Cinnamaldehyde and its derivatives, a novel class of antifungal agents

Fitoterapia. 2016 Jul:112:116-31. doi: 10.1016/j.fitote.2016.05.016. Epub 2016 May 31.


The last few decades have seen an alarming rise in fungal infections, which currently represent a global health threat. Despite extensive research towards the development of new antifungal agents, only a limited number of antifungal drugs are available in the market. The routinely used polyene agents and many azole antifungals are associated with some common side effects such as severe hepatotoxicity and nephrotoxicity. Also, antifungal resistance continues to grow and evolve and complicate patient management, despite the introduction of new antifungal agents. This suitation requires continuous attention. Cinnamaldehyde has been reported to inhibit bacteria, yeasts, and filamentous molds via the inhibition of ATPases, cell wall biosynthesis, and alteration of membrane structure and integrity. In this regard, several novel cinnamaldehyde derivatives were synthesized with the claim of potential antifungal activities. The present article describes antifungal properties of cinnamaldehyde and its derivatives against diverse classes of pathogenic fungi. This review will provide an overview of what is currently known about the primary mode of action of cinnamaldehyde. Synergistic approaches for boosting the effectiveness of cinnamaldehyde and its derivatives have been highlighted. Also, a keen analysis of the pharmacologically active systems derived from cinnamaldehyde has been discussed. Finally, efforts were made to outline the future perspectives of cinnamaldehyde-based antifungal agents. The purpose of this review is to provide an overview of current knowledge about the antifungal properties and antifungal mode of action of cinnamaldehyde and its derivatives and to identify research avenues that can facilitate implementation of cinnamaldehyde as a natural antifungal.

Keywords: Cinnamaldehyde; Cinnamaldehyde derivatives; Fungal infections; Mechanism of action and future perspectives; Synergistic effects.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Acrolein / analogs & derivatives*
  • Acrolein / chemistry
  • Acrolein / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Antifungal Agents / chemistry
  • Antifungal Agents / pharmacology*
  • Drug Synergism
  • Fungi / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Molecular Structure
  • Yeasts / drug effects


  • Antifungal Agents
  • Acrolein
  • cinnamaldehyde