbial activity of Cinnamomum zeylanicum (a type of cinnamon) against fluconazole-resistant Candida. 

The study found that commercially available preparations, when used on HIV patients with oral candidiasis, show improvement in the patients, underlining the need for further research in this regard. [3]

Antioxidant Activity

Antioxidant activity is one of the potent medicinal benefits of cinnamon. [4] 

Antioxidants in food play an essential role in maintaining health and act as health protectors; they are identified as vital elements in human development and existence.

Antioxidants prevent oxidative stress from free radicals and damage in metabolic diseases and syndromes associated with aging in humans and animals. [5]

In a 90-day rat study, the administration of 10% of the bark powder of Cinnamon Verum produced an antioxidant effect. [6] 

Vitro studies on cinnamon extracts tend to inhibit oxidation of fatty acid and lipid peroxidation remarkably. The various flavonoids isolated from cinnamon have free radical cleaning and antioxidant properties. [7] 

A study on cinnamaldehyde and other compounds in cinnamon showed inhibitory effects on nitric oxide production. The study showed that cinnamaldehyde has potential against nitric oxide production and induced nitric oxide expression. [8]

Also Read: Turmeric Plant Medicinal Uses- Is it Medicinal Useful?

Anti-Inflammatory Effects

One of the contributing factors in several age-related diseases is chronic inflammation. Several compounds in cinnamon can be beneficial in treating age-related inflammatory diseases. [9]

Several studies on medicinal herbs and their ingredients have shown that cinnamon and its essential oils have an anti-inflammatory effect. [10] 

It is reported in a recent study that isolated 2′-hydroxycinnamaldehyde from cinnamon cassia showed an inhibitory effect on nitric oxide production, showed that 2′-hydroxycinnamaldehyde have potential to use as an anti-inflammatory agent. [11] 

Several compounds in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting induced nitric oxide synthesis, cyclooxygenase-2, and nitric oxide production in the central nervous system. [12] 

Reduce Risk of Heart Disease

Cinnamon is associated with a lower risk of heart disease, the most common cause of premature death worldwide.

Several studies report that cinnamaldehyde, a cinnamon compound, has cardioprotective effects. Cantamophil in cinnamon is one of the powerful polyphenols that has been shown to hamper the thromboxane A2 receptor in mice. [13] 

A recent study reports that cinnamic aldehyde and cinnamic acid, two compounds from cinnamon cassia, have potential effects against heart disease, suggesting that cinnamon can also be used to treat cardiovascular disease. [14] 

Cinnamon consumption is linked with a remarkable decrease in fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol, Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL), and triglyceride levels and enhances High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL) levels. [15] 

In type 1 and type 2 diabetes, cinnamaldehyde prevents the development of hypertension by reducing the contractility of blood vessels and its stimulating action in insulin deficiency. [16] 

Anti-Diabetic Activity

One of the medicinal properties of cinnamon is its anti-diabetic effect. Many studies have found that cinnamon extract lowers blood sugar as well as cholesterol. [17]

Cinnamon-derived substances were isolated and prepared as insulin enhancing factors, while the cinnamon bark shows anti-diabetic effect in diabetic rats. [18]

In a study, different plant spices were compared on insulin enhancement it was found that the cinnamon extracts was twenty times higher effect than other spices. [19]

Several polyphenols were isolated from cinnamon these polyphenols, include rutin, catechins, quercetin, kaempferol, and isorhamnetin, showed insulin-like activity. [20]

A recent study found that appropriate doses of cinnamon help control sugar balance in people with diabetes due to increased insulin secretion. [21]

Anti-Cancer

Research shows that cinnamon can be used in cancer prevention.

Cinnamon has been extensively studied for its potential use in cancer prevention and treatment. Cinnamon and its components show cancer preventing and anti-cancer activity by various methods. [22]

Besides, cinnamon also exhibits synergistic anti-carcinogenic effects with known anti-carcinogenic drugs, such as doxorubicin, which support its potential for concomitant use with chemotherapy. [23]

Overall, tumor and tumor growth-inhibiting properties of cinnamon in animal studies and cell culture studies suggest the potential of cinnamon for use as an anti-cancer agent. [24] 

It is shown by a preliminary study that the cinnamon and cardamom aqueous extracts increased detoxification and antioxidant enzymes activity in the large intestine, which protects against further cancer growth. [25] 

Neurodegenerative Diseases 

In neurodegenerative disorder, the central nervous system cells stop working or die; diseases generally worsen over time and cannot be cured. [26]

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the second most common neurodegenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease, with a prevalence of 2% in people aged 65 years and older. [27]

A study suggested that cinnamon’s aqueous extracts could increase the degradation of tau, a major feature of Alzheimer’s disease. (Tau is a protein in the brain). [28]

Cinnamon and its metabolite sodium benzoate regulate the neurotrophic factors  brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) in the central nervous system of rats. [29]

A study on mice with Parkinson’s disease showed that oral intake of cinnamon powder led to sodium benzoate in the blood and brain of the mice. Cinnamon helps protect nerve cells, normalizes neurotransmitter levels, and enhances motor activity. [30]

Improves Insulin Sensitivity 

In vitro studies have shown that cinnamon extract significantly increases insulin activity. [31] 

Insulin is one of the vital hormones in regulating energy expenditure and metabolism. It is also necessary for transporting sugar from the blood bloodstream to the cells. 

A problem in several people is that they are resistant to the insulin effect. Cinnamon can significantly lower insulin resistance. 

Insulin resistance is linked with metabolic syndrome, increased glucose and lipid levels, inflammation, and increased glucose levels. Human and animal in vitro studies have shown that cinnamon improves these conditions. [32] 

Research on humans involving controlled group and groups with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes mellitus have shown cinnamon, or its aqueous extract, have beneficial effects on glucose, insulin sensitivity, lipids, blood pressure, and lean mass. [33]

Conclusion

Cinnamon has been used as a spice for flavoring and medicine from old times. People have been using it to cure respiratory and digestive disorders for centuries. 

Modern researches show several medicinal benefits of cinnamon. Studies show that cinnamon and its compounds have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-bacterial, anti-viral, anti-fungal, and anti-cancer effects. 

It is also beneficial in cardiovascular diseases, insulin resistance, and neurodegenerative diseases. So consuming cinnamon is useful. 

Despite multiple beneficial effects, further studies are necessary to demonstrate the clinical impact of the drug in the dose at which it is consumed.

 

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