MD, PhD, FMedSci, FRSB, FRCP, FRCPEd.

In these pre-Xmas days, many homes will smell of cinnamon. It’s certainly a wonderful spice for creating an atmosphere. But ther are also other uses for ciannamon.

Current treatments for overactive bladder (OAB) have limited efficacy, low persistence and a high rate of adverse events commonly leading to treatment cessation in clinical practice. Clinicians in Asia commonly use traditional Chinese medicine as an alternative for OAB treatment despite it having uncertain efficacy and safety. To evaluate the efficacy and safety of cinnamon patch (CP) treatment for alleviating symptoms of OAB, this double-blind randomized, placebo-controlled trial was conducted.

The 6-week study was conducted in an outpatient setting; 66 subjects diagnosed as having OAB were enrolled and treated with a placebo (n=33) or CP (n=33). The OAB symptom score (OABSS) was selected as the primary end point, and a patient perception of bladder condition (PPBC), an urgency severity scale (USS), and post-voiding residual urine (PVR) volume were selected as secondary end points.

In total, 66 participants (40 women and 26 men), 60 years of age, were included in the intention-to-treat analyses. Baseline characteristics were comparable between the CP and placebo groups. Treatment with a CP showed statistically significant differences in reductions in OABSS scores, PPBC scores, and USS scores.

The authors concluded that compared to a placebo, treatment with CP might be considered an effective and safe complementary therapy for OAB. Further studies employing a positive control, different dosage forms, larger sample sizes, and longer treatment periods are warranted.

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Cinnamon cassia)belongs to the Lauraceae family. It contains manganese, iron, dietary fiber, and calcium as well as cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, cinnamate, and  numerous other components such as polyphenols and antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic, antimicrobial, anticancer effects. Several reports have dealt with the numerous properties of cinnamon in the forms of bark, essential oils, bark powder, and phenolic compounds, and each of these properties can play a key role in human health.

The new study is interesting and prompts me to ponder:

So, for the time being, I think, I prefere cinnamon, the spice, to cinnamon, the medicine.

3 Responses to Advent is cinnamon-time – but there are other possible uses for this spice

  • Something I learned recently about cinnamon is that you can buy bark or quills. Quills are more expensive but most Indian recipes talk about units of length which implies quills of cinnamon. Bark is cheaper. I’ve got a proper spice grinder so rarely buy it in ground form.

    Drinking Indian Chai seems a good way to ingest cinnamon.

  • Disclaimer: I don’t have shares cinnamon.

    Anecdotally cinnamon is a good immune stimulant.

    As with any good anecdote there is a story attached. When my sister turned up (years ago) with a persistent stubborn cough, having nothing much else to hand by way of cure, I gave her an impromptu tea of cinnamon and fresh ginger. By the time she and her husband reached home – less then an hour – the cough was gone. So impressed was she that she passes the tip onward. Indeed just last week she told me of an acquaintance with a similarly obstinate cough, to whom she suggested the cinnamon remedy, and yet again results were impressive and rapid. Somehow the fresh ginger has been lost, in the way of Chinese whispers.

    Some countries allow cinnamon to be steamed to extract the essential oil (primarily for the catering industry), then they sell the remaining dust on to other customers. You may have noticed this in coffee shops. Therefore be sure to buy good quality cinnamon for your pudding.

    As for anything that people take every day (‘religiously’), this will not work for those who take it constantly. That way lies decreasing effect and adverse reactions. Indeed, whatever you eat every day without fail will eventually bite you back (ipse dico). It is the opinion of many herbalists that one should take ‘dosage holidays’ where it is safe to do so.
    I am waiting with bated breath, indeed have been waiting for many years stretching into decades, for someone in the industry to test that general hypothesis (properly), but somehow I feel the implied cut in profits puts them off a bit. One day there will be an honest scientist in the sector and some genuine interest in looking after people rather than profits.

    • <blockquote.Anecdotally cinnamon is a good immune stimulant.
      Why have you concluded that the improvement in your sister’s cough was due to an effect of the infusion on your sister’s immune system? Perhaps one of the components was a bronchodilator (such as are found in tea and coffee) or an antitussive. Perhaps the inhalation of steam coming from the cup had a soothing effect.

      I’m not even sure what an immune stimulant is. The immune system is immensely complex. Would you refer to engine oil as a car stimulant?

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