The active components of Cinnamon extract are derived from the dried bark, leaves, and twigs of various species of Cinnamomum.This plant is native to Southeastern Asia, India, and South America.
By H. S. Nemr
Source and chemical components
Essential oils are extracted by steam distillation of the dried parts. The main element in the essential oil is Cinnamic- aldehyde. Other ingredients include Eugenol, Cinnamyl-alcohol, phenols, and Terpenes.
Eugenol has antiseptic and anesthetic properties. Cinnamic-aldehyde has shown fungicidal activity in vitro against several respiratory tract mycoses.
Cinnamon extract has also shown gastro-protective, analgesic, and antioxidant properties. It has been suggested that Cinnamon may inhibit the oxidation of various foods suggesting a possible role as a food preservative.
Therapeutic and reported folk uses
Cinnamon oil is used in small amounts in detergents, gargles, mouthwashes, toothpastes, and other preparations. It is utilized in Eastern folk medicine to manage abdominal pain, female reproductive disorders, and rheumatic pain.
Adequate human trials to evaluate the efficacy of Cinnamon for its proposed uses are still pending.
Oral: No consensus exists. Manufacturers of the extract suggest 500 mg once daily.
Ingestion in quantities greater than that for use as a spice is not recommended.
Adverse reactions and precautions
- CV: Increased heart rate.
- EENT: Gingivitis, stomatitis.
- GI: Increased GI motility.
- Skin: Facial flushing, hypersensitivity reactions.
Cinnamon extract has been reported to be utilized as a recreational drug.
Chronic or high dose ingestion of Cinnamon extract is toxic and may cause hepatic damage and a significant decrease in hemoglobin levels.
H.S. Nemr is a graduate of BAU pharmacy school. He is currently a medication safety officer at Johns Hopkins Aramco Healthcare system.
- Professional’s Handbook of Complementary Alternative Medicines, Springhouse, 2nd edition.
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