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Concept: Cinnamomum


Coumarin as an additive or as a constituent of tonka beans or tonka extracts is banned from food in the United States due to its potentially adverse side effects. However, coumarin in food from other natural ingredients is not regulated. “True Cinnamon” refers to the dried inner bark of Cinnamomum verum. Other cinnamon species, C. cassia, C. loureiroi, and C. burmannii, commonly known as cassia, are also sold in the U.S. as cinnamon. In the present study, coumarin and other marker compounds were analyzed in authenticated cinnamon bark samples as well as locally bought cinnamon samples, cinnamon-flavored foods, and cinnamon-based food supplements using a validated UPLC-UV/MS method. The experimental results indicated that C. verum bark contained only traces of coumarin, whereas barks from all three cassia species, especially C. loureiroi and C. burmannii, contained substantial amounts of coumarin. These species could be potential sources of coumarin in cinnamon-flavored food in the U.S. Coumarin was detected in all locally bought cinnamon, cinnamon-flavored foods, and cinnamon food supplements. Their chemical profiles indicated that the cinnamon samples and the cinnamon in food supplements and flavored foods were probably Indonesian cassia, C. burmannii.

Concepts: Spice, Cinnamaldehyde, United States, Malabathrum, Cinnamomum, Cinnamomum burmannii, Cinnamomum aromaticum, Cinnamon


Chronic inflammation is a contributing factor in many age-related diseases. In a previous study, we have shown that Sri Lankan cinnamon (C. zeylanicum) was one of the most potent anti-inflammatory foods out of 115 foods tested. However, knowledge about the exact nature of the anti-inflammatory compounds and their distribution in the two major cinnamon species used for human consumption is limited. The aim of this investigation was to determine the anti-inflammatory activity of C. zeylanicum and C. cassia and elucidate their main phytochemical compounds. When extracts were tested in LPS and IFN-γ activated RAW 264.7 macrophages, most of the anti-inflammatory activity, measured by down-regulation of nitric oxide and TNF-α production, was observed in the organic extracts. The most abundant compounds in these extracts were E-cinnamaldehyde and o-methoxycinnamaldehyde. The highest concentration of E-cinnamaldehyde was found in the DCM extract of C. zeylanicum or C. cassia (31 and 34 mg g(-1) of cinnamon, respectively). When these and other constituents were tested for their anti-inflammatory activity in RAW 264.7 and J774A.1 macrophages, the most potent compounds were E-cinnamaldehyde and o-methoxycinnamaldehyde, which exhibited IC50 values for NO with RAW 264.7 cells of 55 ± 9 μM (7.3 ± 1.2 μg mL(-1)) and 35 ± 9 μM (5.7 ± 1.5 μg mL(-1)), respectively; and IC50 values for TNF-α of 63 ± 9 μM (8.3 ± 1.2 μg mL(-1)) and 78 ± 16 μM (12.6 ± 2.6 μg mL(-1)), respectively. If therapeutic concentrations can be achieved in target tissues, cinnamon and its components may be useful in the treatment of age-related inflammatory conditions.

Concepts: Extract, Cinnamomum aromaticum, Anti-inflammatory, Cinnamaldehyde, Cinnamomum, Sri Lanka, Inflammation, Cinnamon


Cinnamomum tamala Nees and Eberm (tejpat) and Pimenta dioica (L.) Merr (pimento) leaves are commonly used for flavouring food and widely used in pharmaceutical preparations because of their hypoglycemic, carminative and stimulant properties. In this study, we compared the chemical composition and antioxidant activities of tejpat and pimento essential oils by employing various in vitro methods. GC and GC-MS analyses were done to find out the chemical composition, and the main constituent identified in tejpat and pimento leaf oils was eugenol. Both the oils showed significant radical scavenging activity against DPPH and superoxide radicals with a potent metal chelating activity and were compared with that of standard compound, eugenol. Among the two oils, tejpat oil showed better activity in terms of antioxidative potential.

