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Cinnamomum zeylanicum

Cinnamomum zeylanicum


Cinnamomum verum

Vernacular Name

Cinnamon, ceylon cinnamon, true cinnamon, common cinnamon


Cinnamomum zeylanicum or true cinnamonis the bark of an evergreen plant that's indigenous to Sri Lanka.

C. zeylanicum is a small to medium evergreen tree from the family Lauraceae. Ranging in height between 6-12m, the heavily foliated tree is known for its rolled quills of aromatic bark. The bark of C. verum is a light, pinkish brown color and forms a tin, paper-like covering to the tree. Rolled into tight quills, the bark is strongly aromatic, giving of a pleasant smell, which is accompanied by a warm taste sensation. Densely arranged on C. verum, the tough, coriaceous, glabrous leaves, when young, are red, until they mature into a dark green. They are arranged oppositely, splaying horizontally, and are ovate to lanceolate in shape. With a long bloom time, from early spring to mid autumn, C. verum produces small, inconspicuous flowers on axillary panicles. Contrary to the bark, the loosely arranged, yellow-green flowers are noted as having a rather unpleasant odor. C. verum produces small, berrylike fruit which has small, short thorns.

Origin / Habitat

C. zeylanicum is native to China and Sri Lanka but now is cultivated throughout Indonesia, India and Vietnam, to name a few. C. zeylanicum bark is taken from the Cassia tree, which needs deep, well-drained soil in order to grow healthily. The tree will not survive frost or cold temperatures and prefers partial shade

Chemical Constituents

Approximately 0.5-4.0% essential oil containing 60-80% cinnamaldehyde, up to 10% eugenol and 5-10% trans-cinnamic acid 4-10%

Polyphenols, including catechins and oligomeric proanthocyanidins


Other monoterpenes including limonene and alpha-terpineol

Sesquiterpenes including pinene

Calcium monoterpenoid oxalates; gum





Traces of coumarin [1],[2]

Plant Part Used


Medicinal Uses


Blood sugar regulation; Type 2 diabetes

Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X)



Immune Enhancing

Cancer Support

Most Frequently Reported Uses

Blood sugar regulation; Type 2 diabetes

Metabolic Syndrome (Syndrome X)



Dosage Range

Dried C. zeylanicum powder: 1,500mg to 6gm (1/4–1 teaspoonful) of C. zeylanicum daily.

Most Common Dosage

Dried C. zeylanicum powder: 3gm daily

Standardization Dosage 

No standardization known. Cinnulin PFÒ is a commercial product that is a water-soluble extract concentrated 20:1 (w/v).



One of the main uses for C. zeylanicum in herbal medicine is to improve insulin resistance and blood sugar levels and to help balance the metabolism of individuals with metabolic syndrome. C. zeylanicum has been reported to help improve insulin sensitivity in both laboratory and human studies.[3],[4],[5],[6],[7] The reported mechanism includes enhancing insulin sensitivity via increased phosphorylation of signaling proteins and insulin-sensitive glucose transporter 4-mediated glucose uptake into muscle cells.[8] There are conflicting studies with no reported benefits when using dried C. zeylanicum bark for glucose regulation.[9],[10],[11]

Recent interest in C. zeylanicum and blood sugar regulation revolve around a patented, water-soluble extract of C. zeylanicum. The extract, called Cinnulin PFÒ, is reported to improve insulin sensitivity in vitro, laboratory animal and human studies. In a laboratory animal study, the water-soluble extract improved the postprandial overproduction of intestinal apoB48-containing lipoproteins by ameliorating intestinal insulin resistance and may be beneficial in the control of lipid metabolism.[12]

