Cinnamon as a spice has been known to the humankind for about 3000 years. In the medieval period, Cinnamon was an essential ingredient of medicines for treatment of medical conditions like arthritis, coughing, sore throat, etc. Even now, Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices in Asia, Europe, and even the USA.
Such a rich legacy has nudged scientists to take up studies regarding the efficacy of the spice. Studies have shed light on the health benefits of the herb although more research is going on.
Constituents of Cinnamon:
Chemical analysis of Cinnamon has revealed that it contains a variety of resins that include cinnamate, cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid and different essential oils. The spicy fragrance and test of Cinnamon owe its origin to cinnamaldehyde, a type of resin. The resin absorbs oxygen and gives rise to the typical fragrance of Cinnamon. As the spice ages, this resinous compound becomes more effective. The essential oils present in Cinnamon are cinnamyl acetate, trans-cinnamaldehyde, L-borneol, eugenol, b-caryophyllene, caryophyllene oxide, E-nerolidol, L-bornyl acetate, α-terpineol, α-cubebene, α-thujene, terpinolene, etc.
Benefits of Cinnamon:
There are many medicational and nutritional benefits of Cinnamon. Some of them are as follows:
Studies have unearthed several antimicrobial properties of essential oils contained in Cinnamon. It has been reported that different essential oils of Cinnamon can fight various bacteria, fungi, yeast, etc., like Pediococcus halophilus, Staphylococcus aureus, Mucor plumbeus, Aspergillus flavus, Penicillium roqueforti, Candida lipolytica, Eurotium sp., Pichia membranaefaciens, Zygosaccharomyces rouxii and Debaryomyces hansenii. This indicates that Cinnamon has a natural antimicrobial property.
Antibacterial efficacy of a combination of clove and Cinnamon oils has also been studied, and it has been found that the combination is efficient against both Gram-positive and Gram-negative organisms like Listeria monocytogenes, Staphylococcus aureus, Enterococcus faecalis, Salmonella choleraesuis, Bacillus cereus, etc., Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Escherichia coli, Yersinia enterocolitica, etc.
Studies have revealed that Cinnamon can bring down blood glucose and blood cholesterol in patients suffering from diabetes. This implies that diabetic patients are less susceptible to cardiovascular ailments as well as diabetes flare-ups if they take Cinnamon.
A study has pointed out that Cinnamon may also help people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have found that an element named CEppt, found in Cinnamon, has the ability to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s symptoms. Though the research was carried out on mice, it was seen that mice injected with this element had a marked improvement in cognitive behavior.
The effects of Cinnamon on Multiple Sclerosis have also been explored. Scientists have noticed that a mixture of Cinnamon powder in water may be able to improve the functioning of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is damaged in Multiple Sclerosis. In fact, studies have also suggested that Cinnamon may have the ability to protect regulatory T cells, which are known for their function of regulating the immune response.
Medicinal benefits of Cinnamon are not limited to a few. There are many other ailments where Cinnamon may have a role to play to improve the condition of patients. However, studies are still going on. It is also advisable to consult a doctor before eating or using Cinnamon as a medicine.