Background: 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.
Methods: A comprehensive systematic review was conducted in the following databases; PubMed, Web of Science, SciVerse Scopus for studies published before 31st December 2012. The following keywords were used: "Cinnamomum zeylanicum", "Ceylon cinnamon", "True cinnamon" and "Sri Lankan cinnamon". To obtain additional data a manual search was performed using the reference lists of included articles.
Results: The literature search identified the following number of articles in the respective databases; PubMed=54, Web of Science=76 and SciVerse Scopus=591. Thirteen additional articles were identified by searching reference lists. After removing duplicates the total number of articles included in the present review is 70. The beneficial health effects of CZ identified were; a) anti-microbial and anti-parasitic activity, b) lowering of blood glucose, blood pressure and serum cholesterol, c) anti-oxidant and free-radical scavenging properties, d) inhibition of tau aggregation and filament formation (hallmarks of Alzheimer's disease), e) inhibitory effects on osteoclastogenesis, f) anti-secretagogue and anti-gastric ulcer effects, g) anti-nociceptive and anti-inflammatory activity, h) wound healing properties and i) hepato-protective effects. The studies reported minimal toxic and adverse effects.
Conclusions: The available in-vitro and in-vivo evidence suggests that CZ has many beneficial health effects. However, since data on humans are sparse, randomized controlled trials in humans will be necessary to determine whether these effects have public health implications.