It is well documented that obesity is related to inflammation and the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines, such as TNF-alpha, which in turn stimulates the overproduction of intestinal apolipoprotein (apo) B48 containing lipoproteins leading to weight gain. A laboratory animal study found that the water-soluble C. zeylanicum extract reverses TNF-alpha-induced overproduction of intestinal apoB48 by regulating gene expression involving inflammatory, insulin, and lipoprotein signaling pathways.[13] The authors concluded that the water-soluble extract improves inflammation related intestinal dyslipidemia. Another laboratory study found C. zeylanicum exhibits anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting nitric oxide production via inhibition of NF-kappaB.[14] C. zeylanicum has also been reported to inhibit hepatic HMG-CoA reductase activity and reduce levels of blood lipids in animals and humans, helping improve symptoms of metabolic syndrome; however evidence is conflicting as it has also been shown to raise cholesterol levels in rats.[15]

In laboratory studies, C. zeylanicum extract has been reported to have strong activity against H. pylori. But a small study of 15 patients who tested positive for H pylori infection found that 40mg of C. zeylanicum twice daily for four weeks was ineffective in eradicating the H. pylori.[17]

Some studies suggest that C. zeylanicum may be beneficial in cancer patients. In a laboratory study, C. zeylanicum extract was found to affect proliferation of a leukemic cell line by disrupting critical phosphorylating/dephosphorylating signaling events that propel cells through the G2/M phase.[18] C. zeylanicum extract has been found to affect immune responses by regulating anti- and pro-inflammatory and GLUT gene expression.[19]

Of interest is a recent study found that an aqueous extract of C. zeylanicum inhibited tau aggregation and filament formation, hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease (AD).[20]

C. zeylanicum has been reported to have antifungal activity in laboratory studies.[21],[22]


A human study of 15 healthy individuals found that ingestion of 3gm C. zeylanicum improved insulin sensitivity by reducing postprandial serum insulin and increasing glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) concentrations without significantly affecting blood glucose, gastric inhibitory peptide (GIP), the ghrelin concentration, satiety, or gastric emptying rate (GER).[23] The same authors found that inclusion of C. zeylanicum (6gm) in the diet of 14 health individuals lowered the postprandial glucose response without affecting satiety, a change that was partially explained by a delayed GER.[24] Another small human study of 8 healthy men took C. zeylanicum (3gm daily for 14 days or placebo) found that the C. zeylanicum improved glycemic control and insulin sensitivity.[25]

This water-soluble C. zeylanicum extract contains high levels of polyphenol compounds, and in a double-blind, placebo controlled study of 22 individuals with pre-diabetes and metabolic syndrome this extract reportedly reduced mean fasting serum glucose (18-29%), triglycerides (23-30%), total cholesterol (12-26%) and LDL-cholesterol (7-27%).[26],[27],[28] The authors concluded that individuals with metabolic syndrome who consume an aqueous extract of C. zeylanicum have been reported to have improved fasting blood glucose, systolic blood pressure, percentage body fat and increased lean body mass. Studies utilizing an aqueous extract of C. zeylanicum, high in type A polyphenols have also demonstrated improvements in fasting glucose, glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity in women with insulin resistance associated with the polycystic ovary syndrome.[29]

In humans, a small study of 5 patients with oral candidiasis found that after using C. zeylanicum for a week, 3 of the 5 patients had marked improvement in their symptoms associated with oral candidiasis.[30] The study also found in an in vitro test that C. zeylanicum was highly active against fluconazole-resistant and-susceptible Candida isolates.

Interaction and Depletions

Interaction with other Herbs

No documentation

Interaction with Drugs

Based on pharmacology, use with caution in individuals with bleeding disorders or those taking blood-thinning medications such as aspirin or warfarin (Coumadin).

Based on pharmacology, use with caution in individuals taking medications to control blood sugar levels, including insulin.

