Repeated systemic administration of the cinnamon essential oil possesses anti-anxiety and anti-depressant activities in mice

Iran J Basic Med Sci. 2017 Jun;20(6):708-714. doi: 10.22038/IJBMS.2017.8841.


Objectives: The present study aimed to evaluate the putative antidepressant and anti-anxiety effects of the cinnamon essential oil when administered acute (for 3 doses) and sub-acute (for 14 days) to mice.

Materials and methods: In an acute experimental study, forced swim test (FST) was conducted to evaluate the antidepressant-like behavior of animals treated with the intraperitoneal (IP) essential oil of cinnamon in triple doses (0.5, 1, and 2 mg/kg). In a sub-acute study (14 days in 24-hr intervals) antidepressant-like effects of essential oil (0.5, 1, and 2 mg/kg) with the same route were assessed in FST and tail suspension test (TST). Anti-anxiety and motor activities were evaluated using elevated plus-maze (EPM) and open field tests, respectively. Determination of different constituents within the sample oil was via gas chromatography-mass spectrometry (GC-MS) analysis.

Results: Repetitive administration of cinnamon essential oil (0.5, 1, 2 mg/kg) during 14 days significantly decreased the time of immobility in both FST and TST as compared to the control group. Mice treated with oil at the dose of 2 mg/kg spent a longer time and had more entries into the open arms of EPM as compared with the vehicle-treated ones. According to GC-MS analysis, 46 chemical compounds were identified in the studied cinnamon essential oil with the main constituent being trans-cinnamaldehyde (87.32%).

Conclusion: Cinnamon essential oil might be used as an adjunctive therapy in improving symptoms of depressive and anxiety disorders. However, dose-response effects need further evaluation. Trans-cinnamaldehyde might be responsible for the beneficial effect observed.

Keywords: Cinnamon bark; Elevated plus maze; Essential oil; Forced swimming test; Tail suspension test.