Cinnamomum verum

scientific name: 
Cinnamomum verum J. Presl
Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume
Botanical family: 

Botanical description

Tree 8-15 m tall, bark very aromatic.  Leaves opposite and subopposite, up to 15 cm long, prominently three-nervate from the base to near the apex, shiny above, glabrous below, ovate to elliptic-lanceolate, round on the base; inflorescence a panicle, flowers small whitish-yellow; fruit a berry 1-1.2 cm long, 0.7 cm in diameter.





bark (splinters), decoction, orally1


bark (splinters), decoction, orally2-3

The bark (powdered or fragmented) of Cinnamomum verum is widely used for human consumption.

For diarrhea and vomiting:

Prepare a decoction with 3 grams of bark fragments in 1/2 liter (2 cups) of water, boil for 10 minutes minimum in a covered pot.  Leave to cool down, and drink 1 cup twice a day.

The daily dose average of bark for adults is 2 to 4 grams28.


According to published and other information:

Use for diarrhea and vomiting is classified as REC, based on the significant traditional use documented in the TRAMIL surveys, and on published scientific information available.

Should there be a notable worsening of the patient’s condition, or should diarrhoea last more than 3 days in adult or 2 days in children older than 3, or should vomiting persist for more than 2 days, seek medical attention.  The use of this resource can be considered complementary to oral re-hydration therapy.

Avoid ingestion if the following conditions are present: gastroduodenal ulcer or gastritis; allergy to the plant.

In the event of accidental poisoning by ingestion of essential oil or of preparations containing essential oil, medical attention is required.

Not for use by women during pregnancy, or while breast feeding or by children under 3 years of age.

Not for use for more than three consecutive days.

TRAMIL Research29

The aqueous extract by decoction of bark chips, administered via oral to 10 male Swiss rats (3 g/kg/day) for 20 days, resulted in the death of one animal (10%). During the first 11 days of treatment, 90% of the animals were observed to be suffering depressive effects, exhibiting less motor activity, an alarm reaction with erection of the hair and loss of body weight. The one animal that died showed symptoms of dehydration 3 days before death. From day 13 onwards the animals recovered and remained in good health until the end of the experiment. Macroscopic autopsy did not reveal internal alterations. During the second week of the trial the treated animals lost weight (- 0.63 g) and from the second week on to the end of the test there remained a statistically significant difference (p < 0.05) between the body weight of the treated and control groups. During the third and fourth weeks the treated animals gained weight more rapidly than the controls but did not fully recover the loss of weight that had occurred in the second week of treatment. In the week after the end of the trial the treated animals gained less weight than the controls.

The aqueous extract from the bark (1%) exhibited mutagenic activity in the Salmonella typhimurium model (5-10 picoliters/disk)21.

The aqueous extracts from the bark obtained with hot water or by aqueous maceration (50 mg of solid material/disk) were negative in the in vitro mutagenicity model with Bacillus subtilis H17 (rec +) and M45 (rec -).  The raw bark and solid residues from both aqueous extracts were mutagenic22.

The extracts from the bark with ethanol, chloroform and petroleum ether revealed mutagenic effects in a preliminary test; the extracts with chloroform and petroleum ether showed negative results when the S-9 fraction of hepatic enzymes was added23.

The aqueous and alcoholic extracts from the bark (50 µg/mL) induced mitogenic activity in vitro, in lymphocyte culture11.

The ethanolic extract from the bark administered orally to mice (0.5, 1 and 3 g/kg) did not cause evident toxicity signs or mortality.  The same extract applied daily during 90 days (100 mg/kg) induced a decrease in liver weight and hemoglobin levels, as well as an increase in the weight of reproductive organs, and in the number and mobility of spermatozoa24.

The aqueous extract from the bark (1%) administered orally to dogs caused irritation of gastric mucosa; the saline extract at 0.66% did not induce this reaction25.

The possibility of allergenic activity reactions may be developed through repeated applications in adults (contact dermatitis)26-27.

There is no available information documenting the safety of medicinal use in children or in pregnant or lactating women.