Precautions and Contraindications

Side effects

Discontinue if allergy occurs; there have been case reports of allergic contact stomatitis when using C. zeylanicum essential oil orally.[32]

C. zeylanicum has been reported safe in recommended doses. C. zeylanicum should be used with caution in individuals with bleeding disorders.[31]

A case report suggests that C. zeylanicum may exacerbate rosacea in sensitive individuals.[33],[34]

A case of generalized contact dermatitis has been reported after a therapeutic mud bath with C. zeylanicum essential oil.[16]


No documentation

Age limitation

No documentation

Adverse reaction

No documentation


  1. Wang SY, Chen PF, Chang ST. Antifungal activities of essential oils and their constituents from indigenous cinnamon (Cinnamomum osmophloeum) leaves against wood decay fungi. Bioresour Technol. May 2005;96(7):813-188.
  2. Anderson RA, Braodhurst CL, Polansky MM, et al. Isolation and characterization of polyphenol type-A polymers from cinnamon with insulin-like biological activity. J Agric Food Chem. 14Jan2004;52(1):65-70.
  3. Jarvill-Taylor KJ, Anderson RA, Graves DJ. A hydroxychalcone derived from cinnamon functions as a mimetic for insulin in 3T3-L1 adipocytes. J Am Coll Nutr. Aug2001;20(4):327-336.
  4. Solomon TP, Blannin AK. Effects of short-term cinnamon ingestion on in vivo glucose tolerance. Diabetes Obes Metab. Nov2007;9(6):895-901.
  5. Mang B, Wolters M, Schmitt B, Kelb K,et al. Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2. Eur J Clin Invest. May2006;36(5):340-344.
  6. Pham AQ, Kourlas H, Pham DQ. Cinnamon supplementation in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Pharmacotherapy. Apr2007;27(4):595-599.
  7. Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, Khattak KN, Anderson RA. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. Dec2003;26(12):3215-3218.
  8. Jitomir J, Willoughby DS. Cassia cinnamon for the attenuation of glucose intolerance and insulin resistance resulting from sleep loss. J Med Food. Jun2009;12(3):467-472.
  9. Suppapitiporn S, Kanpaksi N, Suppapitiporn S. The effect of cinnamon cassia powder in type 2 diabetes mellitus. J Med Assoc Thai. Sep2006;89 Suppl 3:S200-205.
  10. Vanschoonbeek K, Thomassen BW, Seden JM, et al. Cinnamon supplementation does not improve glycemic control in postmenopausal type 2 diabetes patients. J Nutr.2006;136:977-980.
  11. Altschuler JA, Casella SJ, MacKenzie TA, Curtis KM. The effect of cinnamon on A1C among adolescents with type 1 diabetes. Diabetes Care. Apr2007;30(4):813-816.
  12. Qin B, Polansky MM, Sato Y, Adeli K, Anderson RA. Cinnamon extract inhibits the postprandial overproduction of apolipoprotein B48-containing lipoproteins in fructose-fed animals. J Nutr Biochem. Nov 2009;20(11):901-908.
  13. Qin B, Dawson H, Polansky MM, Anderson RA. Cinnamon extract attenuates TNF-alpha-induced intestinal lipoprotein ApoB48 overproduction by regulating inflammatory, insulin, and lipoprotein pathways in enterocytes. Horm Metab Res. Jul2009;41(7):516-522.
  14. Lee SH, Lee SY, Son DJ, et al. Inhibitory effect of 2'-hydroxycinnamaldehyde on nitric oxide production through inhibition of NF-kappa B activation in RAW 264.7 cells. Biochem Pharmacol. 1Mar2005;69(5):791-799.
  15. Mang B, Wolters M, Schmitt B, Kelb K,et al. Effects of a cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2. Eur J Clin Invest. May2006;36(5):340-344.
  16. Garcia-Abujeta JL, Larramendi C, Berna J, et al. Mud bath dermatitis due to cinnamon oil. Contact Dermatitis.2005;52:234.
