Over the years cinnamon has been used for different dishes, desserts, as a flavoring and in herbal medicine, but does it improve learning and memory? Various studies have discovered that it provides cognitive benefits and anti-inflammatory, anticancer and immunomodulatory properties. Some research shows it potentially has neuroprotective effects, including against Alzheimer’s disease.
A compound in cinnamon known as cinnamaldehyde, for example, has been shown to inhibit the buildup of amyloid beta plaques in the brain, a key sign of Alzheimer’s disease. Further study of the potential cognitive benefits could help in the development of preventive strategies for cognitive decline.
Researchers recently conducted a meta-analysis of 40 studies investigating the effects of cinnamon on cognitive function. They found that cinnamon significantly improves cognitive function, described as learning and memory.
How does cinnamon help cognitive function?
For the study, the researchers analyzed 40 studies detailing the relationship between cinnamon and cognitive function. For analysis, they included two clinical studies, five in vitro studies, and 33 in vivo studies (i.e., looking at living organisms, such as humans, rodents, or other animals), including 17 with rats, 15 with mice, and one with the fruit housefly. To begin, the researchers looked at studies involving cinnamon extract or powder.
In a clinical study, researchers found that chewing cinnamon gum for 40 days positively affected memory in adolescents. However, the other clinical study reported no significant changes in memory when taken orally.
Most studies found that it positively affected learning and memory.
“In vivo studies showed that the use of cinnamon or its components, such as eugenol, cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, could positively alter cognitive function,” scientists Samaneh Nakhaee and Alireza Kooshki noted in a publication.
In addition, they added that in vitro studies have also shown that adding cinnamon to a cellular medium can reduce tay beta amyloid aggregation that is associated with the development of Alzheimer’s, as well as increase cell viability.