Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods. While Cinnamomum verum is sometimes considered to be “true cinnamon“, most cinnamon in international commerce is derived from related species, which are also referred to as “cassia” to distinguish them from “true cinnamon”.
Cinnamon is used in traditional medicine, and several studies have tested chemicals extracted from cinnamon for various possible medicinal effects.
- Two studies have shown that including cinnamon and cinnamon extract in the diet may help type 2 diabetics to control blood glucose levels. One study used C. cassia,while the other study used an extract (made from “Chinese Cinnamomum aromaticum“, an older name for C. cassia).
- In an experiment testing the effects of various plants used in traditional Indian medicine, an extract of Cinnamomum cassia had an effect on HIV-1.
- Another study found that eugenol, a chemical found in cinnamon essential oils, and in other plants, inhibited the replication of the virus causing herpes in vitro. The compound cinnzeylanine, from C. zeylanicum, also had antiviral properties in a model system using silkworm cells.
- Pharmacological experiments suggest that dietary cinnamon-derived cinnamic aldehyde (cinnamaldehyde) activates the Nrf2-dependent antioxidant response in human epithelial colon cells and may therefore represent an experimental chemopreventive dietary factor targeting colorectal carcinogenesis.Recent research documents antimelanoma activity of cinnamic aldehyde observed in cell culture and a mouse model of human melanoma.
- A 2011 study isolated a substance (CEppt) in the cinnamon plant that inhibits development of Alzheimer’s disease in mice.[ CEppt, an extract of cinnamon bark, seems to treat a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.