This Common Spice May Help Fight Infections

Find out why cinnamon may come in handy outside the kitchen.

Over the last several generations, a large number of bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, leading the World Health Organization to say "this is one of the biggest threats to global health, food security, and development today." Given the severity of this crisis, researchers are looking for alternative ways to effectively fight infections and prevent the spread of disease.

Enter: cinnamon. Dr. Sanjida Topa and her team at Swinburne University of Technology in Australia have begun investigating all-natural remedies and have focused their attention on cinnamon because studies have shown that the essential oil version may have antimicrobial properties. They were particularly focusing on cinnamaldehyde (CAD), the part of cinnamon oil that gives it its taste and smell. Their findings suggest that CAD can help break down biofilms, which are the sticky layers (think dental plaque) that are part of infections that medications can't break through and destroy. 

To start, they took a bacterium specifically responsible for infections in patients with compromised immunity and found that CAD was able to break down the biofilms of this bacteria in over seventy-five percent of cases. While more research is required to determine the extent to which cinnamon can play a role in fighting infections, in the meantime it can't hurt to add a spoonful to your morning coffee, oatmeal, or smoothie. 


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