Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cinnamomum aromaticum, Cinnamomum loureiroi, Cinnamomum burmannii)

Cinnamon refers to several plants that belong to the genus Cinnamomum, native to Southeast Asia. Cinnamon consists of the dried bark, separated from cork and the underlying parenchyma, of young branches and shoots of species of Cinnamomum. The bark, rich in essential oil, is used as a flavoring agent and as a spice.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Cinnamomum aromaticum, Cinnamomum loureiroi, Cinnamomum burmannii)


Medicinal uses include appetite stimulation, and treatment of type-2 diabetes, arthritis, inflammation, and dyspeptic complaints such as mild, spastic condition of the gastrointestinal tract, bloating, flatulence. In traditional Chinese medicine, cinnamon is used along with other herbs in decoctions to treat infections. Cinnamon is a coagulant and prevents bleeding. Cinnamon also increases blood circulation in the uterus and advances tissue regeneration. This plant plays a vital role as a spice, but its essential oils and other constituents also have important activities, including antimicrobial, antifungal, antioxidant, and antidiabetic.


Cinnamon consists of a variety of resinous compounds, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamate, cinnamic acid, and numerous essential oils. It is reported that the spicy taste and fragrance are due to the presence of cinnamaldehyde and occur due to the absorption of oxygen. As cinnamon ages, it darkens in color, improving the resinous compounds. The presence of a wide range of essential oils, such as trans-cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, eugenol, L-borneol, caryophyllene oxide, b-caryophyllene, L-bornyl acetate, E-nerolidol, α-cubebene, α-terpineol, terpinolene, and α-thujene, has been reported.

Clinical Studies

In vitro studies suggest that cinnamon has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunomodulatory, antimicrobial, antitumor, and antiestrogenic properties.

Studies in humans have also been conducted. In clinical trials of cinnamon for type 2 diabetes, results are conflicting. Various meta-analyses and a review suggest some improvements in glycemic control with cinnamon and its extracts, but studies had high heterogeneity and larger well-designed trials are needed. Other meta-analyses suggest cinnamon supplementation may reduce blood triglycerides, total cholesterol concentrations, and C-reactive protein levels, but again well-designed studies are needed to confirm these effects.

Other preliminary data suggest cinnamon extracts may decrease insulin resistance in women with polycystic ovary syndrome; improve parameters of metabolic syndrome and reduce dental plaque and gingivitis. Studies involving topical use of a cinnamon ointment suggest it can relieve perineal pain and improve healing of episiotomy incisions in postpartum women.

In a safety study of patients with prediabetes, a water-soluble cinnamon extract did not appear to affect electrocardiographic measures. However, certain cinnamon products are high in coumarin, which can cause hepatotoxicity and interact with other prescription drugs.

Biomechanical Mechanism

Hydroxycinnamaldehyde, a compound present in cinnamon, exerts anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting NO production via nuclear factor (NF)-kappaB. Cinnamon also inhibits hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity and reduces blood lipid levels in animals and humans. In another study, methylhydroxychalcone polymer isolated from cinnamon was shown to mimic insulin by activating the insulin receptors.

Cinnamon extract binds to estrogen-receptor beta and has a direct stimulatory effect on bone formation. The n-hexane extract of cinnamon has antiestrogenic activity. In other studies, increased proapoptotic activity with cinnamon extract was attributed to NF-kappaB and AP1 inhibition, while antiangiogenic effects occurred via VEGF inhibition.


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Lu J, Zhang K, Nam S, et al. Novel angiogenesis inhibitory activity in cinnamon extract blocks VEGFR2 kinase and downstream signaling. Carcinogenesis. Mar 2010;31(3):481-488.

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Mirmiran P, Davari M, Hashemi R, et al. A randomized controlled trial to determining the effect of cinnamon on the plasma levels of soluble forms of vascular adhesion molecules in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Eur J Clin Nutr. Dec 2019;73(12):1605-1612.

Mohammadi A, Mohammad-Alizadeh-Charandabi S, Mirghafourvand M, Javadzadeh Y, Fardiazar Z, Effati-Daryani F. Effects of cinnamon on perineal pain and healing of episiotomy: a randomized placebo-controlled trial. J Integr Med. 2014 Jul;12(4):359-66.

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Pender DN, Crawford PF, Clark JM, et al. Effect of water-soluble cinnamon extract on electrocardiographic parameters: An analysis of the CiNNaMON trial. Complement Ther Med. Dec 2018;41:302-305.

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Vanschoonbeek K, Thomassen BJ, Senden JM, et al. Cinnamon supplementation does not improve glycemic control in postmenopausal type 2 diabetes patients. J Nutr. Apr 2006;136(4):977-980

Vallianou N, Tsang C, Taghizadeh M, et al. Effect of cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) supplementation on serum C-reactive protein concentrations: A meta-analysis and systematic review. Complement Ther Med. Feb 2019;42:271-278.

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