The bark has been widely studied and contains, among other components, essential oil (1-4%): cinnamic aldehyde (65-90%), eugenol (4-10%), caryophyllene, l-linalool, l-phellandrene, p-cymene, furfural, eugenol acetate, cinnamic acid and cinnamyl alcohol, methyl-eugenol, benzaldehyde, cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl-acetate; tannins, sugars, coumarins, gum, resins, diterpenes: cinnzeilanine and cinnzeilanol4-5.

Proximate analysis of 100 g of bark6: calories: 305; water: 11.8%; proteins: 3.1%; fat: 1.2%; carbohydrates: 80.6%; ash: 3.3%; calcium: 470 mg; thiamine: 0.02 mg; riboflavin: 0.07 mg; niacin: 0.7 mg.

The alcoholic extract from the bark showed anthelmintic activity in vitro against Ascaris lumbricoides7.

The alcoholic extract from the bark induced antinociceptive effects, by intraperitoneal administration in the acetic acid-induced contortion and hot plate models in mice.  In the xylene-induced ear edema model in mice and in the cotton-induced granuloma model in rats, it did not show any anti-inflammatory activity8.

The bark is claimed to have fungistatic, antibacterial9-10, nematocidal11-12 and anticonvulsive properties13-14.

In the tracheal smooth muscle (ED50 = 41 mg/L) and isolated ileum (ED50 = 12 mg/L) of guinea pig, the essential oil showed relaxant activity5.  The essential oil is claimed to be an antiviral, lipolytic, carminative, astringent, antiseptic4, antibacterial, fungistatic15, local anesthetic, cytotoxic in vitro against the leukemia L1210 cell line, estrogenic, relaxant on smooth muscle tissue16-18, prostaglandin synthesis inhibitor19, and repellent (diluted at 0.0125%)20.




1 CHARLES C, 1988 TRAMIL survey. Movement for Cultural Awareness MCA, Roseau, Dominica.

2 WENIGER B, ROUZIER M, 1986 Enquête TRAMIL. Service Oecuménique d'Entraide SOE, Port au Prince, Haïti.

3 GERMOSEN-ROBINEAU L, GERONIMO M, AMPARO C, 1984 Encuesta TRAMIL. enda-caribe, Santo Domingo, Rep. Dominicana.

4 LEUNG A, 1980 Encyclopedia of common natural ingredients used in food, drugs and cosmetics. Hoboken, USA: Wiley Interscience Publication.

5 NAMBA T, KIKUCHI T, MIKAGE M, KADOTA S, KOMATZU K, SHMIZU M, TOMIMORI T, 1987 Studies on the natural medicinal resources from Sri Lanka (1). On anatomical and chemical differences among each grade of Cinnamomi veri cortex. Shoyakugaku Zasshi 41(1):35-42.

6 DUKE JA, ATCHLEY AA, 1986 Handbook of proximate analysis tables of higher plants. Boca Raton, USA: CRC Press. p44.

7 RAJ RK, 1975 Screening of indigenous plants for antihelmintic action against human Ascaris lumbricoides: Part II. Indian J Physiol Pharmacol 19(1):47-49.

8 ATTA AH, ALKOFALI A, 1998 Anti-nociceptive and antiinflammatory effects of some Jordanian medicinal plant extracts. J Ethnopharmacol 60(2):117-124.

9 SHARMA A, GHANEKAR AS, PADWAL-DESAI SR, NADKARNI GB, 1984 Microbiological status and antifungal properties of irradiated spices. J Agric Food Chem 32(5):1061-1063.

10 GEORGE M, PETALAI K, 1949 Investigations on plant antibiotics. Part IV. Further search for antibiotic substances in Indian medicinal plants. Indian J Med Res 37:169-181.

11 NAMBA T, SAWA K, GEWALI MB, HATTORI M, NARUSE Y, KAGAMIMORI S, 1989 Studies on development of immunomodulating drugs (II). Effect of Ayurvedic medicines on blastogenesis of lymphocytes from mice. Shoyakugaku Zasshi 43(3):250-255.

12 KIUCHI F, NAKAMURA N, MIYASHITA N, NISHIZAWA S, TSUDA Y, KONDO K, 1989 Nematocidal activity of some anthelmintic traditional medicines and spices by a new assay method using larvae of Toxocara canis. Shoyakugaku Zasshi 43(4):279-287.

