Canela is a medium-sized tree, reaching a height of 12 to 20 meters. Young parts of the plant are smooth, except for the buds, which have fine, silky hairs. Leaves are leathery, shining, oval or oval-lanceolate, 8 to 15 centimeters long, pointed at both ends. Blade is strongly 3- or 5-nerved. Panicles are usually about as long as the leaves, mostly clustered in the upper axils. Flowers are numerous, pale yellow, small, and covered outside with grayish hairs. Fruit is oblong-ovoid, about 1 centimeter long, dry or slightly fleshy, and surrounded by the enlarged, persistent perianth.
- Introduced from India or Ceylon, where it is native.
- Occasionally planted or cultivatedf in Manila gardens and other large towns.
- The bark yields cinnamon oil, 1/2 to 1 percent. The oil is a golden-yellow liquid, with a specific gravity of 1.035, with a powerful cinnamon odor, with a sweet and aromatic but burning taste. It deviates a ray of polarized light slightly to the left. The oil consists chiefly of cinnamic aldehyde, with variable proportions of hydrocarbons. Cinnamon contains sugar, mannite, starch, mucilage and tannic acid.
- Cinnamon leaf contains a larger percentage of eugenol than bark oil. It is used to adulterate bark oil, usually by putting the leaves in the still along with the bark. Leaf oil used to enter the market as root oil. Its high content of eugenol makes it useful in the perfume and flavoring industries, and is one of the sources of artificial vanilla.
- Cinnamon-root oil contains camphor and ither aromatic substances including cinnamic aldehyde, eucalyptol and safrol.
- Cinnamon seeds contain 33 percent fat which used to be made into expensive candles, still used in churches.
- While the chief constituent of the oil is cinnamic aldehyde, it also contains small quantities of phellandrene, pinene, linalol, caryophyllene, eugenol, among others.
- In medicine, cinnamon is considered a cordial and stimulant, with aromatic and mild astringent properties.
- Bark is considered carminative, antispasmodic, aromatic, stimulant, hemostatic, astringent, antiseptic and germicide.
- Oil is considered vascular and nervine; in large doses, irritant and a narcotic poison.
Used as a spice and flavoring agent in beverages.
- In Johore medicine, used for colic and diarrhea.
- The bark - in infusion, decoction, powder or oil - is used for dyspepsia, flatulence, diarrhea and vomiting; also, as an adjunct to bitter tonics, purgatives, vegetable and mineral astringents.
- Used as uterine stimulant; also, for menorrhagia and in tedious labor due to defective uterine contractions.
- Powdered cinnamon in 10 to 20 grain doses is a reputed remedy for diarrhear and dysentery.
- Crystalline cinnamic acid is used as antitubercular and as injection in phthsis.
- Used as a stimulant; given for abdominal cramps, enteralgia, toothace and tongue paralysis.
- Essential oil used a stimulant in amenorrhea.
- Oil is applied locally for headaches and neuralgia.
- Used as an antiseptic injection in gonorrhea.
- As a germicide, used internally in typhoid fever.
- Used in massive doses for treatment of cancer and microbic diseases.
- A frequent ingredient in pillmasses.
Used for strengthening the gums and to perfume the breath.
In Antilles, used as a stomachic, aperitive and for dyspepsia.
Closely allied in medical properties and uses to cloves, for which it is substituted when the latter is not available.
- Cinnamon bark is a constituent of a multi-ingredient preparation, applied to the penis for premature ejaculation.
- Cinnamon oil used in the manufacture of personal and cosmetic products - mouthwashes, toothpaste, gargles, lotions, soaps, liniments and various cosmetics.
• Antioxidant / Scavenging Activity: The methanolic extract of C verum leaf exhibited free radical scavenging activity against DPPH radical and ABTS radical cation. The peroxidation inhibiting activity showed very good antioxidant activity. (3)
• Toxicity Studies / Spermatogenic Effects: Study showed no acute or chronic toxicity or mortality. There was a significant increase in reproductive organ weights, sperm motility, sperm count, and failed to illicity any spermatotoxic effect.
• Mould Inhibitory Effect: Study showed the intense antimould potential of C zeylanicum essential oil and b-pinene which could find rational use in pharmaceutical formulations used to treat some mycoses, especially dematiaceous moulds. (5)
• Antidiabetic: Oral administration of ethanolic extract of C. zeylanicum leaves to alloxan-induced diabetic rats sigificantly reduced their blood levels under acute and subacute studies. (7)
• Antiparasitic: Study investigated the possible antiparasitic effect of Czd bark oil in rabbits with sarcoptic mange. Rabbits showed improved oxidative status after recovery and restored reproductive performance. (8)
• Trans-cinnamaldehyde / C. difficile Therapy Potentiation: Trans-Cinnamaldehyde from Cinnamomum
zeylanicum Bark Essential Oil Reduces the Clindamycin Resistance of
Clostridium difficile in vitro: The essential oil of
C Zeylanicum bark enhanced the bactericidal activity of clindamycin.
