Cinnamon is a well-known aromatic spice commonly used in baking and delicacies, but a study published in Nutritional Neuroscience on Jan. 18 indicates its potential value for preventing memory loss and learning disabilities. This study suggests some good news for the middle-aged and elderly, since memory loss is inevitable as we age. Cinnamon is also an amazing herbal material. According to Chinese medicine, cinnamon is good for strengthening the spleen and warming the stomach, nourishing fire and drawing it back to its source, helping yang, dispersing cold and relieving pain, warming the meridians, and opening the veins.
Cinnamon Improves Learning Capacity and Memory
Researchers from Birjand University of Medical Sciences in Iran recently reported in Nutritional Neuroscience the potential value of cinnamon for improving learning and memory capacity. This was a large systematic review in which researchers collected 2,605 studies from multiple databases in PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Web of Science, and finally selected 40 eligible studies for systematic review based on evaluation criteria. Of these, 33 were studies in living organisms (e.g., humans, mice, or other animals), two of which were clinical studies (i.e., clinical patients), and five were studies outside of living organisms (e.g., various isolated cells or tissues).
The review’s authors noted that in most of these studies, the results indicated that cinnamon significantly improved learning and memory capacity. The results of one of the studies in vivo suggest that eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, and cinnamic acid, which are contained in cinnamon, may be associated with improved cognitive function. In vitro studies found that cinnamaldehyde was effective in reducing tau protein aggregation and beta-amyloid and increasing cell viability. Analysis of two clinical studies showed that one concluded that cinnamon had a positive efficacy on cognitive function, while the other concluded that it had no such effect.
“Most studies reported that cinnamon might be useful for preventing and reducing cognitive function impairment. It can be used as an adjuvant in the treatment of related diseases,” the authors wrote. “However, more studies need to be done on this subject.”
In addition, cinnamon contains cinnamyl alcohol and cinnamic acid. These substances usually increase the level of acetylcholine (pdf) (a substance very important for the human memory system), thus enhancing memory and brain activity.
Cinnamaldehyde Has Potential to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease
As mentioned, cinnamaldehyde is effective in reducing tau protein aggregation and beta-amyloid while increasing cell viability. This is exciting news, as tau protein aggregation and beta-amyloid are widely considered to be markers for Alzheimer’s disease. Thus, cinnamon may well be of potential value in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease.
In 2017, a report published in the Journal of Pharmacological Research concluded that cinnamon and its bioactive components could effectively enhance neurological health by inhibiting tau protein aggregation and amyloid-beta peptide accumulation. The study also noted that cinnamaldehyde appears to be an effective and safe way to prevent and improve Alzheimer’s disease.
Cinnamon Is a Miracle Herb
Cinnamon has been an important spice and part of traditional Chinese medicine for thousands of years. Cinnamon is derived from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. It is found in the Himalayas and other mountainous regions, as well as in the rainforests and other forests of Southern China, India, and Southeast Asia. It can play an important role in the treatment of many diseases. Cinnamon was documented in the Shen Nong Ben Cao Jing, a Chinese work from the Eastern Han Dynasty (25–220 AD), where it was mentioned as a remedy for arthritis. In modern times, traditional Chinese medicine believes that cinnamon has the following five main effects.
- Strengthens the spleen and warms the stomach: Many have indigestion issues after eating. Stomach pain and bloating are the most obvious symptoms. In this case, you can use cinnamon to regulate digestion. It can strengthen the stomach and help process food.
- Protects against wind and cold: You can use cinnamon to reduce the effects on the body from wind and cold. When used when you’ve been out in the rain, wind, or cold, it can reduce your chances of catching a cold.
- Promotes blood circulation to restore menstrual flow: Cinnamon can help regulate women’s menstrual flow and help infertile women to regulate their bodies, thus making menstruation more regular and preventing the occurrence of some gynecological diseases.
- Warms kidneys and strengthens yang energy: Middle-aged men are prone to impotence, which can be a problem for some. When taken correctly, cinnamon can warm the kidneys and aid men with impotence issues.
- Disperses cold and relieves pain: Many middle-aged and elderly people have rheumatic pain, especially when it rains. If joint swelling and pain are problematic, cinnamon can help disperse cold and relieve pain, especially in the autumn and winter.
Does Cinnamon Have Any Side Effects?
Because of its anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon can help lower the risk of disease in middle-aged and elderly people. While it is generally beneficial to these age groups, cinnamon should not be consumed excessively.
Each teaspoon of cinnamon powder contains about 7 to 18 milligrams of coumarin. The intake of coumarin is calculated at 0.1 mg/kg body weight. Therefore, for a 110-pound (50 kilograms) adult, it is best not to exceed 5 mg. In short, 1 teaspoon of cinnamon powder per day may exceed the daily limit of intake.
Cinnamon may cause skin or allergic reactions, which in almost all cases are mild. However, it can sometimes result in more serious symptoms such as mouth ulcers, nausea, vomiting, low blood pressure, and other symptoms. If you have any side effects, please consult your doctor immediately.
How to Use Cinnamon
You can add ground cinnamon to food when baking bread, pizza, or other things, or you can make a baked cinnamon soda cake. You can also add it to syrup or use it to make desserts such as bread pudding.
You can add cinnamon powder to tea or coffee, but it should not be added just to water. You can add cinnamon to milk or coconut milk to make deliciously sweet and tangy cinnamon milk.
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