In the herbal supplement / medicine product area, cinnamon has long had a traditional usage to improve digestion, taken as a tea after a meal, or added to the meal itself.  More recently it has been associated with benefits to a wide range of ailments, including control of Type 2 diabetes (reducing blood sugar levels through increasing the effectiveness of insulin and increasing glucose absorption), lowering blood pressure, improving circulation, reducing cholesterol levels, relief of pain from arthritis and more general reduction of muscle and joint pain; with strong anti-oxidant activity and anti microbial activity.  Much of its medicinal activities are thought to be related to its terpenoid content, especially eugenol and cinnamaldehyde.

Cinnamon has long been used to aid digestion, and is of particular use for those that suffer from stomach cramps, IBS, and other common stomach/digestive disorders that result in bloating, heartburn, nausea, dyspepsia, flatulence, indigestion and stomach ache.  Reported activities include anti-spasmodic, anti-ulcer, choleretic and antipyretic. A cinnamon tea taken after the meal, or the addition of the ground spice to a meal aids digestion.

The anti-fungal and anti-bacterial activities of cinnamon are reported to be useful in combating ulcers, and yeasts (oral candidiasis). Larvicidal properties are reported to be effective against headlice.

According to the WHO Monograph, traditional uses include: Uses described in pharmacopoeias and in traditional systems of medicine:  the treatment of dyspeptic conditions such as mild spastic conditions of the gastrointestinal tract, fullness and flatulence, and loss of appetite.  Also used to treat abdominal pain with diarrhoea, and pain associated with amenorrhoea and dysmenorrhoea.  Uses described in folk medicine, clinical data: the treatment of impotence, frigidity, dyspnoea, inflammation of the eye, leukorrhoea, vaginitis, rheumatism, neuralgia, wounds, and toothache.

Germany’s Commission E approves the use of cinnamon for improving appetite and relieving indigestion.

Both the German Commission E, and the WHO Monograph on Cinnamon recommend daily doses of ground powder in the range 2 to 4 gms.

Recent work has focused on the benefits of cinnamon in managing Type 2 diabetes.  A 2003 study published in the Diabetes Care journal followed Type 2 diabetics take a range of daily doses.  Benefits over placebo included reduced mean fasting serum levels by 18-29%, triglyceride levels by 23-30%, LDL cholesterol by 7-27% and total cholesterol by 12-26%. These effects may also be beneficial for non-diabetics to prevent and control elevated blood glucose and blood lipid levels.  In a recent review of  three  studies evaluating the efficacy of cinnamon supplementation in type 2 diabetics, two  of the studies reported benefits in lowering blood glucose levels, while one trial showed no benefit over the placebo treatment.

As with many products, cinnamon supplementation for medicinal usage is contra-indicated during pregnancy.



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