13 SUGAYA E, ISHIGE A, SEKIGUCHI K, IIZUKA S, SUGIMOTO A, YUZURIHARA M, HOSOYA E, 1988 Inhibitory effect of a mixture of herbal drugs TJ-960 (SK) on pentylenetetrazol-induced convulsions in mice. Epilepsy Res 2(5):337-339.

14 SUGAYA E, ISHIGE A, SEKIGUCHI K, IIZUKA S, ITO K, SUGIMOTO A, ABURANDA M, HOSOYA E, 1988 Inhibitory effect of TJ-960 (SK) on pentylenetetrazol-induced EEG power spectrum changes. Epilepsy Res 2(1):27-31.

15 RAHARIVELOMANANA PJ, TERROM GP, BIANCHINI JP, COULANGES P, 1989 Study of the antimicrobial action of various essential oil extracts from Madagascar plants. II. The Lauraceae. Arch Inst Pasteur Madagascar 56(1):261-271.

16 REITER M, BRANDT W, 1985 Relaxant effects of terpenoid on tracheal and ileal smooth muscles of the guinea pig. Arzneim-Forsch 35(1):408-414.

17 SUGAYA E, TSUDA T, SUGAYA E, USAMI M, TAKAMURA K, 1979 Local anaesthetic action of the Chinese medicine Saiko-Keishi-To. Planta Med 37:274-276.

18 HARRIES N, JAMES KC, PUGH WK, 1978 Antifoaming and carminative actions of volatile oil. J Clin Pharmacol 2:171-177.

19 WAGNER H, WIERER M, BAUER R, 1986 In vitro inhibition of prostaglandin biosynthesis by essential oils and phenolic compounds. Planta Med (3):184-187.

20 GUPTA M, 1987 Essential oil: a new source of bee repellents. Chem Ind (London) 5:161-163.

21 SIVASWAMY SN, BALACHANDRAN B, BALANEHRU S, SIVARAMAKRISHNAN VM, 1991 Mutagenic activity of south Indian food items. Indian J Exp Biol 29(8):730-737.

22 UNGSURUNGSIE M, SUTHIENKUL O, PAOVALO C, 1982 Mutagenicity screening of popular Thai species. Food Chem Toxicol 20(5):527-530.

23 UNGSURUNGSIE M, PAOVALO C, NAOANI A, 1984 Mutagenicity of extracts from Ceylon cinnamom in the rec (recombination) assay. Food Chem Toxicol 22(2):109-112.

24 SHAH AH, AL-SHARCEF AH, AGEEL AM, QURESHI S, 1998 Toxicity studies on mice of common species: Cinnamomum zeylanicum bark and Piper longum fruits. Plant Foods Hum Nutr 52(3):231-239.

25 SANCHEZ-PALOMERA E, 1951 Concept of the mucous barrier and its significance. Gastroenterology 18:269-286.

26 SEETHARAM K, PASRICHA J, 1987 Condiments and contact dermatitis of the finger-tips. Indian J Dermatol Venereol Leprol 53(6):325-328.

27 STAGER J, WUTHRICH B, JOHANSSON S, 1991 Spice allergy in celery-sensitive patients. Allergy 46(6):475-478.

28 World Health Organization, 1999 Cortex Cinnamomi. WHO monographs on selected medicinal plants. Vol. I. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO. p95-104.

29 GarcIa-GONZÁLEZ M, BARBOZA CJ, 2005 Toxicidad aguda dosis repetida, en ratones, del extracto acuoso (decocción) de las astillas de Cinnamomum verum . Informe TRAMIL.PRONAPLAMED. Depto de Fisiología, Escuela de Medicina, Universidad de Costa Rica, San Pedro, Costa Rica.


The information provided is for educational purposes only for the benefit of the general public and health professionals. It is not intended to take the place of either the written law or regulations. Since some parts of plants could be toxic, might induce side effects, or might have interactions with certain drugs, anyone intending to use them or their products must first consult with a physician or another qualified health care professional. TRAMIL has no responsibility whatsoever towards the user for any decision, action or omission made in relation to the information contained in this Pharmacopoeia.