Concepts: Cinnamomum, Malabathrum, Oils, Allspice, Oil, Bay leaf, Essential oil, Cinnamon


Cinnamon (Cinnamomum sp) has been suggested to help patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) achieve better glycemic control, although conclusions from meta-analyses are mixed. To evaluate whether the use of cinnamon dietary supplements by adults with T2DM had clinically meaningful effects on glycemic control, as measured by changes in fasting plasma glucose (FPG) or hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c), a comprehensive PubMed literature search was performed. Eleven randomized controlled trials were identified that met our inclusion criteria that enrolled 694 adults with T2DM receiving hypoglycemic medications or not. In 10 of the studies, participants continued to take their hypoglycemic medications during the cinnamon intervention period. Studies ranged from 4 to 16 weeks in duration; seven studies were double-blind. Cinnamon doses ranged from 120 to 6,000 mg/day. The species of cinnamon used varied: seven used Cinnamomum cassia or Cinnamomum aromaticum, one used Cinnamomum zeylanicum, and three did not disclose the species. Because of the heterogeneity of the studies, a meta-analysis was not conducted. All 11 of the studies reported some reductions in FPG during the cinnamon intervention, and of the studies measuring HbA1c very modest decreases were also apparent with cinnamon, whereas changes in the placebo groups were minimal. However, only four studies achieved the American Diabetes Association treatment goals (FPG <7.2 mmol/L [130 mg/dL] and/or HbAlc <7.0). We conclude that cinnamon supplements added to standard hypoglycemic medications and other lifestyle therapies had modest effects on FPG and HbA1c. Until larger and more rigorous studies are available, registered dietitian nutritionists and other health care professionals should recommend that patients continue to follow existing recommendations of authoritative bodies for diet, lifestyle changes, and hypoglycemic drugs.

Concepts: Cinnamomum burmannii, Cinnamon, Insulin resistance, Cinnamomum, Cinnamomum aromaticum, Nutrition, Diabetes, Diabetes mellitus


We thank Akilen and colleagues for their considered comments on our systematic review and meta-analysis [1]. Firstly; we would like to clarify our position regarding the coumarin content of Cinnamomum aromaticum (cassia cinnamon), as opposed to Cinnamomum zeylanicum, based on the literature that is currently available. According to the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, 1 kg of Cinnamon cassia powder contains approximately 2.1-4.4 g of coumarin, which means one teaspoon of C. cassia powder would contain approximately 5.8-12.1 mg of coumarin [2]. © 2013 The Authors. Diabetic Medicine © 2013 Diabetes UK.

Concepts: Cinnamaldehyde, Medicine, Insulin resistance, Malabathrum, Cinnamomum burmannii, Cinnamomum, Cinnamomum aromaticum, Cinnamon


Cinnamomum cassia has been widely used as a natural product to treat diseases in Asia due to its diverse pharmacological functions including anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, anti-diabetic, and anti-tumor effects. Despite its ethnomedicinal benefits, little information regarding its toxicity is currently available. The aim of this study was to evaluate its potential long-term toxicity and genotoxicity in compliance with test guidelines of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. A 13-week repeat-dose oral toxicity study revealed that body weights of rats were normal after receiving cinnamon extract at up to 2000 mg/kg. High-dose intake of cinnamon extract (2000 mg/kg) showed potential nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity to both males and females as evidenced by obvious increases of kidney/liver weight along with a small but statistically elevation of total cholesterol level. Overall findings from genetic toxicity testing battery including Ames test, in vitro mammalian cell micronucleus assay, and in vivo bone marrow micronucleus assay indicated that cinnamon extract was not mutagenic or clastogenic. In conclusion, cinnamon extract may possess potential nephrotoxicity and hepatotoxicity at dose higher than its recommended daily safe dose. Further study is needed to clarify the mechanism involved in its induction of liver and kidney injury.

