Antibacterial Effects of Cinnamon: From Farm to Food, Cosmetic and Pharmaceutical Industries

Nutrients. 2015 Sep 11;7(9):7729-48. doi: 10.3390/nu7095359.


Herbs and spices have been used since ancient times, because of their antimicrobial properties increasing the safety and shelf life of food products by acting against foodborne pathogens and spoilage bacteria. Plants have historically been used in traditional medicine as sources of natural antimicrobial substances for the treatment of infectious disease. Therefore, much attention has been paid to medicinal plants as a source of alternative antimicrobial strategies. Moreover, due to the growing demand for preservative-free cosmetics, herbal extracts with antimicrobial activity have recently been used in the cosmetic industry to reduce the risk of allergies connected to the presence of methylparabens. Some species belonging to the genus Cinnamomum, commonly used as spices, contain many antibacterial compounds. This paper reviews the literature published over the last five years regarding the antibacterial effects of cinnamon. In addition, a brief summary of the history, traditional uses, phytochemical constituents, and clinical impact of cinnamon is provided.

Keywords: antibacterial activity; cinnamaldehyde; cinnamon; eugenol; infectious diseases; spice.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / adverse effects
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / isolation & purification
  • Anti-Bacterial Agents / pharmacology*
  • Cinnamomum zeylanicum* / chemistry
  • Consumer Product Safety
  • Cosmetics*
  • Drug Contamination / prevention & control*
  • Food Microbiology
  • Food Preservatives / adverse effects
  • Food Preservatives / isolation & purification
  • Food Preservatives / pharmacology*
  • Foodborne Diseases / microbiology
  • Foodborne Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Humans
  • Plant Extracts / adverse effects
  • Plant Extracts / isolation & purification
  • Plant Extracts / pharmacology*
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical / adverse effects
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical / isolation & purification
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical / pharmacology*
  • Risk Assessment


  • Anti-Bacterial Agents
  • Cosmetics
  • Food Preservatives
  • Plant Extracts
  • Preservatives, Pharmaceutical