Unlocking Cinnamon’s multi-functional health benefits

From our previous post, we have ventured into Cinnamon’s primary benefit of blood sugar support. Upon further investigation, cinnamon does possess secondary benefits that may display a variety of functions such as antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant.

We’ll look lab studies and reports that elucidate cinnamon’s role in various applications.


1. In lab studies, cinnamon contains polyphenol polymers which were investigated to possess antioxidant function. Specifically, cinnamon’s polyphenols have a unique set of compounds that consists of flavonoids, catchins and epicatchins.

Cinnamon was examined to exert antimicrobial activity due to its phytochemicals such as cinnamaldehyde and eugenol. These components held a potential utility in reducing bacterial breakdown and decrease infections from food and cosmetics.

Researchers from India studied cinnamon’s antibacterial application. In their labs, they used ceylon cinnamon extracts to test the effects on bacteria. The cinnamon extracts were applied on various bacteria such as Klebsiella pneumonia, Bacillus megaterium, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Staphylococcus aureus, Escherichia coli, Enterobacter cloacae, Corynebacterium xerosis, and Streptococcus faecalis. A separate test was done with bacteria methicillin resistant S. aureus. (1)

The first test showed an inhibition zone from 7mm to 18mm while the second test displayed an inhibition zone of 22mm to 27mm. The results of cinnamon exhibited antimicrobial mechanisms using a disk-diffusion method, which is a measurement of how effective an antibacterial agent inhibits bacterial growth. Cinnamon was shown to prevent bacterial growth. The area in which bacteria is unable to grow is called the “inhibition zone.” (2)

The bigger the inhibition zone the more effective of displaying antibacterial growth. In conclusion, cinnamon appears to have inhibitory effect on the growth of bacteria. The bacteria that were tested above were found from various infections such as the urinary tract, respiratory, skin, intestinal and other regions in the body. Base on lab studies, cinnamon may be a candidate in preventing microbial growth although more clinical studies are needed to validate these findings. (3)

“It has shown that the antibacterial activity of cinnamon is due to bioactive phytochemicals such as cinnamaldehyde and eugenol. Cinnamon use in food products and cosmetics could be a good strategy to reduce or avoid bacterial degradation and thus to reduce the incidence of infection caused by food and cosmetics.” (2)

2. Other cinnamon extracts were tested to examine the effects on other human bacterial activity. One form of cinnamon, cinnamon bark essential oil, was used to examine the implications on sexual transmitted infections.

A study was conducted on 50 different strains of Mycoplasma hominis from randomly selected women. Cinnamon in form of an essential oil constituted 97% of cinnamaldehyde and was observed to display high antibacterial activity. The report provided a vague explanation claiming cinnamon was able to alleviate the bacteria growth but no mention on how or what data was measure to determine the results. (4)

In short, it does seem cinnamon may have a potential benefit in treating sexual transmitted infections. Cinnamon essential oil extract also appeared to have a more effective application against bacterial growth which is possibly due to a higher concentration of cinnamon’s bioactive compounds. But the lack of clinical reports make it difficult to assume if cinnamon is an effective supplement for antimicrobial efforts. Despite the positive findings more studies are needed to verify cinnamon’s lab claims. (5)

3. In other studies, cinnamon essential oil was discovered to induce synergistic effects when tested together with chloramphenicol and ampicillin individually. This mixture was to observe the antibacterial effect on S. aureus and E. Coli. The results displayed enhance effects against the bacteria strains. (6)

These medicinal mixtures seem to have a greater effect than dosing on antibiotics alone. With this finding, researchers theorize it may decrease the dosage of antibiotics while maintaining minimum effectiveness. (7)

In conclusion, this lab study verified cinnamon’s ability to increase antibiotic’s effectiveness in treating bacterial strains. This may shed light on treating current infections in the human body and potentially yield positive results in combination therapy.

TAKEAWAY: Cinnamon does seem to present antimicrobial properties in lab studies. It was shown to halt the expansion of bacteria strains cultivated in the lab dishes. These bacteria can cause similar infections throughout the body which can occur in the gut, urinary tract, respiratory, and skin.