The active fraction from the oil was identified aqs trans-cinnamaldehyde. (13)
• Antifungal / Azole-Resistant and Azole Susceptible Candida:
In a study evaluating the in vitro activity of C. zeylanicum against fluconazole-resistant and susceptible Candida isolates, the MICs of the bark of Cz were slightly better than commercially available cinnamon powder. Trans-cinnamaldehyde and O-methoxycinnamaldehyde had MICs of 0.03-0.5 mg/ml. Three of five patients had imporvement of their oral candidiasis. (14)
• Antidiabetic effect of Cinnamomum
cassia and Cinnamomum zeylanicum in vivo and in vitro: Study
showed the cassia extract has a direct antidiabetic potency. (15)
• Inactivation of Escherichia coli
O157:H7 by essential oil from Cinnamomum zeylanicum:
Study suggests the essential oil of CZ to be bactericidal against E.
• Toxicity Studies:
Chronic treatment of ethanolic extracts caused reduction in liver weight, fall in hemoglogin level, increase in reproductive organ weights, sperm motility, sperm count and no spermatotoxic effect. (17)
• Antioxidative Stress in Humans:
In a study to determine the antioxidative stress capacity of cinnamon in humans, results showed cinnamon has a marked antioxidant potential and may be beneficial in alleviating the complication of illnesses related to oxidative stress in humans. (18)
In a study selected medicinal plants for antibacterial activity, C. zeylanicum showed inhibition of S. aureus, B subtilis, B cereus and B thuringiensis. (19)
• Antioxidant Supplement / Broiler Chicken: Study showed cinnamon essential oil exhibited significant antioxidant activity in fattening chickens and can be used as a source of antioxidant in dietary supplement. (20)
• Phenolic Constituents / Antioxidant / Radical Scavenging / Fruits:
Study of several extracts showed the concentrated water extract to contain the maximum amount of phenolics and showed the highest antioxidant activities. The study yielded five purified compounds – protacatechuic acid, cinnamtannin B-1, urolignoside, rutin and a quercetin – all showing antioxidant and radical scavenging activities. (22)
Study investigating the anti-inflammatory activity of an ethanol extract of C. zeylanicum showed suppression of intracellular release of TNF-a in murine neutrophils. The extract inhibited TNF-a gene expression in LPS-stimulated human PBMC. The potent anti-inflammatory activity of the extract suggests an anti-anthritic activity which can be used in various models of arthritis. (23)
Study was done on the immunomodulatory effect C zeylanicum bark. At low dose, only an increase in serum immunoglobulin levels was noted; in high dose, there was decreased Pasturella multocide-induced mortality by 17%, increased phagocytic index and increased neutrophil adhesion, increased serum immunoglobulin and antibody titer values. (24)
• Wound Healing:
Study showed the ethanol extract of the bark of C. zeylanicum to significantly enhance the wound breaking strength, the rate of wound contraction and the period of epithelization of excision wound. (25)
• Acaricidal: Study investigated the in vitro and in vivo acaricidal effects of an essential oil of C zeylanicum leaves on Psoroptes cuniculi, a mange mite. All concentrations of the essential oil showed a good in vitro acaricideal efficacy compared with untreated controls. In vivo, essential oil treatment cured all infested rabbits, with no statistical differences with the treatment control group. (26)
• Blood Glucose, Food Consumption and Lipid Effects: Study investigated the short- and long-term effects onf C. zeylanicum on food consumption, body weight, glycemic control, and lipids in healthy and diabetes-induced rats. Results showed a lowering of blood glucose, reduced food intake, and improved lipid parameters in diabetes-induced rats. (27)
• Diabetes: A search for ways to help keep blood sugars normal
led to finding MHCP (methylhydroxy chalcone polymer) in cinnamon.
MHCP is a chalcone, a type of polyphenol or flavanoid, found to imake
cells more sensitive to insulin in the test tube. It was also found
to have antioxidant properties that can slow down various other complications
in diabetes. MHCP is water soluble and is not found in the spice oils
or oil extracts sold as food additives. (New Scientist, Aug 2000) (2) A USDA research also found that daily cinnamon supplements reduced
blood sugars by 20-30%. It also reduced total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol
and triglycerides from 13-30 percent in a study of 60 patients with
type 2 diabetes, an effect comparable to that obtained from statin drugs.
The author suggested that it may also be useful for healthy people. The spice has no known risks and negligible
calories. Half a teaspoon a day seems to be beneficial. Avoid the oils
as the phenophenols are removed in processing.
- Suggested use: 1/4 teaspon of cinnamon a day added to coffee, fruit
juice or cereal. It may also delay the onset of type of diagetes.
Aromatic bark sold in herbal markets for medicinal purposes.
Essential oil, teas, tincture, powders in the cybermarkets.