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      Beneficial Effects of Cinnamon on the Metabolic Syndrome, Inflammation, and Pain, and Mechanisms Underlying These Effects – A Review

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          Cinnamon is one of the most important herbal drugs and has been widely used in Asia for more than 4000 years. As a folk medicine, cinnamon has been traditionally applied to the treatment of inflammatory disorders and gastric diseases. After chemical profiling of cinnamon's components, their biological activities including antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, antitumor, antihypertension, antilipemic, antidiabetes, gastroprotective and immunomodulatory were reported by many investigators. As a result, current studies have been performed mostly focusing on the bioactivity of cinnamon toward the recently generalized metabolic syndrome involving diabetes. In this review article, we provide an overview of the recent literature describing cinnamon's potential for preventing the metabolic syndrome.

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          Most cited references 71

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          Isolation and characterization of polyphenol type-A polymers from cinnamon with insulin-like biological activity.

          The causes and control of type 2 diabetes mellitus are not clear, but there is strong evidence that dietary factors are involved in its regulation and prevention. We have shown that extracts from cinnamon enhance the activity of insulin. The objective of this study was to isolate and characterize insulin-enhancing complexes from cinnamon that may be involved in the alleviation or possible prevention and control of glucose intolerance and diabetes. Water-soluble polyphenol polymers from cinnamon that increase insulin-dependent in vitro glucose metabolism roughly 20-fold and display antioxidant activity were isolated and characterized by nuclear magnetic resonance and mass spectroscopy. The polymers were composed of monomeric units with a molecular mass of 288. Two trimers with a molecular mass of 864 and a tetramer with a mass of 1152 were isolated. Their protonated molecular masses indicated that they are A type doubly linked procyanidin oligomers of the catechins and/or epicatechins. These polyphenolic polymers found in cinnamon may function as antioxidants, potentiate insulin action, and may be beneficial in the control of glucose intolerance and diabetes.
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            Several culinary and medicinal herbs are important sources of dietary antioxidants.

            We assessed the contribution of culinary and medicinal herbs to the total intake of dietary antioxidants. Our results demonstrate that there is more than a 1000-fold difference among antioxidant concentrations of various herbs. Of the dried culinary herbs tested, oregano, sage, peppermint, garden thyme, lemon balm, clove, allspice and cinnamon as well as the Chinese medicinal herbs Cinnamomi cortex and Scutellariae radix all contained very high concentrations of antioxidants (i.e., >75 mmol/100 g). In a normal diet, intake of herbs may therefore contribute significantly to the total intake of plant antioxidants, and be an even better source of dietary antioxidants than many other food groups such as fruits, berries, cereals and vegetables. In addition, the herbal drug, Stronger Neo-Minophagen C, a glycyrrhizin preparation used as an intravenous injection for the treatment of chronic hepatitis, boosts total antioxidant intake. It is tempting to speculate that several of the effects due to these herbs are mediated by their antioxidant activities.
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              Anti-diabetic effect of cinnamon extract on blood glucose in db/db mice.

              The anti-diabetic effect of Cinnamomi cassiae extract (Cinnamon bark: Lauraceae) in a type II diabetic animal model (C57BIKsj db/db) was studied. Cinnamon extract was administered at different dosages (50, 100, 150 and 200 mg/kg) for 6 weeks. It was found that blood glucose concentration is significantly decreased in a dose-dependent manner (P<0.001) with the most in the 200 mg/kg group compared with the control. In addition, serum insulin levels and HDL-cholesterol levels were significantly higher (P<0.01) and the concentration of triglyceride, total cholesterol and intestinal alpha-glycosidase activity were significantly lower after 6 weeks of the administration. These results suggest that cinnamon extract has a regulatory role in blood glucose level and lipids and it may also exert a blood glucose-suppressing effect by improving insulin sensitivity or slowing absorption of carbohydrates in the small intestine.

                Author and article information

                J Tradit Complement Med
                J Tradit Complement Med
                Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine
                Medknow Publications & Media Pvt Ltd (India )
                Jan-Mar 2012
                : 2
                : 1
                : 27-32
                [1 ]Laboratory of Nutrition and Physiology, Department of Chemistry and Life Science, Nihon University College of Bioresource Sciences, Nihon University Graduate School of Bioresource Sciences, Kanagawa 252-0880, Japan
                [2 ]School of Pharmacy, Nihon University; 7-7-1 Narashinodai, Funabashi, Chiba 274-8555, Japan
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence to: Prof. Taiichiro Seki. E-mail: tseki@ 123456brs.nihon-u.ac.jp , FAX:+81-466-84-3949 Dr. Yan Shen. E-mail: shen.yan@ 123456nihon-u.ac.jp , FAX: +81-466-84-3949
                Copyright: © Journal of Traditional and Complementary Medicine

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Review Article

                cinnamon, spice, diabetes, metabolic syndrome, inflammation, insulin


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