In terms of cinnamon strength, it does seem that cinnamon’s oil extract may have a stronger effect due to high concentration profile of compounds. Although cinnamon was observed to inhibit lab grown bacteria there is still no clear reports of cinnamon’s application on humans.

Studies for antibacterial test on human trials are still premature since we do not know how well cinnamon can provide antibacterial effects and achieve the appropriate dosage. Nonetheless, cinnamon does hold a great potential for future antibiotic medication.


1. Cinnamon’s was discovered to have anti-inflammatory properties. Usually inflammation is an indication of our body activating white blood cells, cytokines and other immune cells to help suppress the inflamed or infected area.

Anti-inflammation agents help reduce inflammation by decreasing “bad” cytokines, which are protein cells that further complicate the healing process of the inflammation. Some supplements possess antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities that suppress the effects of damaging cytokines and prevent them from inducing cellular apoptosis or cell death thus increasing proper recovery.

For cinnamon, researchers have conducted a study with cinnamon water extract against pro-inflammatory cytokines TNF-α and IL-6. The researchers tested with mice and measured their cytokine serums. Their discovery was that the ingestion of cinnamon decrease levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines, TNF-α and IL-6. (8)

Researchers discern the probable mechanism was due to cinnamon’s effect of modulating cellular apoptosis and activating other cellular arrest pathways.

In conclusion, cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory effects seem to have a successful reaction in a rat experiment. Its anti-inflammatory effort was observed through the reduction of pro-inflammatory cytokines by inducing cellular apoptosis through various pathways. (9)

Cinnamon’s major constituent for its anti-inflammatory lies in its chemical composition or polyphenols. We can see cinnamon does tackle inflammation in some manner. The dosage and effects on human studies is still yet to be determined. But for now cinnamon’s inflammatory effect does exist.

“The oral administration of CWE to mice significantly decreased the serum levels of TNF-α and IL-6. CWE treatment in vitro decreased the mRNA expression of TNF-α. CWE blocked the LPS-induced degradation of IκBα as well as the activation of JNK, p38 and ERK1/2. ” (8)

2. A relative of cinnamon called Cinnamomum osmophloeum was studied to explore anti-inflammatory activity. C. osmophloeum’s constituent profile was revealed to be as trans-cinnamaldehyde, caryophyllene oxide, L-borneol, L-bornyl acetate, eugenol, beta-caryophyllene, E-nerolidol, and cinnamyl acetate similar to that of cinnamon’s. Researchers were able to deduce that in an essential oil form possessed excellent anti-inflammatory activities. (10)

Researchers applied the cinnamon extract on LPS-induced macrophages while measuring the effects of nitric oxide and prostaglandin, both of which are pro-inflammatory contributors. The results of the nitric oxide & prostaglandin tests yielded positive findings. Seems like cinnamon’s inhibitory effect on suppressing NO & prostaglandin pathways were effective in reducing inflammatory responses. (11,12)

Among the compounds displaying anti-inflammatory effects, researchers indicated trans-cinnamaldehyde and p-cymene exhibited majority of the nitric oxide inhibition. (13)

In conclusion, this study further implicated that the bioactive compounds of C. osmophloeum demonstrated anti-inflammatory effects while in a form of an essential oil. The bioactives of cinnamon, more specifically trans-cinnamaldehyde and p-cymene, seem to demonstrate stronger effects on anti-inflammatory properties.

“Trans-cinnamaldehyde and p-cymene contribute to the strong anti-inflammatory effects of cinnamon extract. ” (13)

3. Various studies have also conducted similar testing by using cinnamon bark essential oil on inflammatory biomarkers. Upon the selected inflammatory measures, cinnamon essential oil was capable of impeding inflammatory activity in 17 biomarkers. Cinnamon was able to inhibit numerous inflammatory induced cells throughout the cellular modeling in cytokines, vascular and epidermal cells which included all 17 biomarkers. (14)

Cinnamon essential oil extract also demonstrated anti-inflammation and anti-proliferation on certain epidermal gene expressions and pathways based on skin disease modeling. Other studies verified cinnamon’s active compound to be cinnamaldehyde which may be an integral component in anti-inflammatory activity. (15)

In a conclusion, cinnamon conducted in lab studies confirmed anti-inflammatory effects on a wide array of cellular test models. Surprisingly, cinnamon does contain anti-inflammatory applications on skin diseases. Again, this was based on lab studies performed on molecular tests. More research is needed to confirm these claims on human studies.