  17. Nir Y, Potasman I, Stermer E, et al. Controlled trial of the effect of cinnamon extract on Helicobacter pylori. Helicobactor. 2000;5:94-97.
  18. Schoene NW, Kelly MA, Polansky MM, Anderson RA. A polyphenol mixture from cinnamon targets p38 MAP kinase-regulated signaling pathways to produce G2/M arrest.J Nutr Biochem. Aug2009;20(8):614-620.
  19. Cao H, Urban JF Jr, Anderson RA. Cinnamon polyphenol extract affects immune responses by regulating anti- and proinflammatory and glucose transporter gene expression in mouse macrophages. J Nutr. May 2008;138(5):833-840.
  20. Peterson DW, George RC, Scaramozzino F, et al. Cinnamon Extract Inhibits Tau Aggregation Associated with Alzheimer's Disease In Vitro. J Alzheimers Dis. 11May2009. [Epub ahead of print]
  21. Simić A, Soković MD, Ristić M, Grujić-Jovanović S, Vukojević J, Marin PD. The chemical composition of some Lauraceae essential oils and their antifungal activities.Phytother Res. Sep2004;18(9):713-717.
  22. Cheng SS, Liu JY, Hsui YR, Chang ST. Chemical polymorphism and antifungal activity of essential oils from leaves of different provenances of indigenous cinnamon (Cinnamomum osmophloeum). Bioresour Technol. Jan2006;97(2):306-312.
  23. Hlebowicz J, Hlebowicz A, Lindstedt S, et al. Effects of 1 and 3 g cinnamon on gastric emptying, satiety, and postprandial blood glucose, insulin, glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide, glucagon-like peptide 1, and ghrelin concentrations in healthy subjects.Am J Clin Nutr. Mar2009;89(3):815-821.
  24. Hlebowicz J, Darwiche G, Björgell O, Almér LO. Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects. Am J Clin Nutr. Jun2007;85(6):1552-1556.
  25. Solomon TP, Blannin AK. Changes in glucose tolerance and insulin sensitivity following 2 weeks of daily cinnamon ingestion in healthy humans. Eur J Appl Physiol. Apr2009;105(6):969-976.
  26. Anderson RA. Chromium and polyphenols from cinnamon improve insulin sensitivity. Proc Nutr Soc. Feb2008;67(1):48-53.
  27. Roussel AM, Hininger I, Benaraba R, Ziegenfuss TN, Anderson RA. Antioxidant effects of a cinnamon extract in people with impaired fasting glucose that are overweight or obese. J Am Coll Nutr. Feb2009;28(1):16-21.
  28. Ziegenfuss TN, Hofheins JE, Mendel RW, Landis J, Anderson RA. Effects of a water-soluble cinnamon extract on body composition and features of the metabolic syndrome in pre-diabetic men and women. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 28Dec2006;3:45-53.
  29. Wang JG, Anderson RA, Graham GM 3rd, et al. The effect of cinnamon extract on insulin resistance parameters in polycystic ovary syndrome: a pilot study.Fertil Steril. Jul 2007;88(1):240-243.
  30. Quale JM, Landman D, Zaman MM, et al. In vitro activity of Cinnamomum zeylanicum against azole resistant and sensitive Candida species and a pilot study of cinnamon for oral candidiasis. Am J Chin Med. 1996;24(2):103-109.
  31. Lee SH, Lee SY, Son DJ, et al. Inhibitory effect of 2'-hydroxycinnamaldehyde on nitric oxide production through inhibition of NF-kappa B activation in RAW 264.7 cells. Biochem Pharmacol. 1Mar2005;69(5):791-799.
  32. Tremblay S, Avon SL. Contact allergy to cinnamon: case report. J Can Dent Assoc. Jun2008;74(5):445-461.
  33. Campbell TM, Neems R, Moore J. Severe exacerbation of rosacea induced by cinnamon supplements. J Drugs Dermatol. Jun2008;7(6):586-587.
  34. Noonan V, Kemp S. Cinnamon stomatitis. J Mass Dent Soc. Fall2007;56(3):43.

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