encyclopedia

Cinnamon

Scientific Names:    

Cinnamomum verum J.S. Presl (Syn. C. zeylanicum Bl.), C. loureirii Nees, C. burmanii (Nees) Bl. [Fam. Lauraceae]

Forms:    

Dried inner bark; Liquid extract of inner bark; Tincture of cinnamon

Traditional Usage:    

– Anorexia
– Antibacterial
– Antifungal
– Appetite Stimulant
– Athlete’s Foot
– Body Odor
– Bloating
– Blood Sugar Control
– Fever
– Heartburn
– Nausea
– Back Pain
– Bile Stimulant
– Candida Infections
– Colic
– Digestive Disorders
– Dyspepsia
– Fatigue
– Flatulence
– Indigestion
– Larvicidal
– Stimulant
– Stomachache
– Weight Gain Stimulant
– Yeast Infections

Overview:    

Cinnamon, Cinnamomum spp. [Fam. Lauraceae], is an aromatic spice isolated from the inner bark of cinnamon trees. Cinnamon has been used as a medicine for several thousand years in both Eastern and Western traditions. The German Commission E approves cinnamon for treating appetite loss and indigestion. Cinnamon is also used in folk medicine to alleviate gas and treat nausea and heartburn. The activity of cinnamon against nausea is attributed to catechins, which help relieve nausea. Cinnamon is also a good source of powerful antioxidants. Animal studies suggest that cinnamon bark extracts taken orally may help prevent stomach ulcers. Several studies also show that cinnamon oil and extracts have antifungal, antibacterial and antiparasitic properties. One human study on cinnamon for treating yeast infections involved five patients with HIV infection and oral candidiasis who received a cinnamon extract for one week. Three of the five patients had improvement of their oral candidiasis. Controlled clinical trials are still required to determine the usefulness of cinnamon for the treatment of mucosal candidiasis. Preliminary studies also show that cinnamon is active against Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria that cause stomach ulcers, and has larvicidal properties against head lice. Test-tube studies also show that cinnamon triples the activity of insulin. Out of 49 herb, spice and medicinal plant extracts tested in rats for their effects on insulin-dependent utilization of glucose, cinnamon was the most potent. Researchers concluded that cinnamon improved glucose and insulin metabolism. Comparative experiments with cinnamon methyl-hydroxy-chalcone polymer (CMHP) and insulin, with regard to glucose uptake, glycogen synthesis and many other parameters, showed that MHCP is an effective mimetic of insulin and helps with blood sugar control. Researchers concluded that MHCP might be useful in the treatment of insulin resistance in humans and in the study of the pathways leading to glucose utilization in cells.

Active Ingredients:    

Cinnamomum spp. bark contains: Between 0.5-4% essential oil containing 60-9=80% cinnamaldehyde, up to 10% eugenol and 5-10% trans-cinnamic acid; 4-10% phenolic compounds; condensed tannins; catechins; oligomeric proanthocyanidins; other monoterpenes including limonene and alpha-terpineol; sesquiterpenes including pinene; calcium monoterpenoid oxalates; gum; mucilage; resin; starch; sugars; and traces of coumarin.

Suggested Amount:    

Unless otherwise prescribed: Cinnamon is taken as a tea using 0.5-1g of inner bark per cup of tea. Pour 150ml boiling water over a small teaspoon of the cut or powdered inner bark and strain after 10 minutes. A cup of this tea is drunk two or three times a day during meals. Cinnamon can also be taken as a fluidextract 1:1 (g/ml) with the dosage of 0.7-1.3ml taken three times daily. Cinnamon tincture 1:5 (g/ml) is recommended with the dosage of 3.3-6.7ml taken three times daily. These dosages correspond to 0.05-0.2ml of cinnamon essential oil.

Drug Interactions:    

None Known

Contraindications:    

Cinnamon use as a drug is contraindicated during pregnancy and also in cases of stomach or duodenal ulcer. Cinnamon is also contraindicated in cases of allergy to cinnamon or Peru balsam.

Side Effects:    

Topical applications of cinnamon tea or infusions for their antimicrobial effects can cause allergic reactions and irritation of the skin and mucous membranes.

References:    

Berrio LF, Polansky MM, Anderson RA. 1992. Insulin activity: stimulatory effects of cinnamon and brewer’s yeast as influenced by albumin. Horm Res 1992; 37(6): 225-9.

Blumenthal M, Goldberg A, Brinckmann J 2000. Herbal Medicine: Expanded Commission E Monographs. Copyright American Botanical Council. Publ. by Integrative Medicine Communications, 1029 Chestnut Street, Newton, MA 02464. Pp. 307-310.

Jarvill-Taylor KJ, Anderson RA, Graves DJ. 2001. A hydroxychalcone derived from cinnamon functions as a mimetic for insulin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. J Am Coll Nutr 2001 Aug; 20(4): 327-36.

Mancini-Filho J, Van-Koiij A, Mancini DA, Cozzolino FF, Torres RP. 1998. Antioxidant activity of cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Breyne) extracts. Boll Chim Farm 1998 Dec; 137(11): 443-7.

Quale JM, Landman D, Zaman MM, Burney S, Sathe SS. 1996. In vitro activity of Cinnamomum zeylanicum against azole resistant and sensitive Candida species and a pilot study of cinnamon for oral candidiasis. Am J Chin Med 1996;24(2):103-9.