TAKEAWAY: Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory properties appears to hold a promising future in treating cellular inflammation. Based on these studies, the selection of cinnamon essential oil extract remained consistent throughout multiple findings. This may suggest that this form of cinnamon may induce a higher concentration of bioactive material thus exerts a more effective application.

In summary, cinnamon was reported to halt pro-inflammatory cytokines by stimulating key pathways to induce cell apoptosis, inhibit NO and prostaglandin inflammatory production, and impede various cytokine, protein biomarkers, and gene expressions in several molecular models.

Cinnamon seems to express a greater function in anti-inflammation than the rest of its benefits. But yet again, not many published studies were conducted to verify these claims on human trials. Nonetheless, there are potential opportunities to better gain insight in cinnamon’s application in future studies.


Cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory benefits can may potentially overlap with an anti-cancer like behavior. There have been studies reporting cinnamon to suppress tumor growth by inducing cellular apoptosis due to its chemical background.

1. One study examined cinnamon extract on human cervical tumor cells. The observation after exposing the cancer cells to cinnamon resulted in a decrease in tumor cell behavior by disrupting the cell’s growth circuits.

Another study conducted with cinnamon against melanoma cells. Researchers concluded cinnamon to reduce progressive expressions such as in Cox-2 and HIF-1α, which are key regulators for cancer promotion and development of new tumors, which suggests potential anti-tumor proliferation. Based on these cellular lab examinations, researchers have confirmed cinnamon’s inhibitory effect on tumor progression. (16)

2. In regard to cinnamon’s active ingredient, cinnamaldehyde, researchers have discovered that this compound also exhibited anticancer-like behavior in liver tumor cells. Under microscopic examination, the application of cinnamaldehyde prevented 71% of liver cancer cell growth. Cinnamon was noted to decrease cell viability on other various liver cancer cells such as PLC/PRF/5 as well as induce cell toxicity on HL-60 cells. (17)

Another cinnamon compound, β-Caryophyllene, also demonstrated anti-tumor effects on various cancer cells. This active component was able to disrupt cell survivability by inhibiting the activation of cancer cell growth and cell survival pathways. This process was observed on the testing of β-Caryophyllene on prostate and breast cancer cells. (18)

The potential components of cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde and β-Caryophyllene, have shown to be great anti-cancer like qualities on tumor cells. In summary, cinnamon’s isolated compounds can induce anti-tumor mechanisms by inducing cell cycle arrest, modulate cell survivability, and reducing cellular growth through inhibition of certain gene expressions.

“Cinnamaldehyde exhibited potent antiproliferative effect on a liver cancer cell line, HepG2, in a dose- and time-dependent pattern where a concentration of 30 μM of cinnamaldehyde inhibited approximately 71% of cell proliferation ” (17)

TAKEAWAY: Further studies have reported common findings of cinnamon inducing anti-cancerous effects on various tumor cells. Upon continuous lab studies, the chemical profile of cinnamon, cinnamaldehyde and β-Caryophyllene, displayed significant actions on regressing tumor growth.

In summary, the research conducted of cinnamon on cancer cells appears to yield positive results. This opens potential routes in treating various cancers with cinnamon. Its efforts to suppress cell proliferation, induce cell apoptosis, and inhibit key gene expressions that induce tumor growth may receive potential hope in development of future cancer medication.

But in context, cinnamon does seem to promote anti-cancer benefits. More concrete and promising studies are needed to explore the effectiveness of cinnamon on cancer.

