The cinnamon tree was considered since ancient times as a medicinal plant in India and the Middle East used cinnamon as a condiment and remedy to promote digestion. In the eighteenth century, the majority of medicinal preparations included cinnamon. Then a cinnamomum-based macerated wine acquired a great reputation for its aphrodisiac virtues.
Cinnamon has tonic, antispasmodic, antiseptic, exciting and digestive properties. Indeed, its bark contains an aromatic essence full of tannins, mucilages, coumarins, starch and sugars, as well as phenylpropanic derivatives (1), including cinnamaldehyde (2), eugenol and cinnamyl acetate. Cynnamaldehyde is a hypotensive, analgesic and sedative active. Cinnamon components also contain lignans, mono and sesqui-terpenic heterosides, polyoxygenic polycyclic diterpenes.
Rich of these substances, Cinnamomum represents an excellent natural ingredient with many health assets. Indeed, cinnamon bark also stimulates respiratory and circulatory systems and increases the secretion of gastric juice. It maintains a good level of cholesterol, lipids and glucose in the blood and allows stabilising weight and appetite (3). The health benefits of cinnamon are also due to its recommended toning properties to combat fatigue, lack of energy and for convalescences including post influenza. Cinnamon helps to recover tonicity, to increase intellectual and physical capacities and digestive comfort (4).
Cinnamon has antibacterial, astringent, carminative and antifungal properties from the essential oil extracted from its bark; some components of its aroma, thymol or salicylaldehyde give this essential oil antioxidant properties (5). Cinnamon is used in fields ranging from pharmacy, food to perfumery. In herbal tea or decoction to pastries, condiments and exotic dishes, cinnamon is used in cooking for its wonderful taste either as a raw spice (stick, powder) or transformed for flavouring drinks.
(2) LALLEMAND, Hélène, PIROT, Nicolas, DORNIER, Manuel, et al. La cannelle: historique, production et principales caractéristiques. Fruits, 2000, vol. 55, no 6, p. 421-432.
(3) BOUDEBOUZ SELSABIL NASRI AMIRA, Oumeddour Fatima Zahra. Évaluation de l'effet hypoglycémiant el protecteur de la cannelle (Cinnamomum verum) contre les complications cardiaques chez les diabétiques. 2012.
(4) DERABLA CHERIFA, Zamouche Amel. Etude de l’activité antibactérienne des extraits alcooliques d’ail (Allium sativum) et de cannelle (Cinnamomum zeylanicum). 2016.
(5) LEE, Hea-Jin, LIM, Hyun-Ji, et LIM, Mi-Hye. The Activity of Anti-oxidation of Cinnamomum loureiroi Extract. Journal of the Korean Applied Science and Technology, 2020, vol. 37, no 6, p. 1583-1590.