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Cinnamon - Research
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 (4, 6, 7, 12). Also used to treat abdominal pain with diarrhoea, and pain associated with amenorrhoea and dysmenorrhoea (6, 12).
Uses described in folk medicine, not supported by experimental or clinical data
The treatment of impotence, frigidity, dyspnoea, inflammation of the eye, leukorrhoea, vaginitis, rheumatism, neuralgia, wounds, and toothache (15).
Experimental pharmacology
Antibacterial and antifungal activities of the essential oil have been demonstrated in vitro (10). The essential oil of C. verum is active in vitro against the following bacteria: Bacillus subtilis (23, 24), Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus (24, 25), Salmonella typhimurium (26), and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (24). It was also active in vitro against the following fungi: Aspergillus spp., Cladosporium werneckii (27), Geotrichum candidum, Kloeckera apivulata, Candida lipolytica and C. albicans (23, 28). The antibacterial and fungicidal effects have been attributed to omethoxycinnamaldehyde (9).
The essential oil of C. verum has carminative activity (29) and decreases smooth muscle contractions in guinea-pig trachea and ileum (30), and in dog ileum, colon and stomach (31). The active antispasmodic constituent of the drug is cinnamaldehyde. A reduction of stomach motility in rats and dogs and intestinal motility in mice and a decrease in the number of stress- and serotonininduced ulcers in mice have been described (32–36). An ethanol extract of the drug inhibits histamine- and barium-induced contractions in guinea-pig ileum; the hot-water extract was not active (36).
4. African pharmacopoeia, 1st ed. Lagos, Organization of African Unity, Scientific, Technical & Research Commission, 1985.
6. Pharmacopoeia of the People's Republic of China (English ed.). Guangzhou, Guangdong Science and Technology Press, 1992.
7. German Commission E Monograph, Cinnamomi cassiae cortex. Bundesanzeiger, 1990, 22: 1 February.
9. Bisset NG. Max Wichtl's herbal drugs & phytopharmaceuticals. Boca Raton, FL, CRC Press, 1994:148–150.
10. Bruneton J. Pharmacognosy, phytochemistry, medicinal plants. Paris, Lavoisier, 1995:451– 453.
12. Medicinal plants in China. Manila, World Health Organization, 1989:78–79 (WHO Regional Publications, Western Pacific Series, No. 2).
23. Raharivelomanana PJ et al. Study of the antimicrobial action of various essential oil extracts from Madagascan plants. II. The Lauraceae. Archives of the Institute of Pasteur Madagascar, 1989, 56:261–271.
24. Janssen AM et al. Screening for antimicrobial activity of some essential oils by the agar overlay technique. Pharmaceutisch Weekblad (Sci. ed.), 1986, 8:289–292.
25. George M, Pandalai KM. Investigations on plant antibiotics. Part IV. Further search for antibiotic substances in Indian medicinal plants. Indian journal of medical research, 1949, 37:169–181.
26. Sivaswamy SN et al. Mutagenic activity of south Indian food items. Indian journal of experimental biology, 1991, 29:730–737.
27. Morozumi S. A new antifungal agent in cinnamon. Shinkin to shinkinsho, 1978, 19:172–180.
28. Conner DE, Beuchat LR. Effects of essential oils from plants on growth of food spoilage yeasts. Journal of food science, 1984, 49:429–434.
29. Harries N, James KC, Pugh WK. Antifoaming and carminative actions of volatile oils. Journal of clinical pharmacology, 1978, 2:171–177.
30. Reiter M, Brandt W. Relaxant effects on tracheal and ileal smooth muscles of the guinea pig. Arzneimittel-Forschung, 1985, 35:408–414.
31. Plant OH, Miller GH. Effects of carminative volatile oils on the muscular activity of the stomach and colon. Journal of pharmacology and experimental therapeutics, 1926, 27:149.
32. Harada M, Yano S. Pharmacological studies on Chinese cinnamon. II. Effects of cinnamaldehyde on the cardiovascular and digestive systems. Chemical and pharmaceutical bulletin, 1975, 23:941–947.
36. Itokawa H et al. Studies on the constituents of crude drugs having inhibitory activity against contraction of the ileum caused by histamine or barium chloride. Screening test for the activity of commercially available crude drugs and the related plant materials. Shoyakugaku zasshi, 1983, 37:223–228.
Source: WHO Monographs Vol 1, 1999 -2010

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