Concepts: Cinnamomum burmannii, In vivo, In vitro, Cinnamomum aromaticum, Cholesterol, Cinnamomum, Toxicology, Cinnamon


In traditional medicine Cinnamon is considered a remedy for respiratory, digestive and gynaecological ailments. In-vitro and in-vivo studies from different parts of the world have demonstrated numerous beneficial medicinal effects of Cinnamomum zeylanicum (CZ). This paper aims to systematically review the scientific literature and provide a comprehensive summary on the potential medicinal benefits of CZ.

Concepts: Cinnamomum, Medicine, Cinnamon


The progressive nature of colorectal cancer (CRC) and poor prognosis associated with the metastatic phase of the disease create an urgent need for the development of more efficacious strategies targeting colorectal carcinogenesis. Cumulative evidence suggests that the redox-sensitive transcription factor Nrf2 (nuclear factor-E2-related factor 2), a master regulator of the cellular antioxidant defence, represents a promising molecular target for CRC chemoprevention. Recently, we have identified cinnamon, the ground bark of Cinnamomum aromaticum (cassia cinnamon) and Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon cinnamon), as a rich dietary source of the Nrf2 inducer cinnamaldehyde (CA) eliciting the Nrf2-regulated antioxidant response in human epithelial colon cells, conferring cytoprotection against electrophilic and genotoxic insult. Here, we have explored the molecular mechanism underlying CA-induced Nrf2 activation in colorectal epithelial cells and have examined the chemopreventive potential of CA in a murine CRC model comparing Nrf2+/+ and Nrf2-/- mice. In HCT116 cells, CA caused a Keap1-C151-dependent increase in Nrf2 protein half-life via blockage of ubiquitination with upregulation of cytoprotective Nrf2 target genes and elevation of cellular glutathione. After optimizing colorectal Nrf2 activation and target gene expression by dietary CA-supplementation regimens, we demonstrated that CA suppresses AOM/DSS-induced inflammatory colon carcinogenesis with modulation of molecular markers of colorectal carcinogenesis. Dietary suppression of CRC using CA supplementation was achieved in Nrf2+/+ but not in Nrf2-/- mice confirming the Nrf2-dependence of CA-induced chemopreventive effects. Taken together, our data suggest feasibility of CRC suppression by dietary CA, an FDA-approved food additive derived from the third most consumed spice in the world.

Concepts: Cinnamaldehyde, Cancer, Cinnamomum, Gene expression, Gene, DNA, Cinnamomum aromaticum, Cinnamon


Previous studies have explored the anti-diabetic effects of Cinnamomum cassia extract in vivo and in vitro. However, there are no studies at present exploring the effects of the indigenous species of Sri Lankan cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) in patients with diabetes mellitus. The present study aims to evaluate the potential effects of Cinnamomum zeylanicum extract as a pharmaceutical agent in patients with type-2 diabetes mellitus.

Concepts: Cinnamomum aromaticum, Insulin resistance, Cinnamomum, Diabetes mellitus, Sri Lanka, Cinnamon


A simple and efficient flow injection mass spectrometric (FIMS) method was developed to differentiate cinnamon (Cinnamomum) bark (CB) samples of the four major species (C. burmannii, C. verum, C. aromaticum, and C. loureiroi) of cinnamon. Fifty cinnamon samples collected from China, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Sri Lanka were studied using the developed FIMS fingerprinting method. The FIMS fingerprints of the cinnamon samples were analyzed using principal component analysis (PCA). The FIMS technique required only 1 min of analysis time per sample. The representative samples from each of the four major species of cinnamon were further examined using an ultrahigh-performance liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry system, and the chemical differences between the four species were profiled. The results showed that the 1 min FIMS fingerprinting method successfully differentiated the four cinnamon species studied.

Concepts: DNA, Cellular differentiation, Mass spectrometry, Principal component analysis, Cinnamomum, Cinnamomum aromaticum, Sri Lanka, Cinnamon