As preliminary precaution, these reports does not detail the proper dosage of cinnamon or the proper way to utilize cinnamon for anti-cancer benefits. So it is best to not take this into high consideration. Nonetheless, these reports do give us an informed insight on the potential benefits for anti-cancer properties.


When it comes to antioxidants, cinnamon is no stranger in supplying this feature. Oddly there is one study where cinnamon’s antioxidant benefit was tested on food preservation. Antioxidant on a cellular level helps decrease free radicals by removing unwanted transfers of electrons. These free radicals that lingers in the body can damage the functionality of cells which can lead to organ dysfunction, diseases and infections.

1. To test the antioxidant strength of cinnamon researchers conducted experiments in the preservation of palm oil. The aim of the study was to observe the antioxidant effect and measure the improvements in storage stability of palm oil.

Researchers observed significant results in their testing parameters. Based on the data, the antioxidant activity and oil stability test concluded cinnamon to possess great potential in reducing oxidative damages in palm oil. (19)

Key values were tested such as peroxide value (PV), free fatty acid content, (FFA) thiobarbituric acid (TBA) value and iodine value (IV) in which the analysis revealed cinnamon to effectively decreased. They noted the increase of cinnamon extract led to a decrease in free fatty acid content which suggests dose dependent manner by reducing lipid peroxidation. (20)

In conclusion, cinnamon’s antioxidant nature seems to be a good natural food additive in prolonging storage stability in cooking oil. Cinnamon may potentially help alleviate oxidation caused by high blood sugar, high cholesterol and inflammation.

2. Another study was conducted to test cinnamon’s antioxidant on blood glucose. Researchers initiated a human trial with 22 subjects with unregulated fasting glucose. Subjects ingested 250mg of cinnamon water extract twice per day for 12 weeks. (21)

The study was evaluated by examining the concentrations of plasma malondialdehyde (MDA) which indicates levels of lipid peroxidation. At the end of the study, researchers noted decreased levels of MDA as well as fasting plasma glucose. (22)

There was a positive correlation between the two measures which suggest cinnamon’s antioxidant efforts can not only decrease lipid peroxidation serums but also reduce fasting blood glucose. The study also indicated the effects became apparent after 12 weeks rather than 6 weeks. (23)

In conclusion, there seems to be a dual effect of inducing antioxidant activity as well as alleviating high levels of fasting glucose. Cinnamon can also reach notable effects while taking for a longer period. The clinical trial does give us a promising insight on cinnamon’s antioxidant property. It seems the aqueous extract form may also provide a potent effect than regular ingestion of cinnamon. In summary, a water-soluble form of cinnamon may hold great potential in decreasing free radicals and reducing risks of glucose impairment.

TAKEAWAY: Cinnamon’s antioxidant effects may have a significant impact in maintaining cellular homeostasis, cell function, and reducing oxidative damage. It was observed as a natural alternative for food additives in improving storage capabilities by reducing lipid peroxidation of palm oil. In a clinical trial, it was confirmed to reduce free radicals while also lowering fasting glucose. Cinnamon’s high content of polyphenols and bioactive profiles appears to induce a significant impact of antioxidant performance. This illustrates cinnamon’s many benefits both in food preservation as well as human health.


Under the microscope, cinnamon possesses several anti- benefits in supporting the human health. Cinnamon was explored to gain a deeper elucidation in its antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and antioxidant properties. Many research and studies have undergone extensive labor in decoding the mechanisms of cinnamon.

Findings have concluded cinnamon to inhibit bacteria growth, reduce inflammation, exert anti-tumor growth activity, and reduce free radicals. While under controlled circumstances, cinnamon has validated many observations and hypothesis. Cinnamon is still and ongoing investigation.

While we know cinnamon can be an all-around supplement, it is still yet to be determine on how effective these benefits will impact our health. The takeaway of these reports is to help educate us of the potential applications of cinnamon. It also important to note that these benefits above are just claims and verdicts which have a possibility of changing as new research emerges.

In a glimpse, cinnamon may hold a potential treatment in various health issues. Cinnamon in its simplicity is a household spice in the culinary world. But as a supplement form, it is also a spice that may pack wonderful benefits for the human body.