Scientific Name Cinnamomum verum Presl ( syn C.zeylanicum Bi)

Family Lauraceae

Used Part Bark

Distribution Area A tree native to Sri Lanka and cultivated in South India for its aromatic bark and also found to a limited extent in eastern India.

Common Uses . The bark is used to a limited extent in medicine. It is aromatic, astringent, stimulant, expectorant and carminative. It possesses the property of checking nausea and vomiting. As a stimulant it is beneficial in cramps of the stomach, gastric irritation, and paralysis of tongue. The ground cinnamon shows lipolytic activity. It is useful in diarrhoea and dysentery. Externally the bark is used in neuralgia, rheumatism and toothache. A decoction of the bark is reported to be used for cancer of stomach, rectum and uterus.

The oil is carminative and a powerful stimulant. The oil is also a powerful germicide and an active fungicide. It is used as a

cordial in cramps of the stomach, in syncope, in paralysis of the

tongue and to deaden the nerve in toothache. Swallowed in excess, the oil produces irritation of the gastro-intestinal tract which may result in fatality. It is also used as an aromatic to mask the disagreeable taste of other drugs.

The root bark oil is used as a stimulant in amenorrhoea. It is also antiseptic and is used in gonorrhoea. Locally it is used as an application in neuralgia.

The bark forms a component of the Unani durg `Majoon-e-flasfa' which invigorates the muscular function of human body and acts as an aphrodisiac. The drug is said to be useful in anorexia and disorders such as arthritis, gout, lumbrgo and other rheumatic pains.

Therapeutic uses on Disease or Syndrome


Similar crude drugs

Chemical Constituent Analysis of the bark gave: moisture, 10.7; protein, 12.5; fat, 1.1; fibre, 28.5; carbohydrates, 45.5; ash, 1.7g/100g; calcium, 341.3; phosphorus, 99.8; and iron, 9.0 mg/100g; and energy, 241 cal/100g. It contains a significant amount of a mucilaginous substance, which consists mainly of a water extractable L-arabino-D-xylan and an alkali-extractable D-glucan. The bark also contains the diterpenes, cinnzeylanin and cinnzeylanol besides tannin (6.5%).

Cinnamon provides various types of essential oils depending on the part of the plant utilized. The oils obtained from stembark, leaf and rootbark, have been used commercially, the bark oil being the most commercially valuable. The bark from North-East India yields 0.35 per cent oil (fresh wt basis) containing eugenol (42.0%) and cinnamaldehyde (30.2%) as major constituents. However, the bark oil from Manipur (yield, 0.7%) has been found to contain 74 per cent cinnamaldehyde. The oil from Sri Lanka (yield, 0.5-1.0%; sp gr 30°, 1.023-1.040; n D,, 1.581-1.591) contains cinna-maldehyde (65-76%) and eugenol (4-10%) as major constituents. Presence of cinnamylacetate (5.1%), linalool, 1,8-cineol, ß-caryophyllene, a-humulene, p-cymene,a-terpineol, cuminaldehyde and benzyl benzoate is also reported.

The essential oil from North-East India (1.2%, fresh basis) contains eugenol (94.5%) and cinnamaldehyde (2.8%). The sample of leaf oil from Orissa (yield 0.5-0.8%), however, contains eugenol varying from 28 to 97 per cent. The physico-chemical properties of the oil from Kerala were as follows: d30° 30° , 1.044; n D 20°, 1.5262; [a]D 30°, -3.6; ester val, 18.94; phenol content, 83; and carbonyl compounds, 4%. The oil contains eugenol, O-methyl eugenol, benzaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, l-a-pinene, l-a-and l-ß- phellandrene, p -cymene, caryophyllene, benzyl benzoate and linalool. Presence of safrole, acetyleugenol, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl alcohol is also reported.

Pharmacological Effect Cinnzeylanin and cinnzeylanol show insecticidal activity against larvae of silkworm (Bombyx mori ) and other insects. The bark is reported to have shown mutagenic activity in rec -assay in Bacillus subtilis (Ehrenb.) Cohn strains H17 and M45. Thus it may have associated carcinogenic action. The dried bark in the crude form, its water-heated and water-macerated residues, and petroleum

ether and chloroform extracts showed mutagenic activity, whereas water-heated and water-macerated filtrates did not show the activity. In another study petroleum ether and chloroform extract showed cytotoxic effect on stable monolayer cell line from a human mouth carcinoma and stable suspension cell line from a mouse lymphoid leukemia.

The oil, even in high dilution of 1:64 showed potent anti-bacterial activity against several gram positive and gram negative bacteria such as Micrococcus pyogenes Lehmann&Neumann var. aureus Hucker, Bacillus subtilis (Ehrenb.) Cohn, Salmonella typhi (Schroter), Enterococcus proteiformis Thierc. & Jouh. and Lactobacillus acidophillus (Moro) Bergey

The essential oil, in combination with other essential oils, was found to be effective against Salmonella typhi , a human pathogen, and compared well with the reference antibiotic, Chloramphenicol. The oil exhibited better anti-microbial activity compared to some known anti- bacterial drugs like Penicillin, Streptomycin and Tetracycline.

The oil at 1:64 dilution showed more anti-fungal activity than

Griseofulvin (100 µg) against Aspergillus fumigatus Fres., A.

niger van Tiegh., Candida tropicalis (Cast.) Berkh.,

Saccharomyces carlsbergensis Lodder & Kreger-van Rij and Rhizopus oryzae Went. & Painsen Gearlings. The bark oil as well as chloroform extract of the bark exhibited inhibitory activity against aflatoxin-producing fungus Aspergillus parasiticus Speae.