Cinnamon and cognitive function: a systematic review of preclinical and clinical studies

Cinnamon is the inner bark of trees named Cinnamomum. Studies have shown that cinnamon and its bioactive compounds can influence brain function and affect behavioral characteristics. This study aimed to systematically review studies about the relationship between cinnamon and its key components in memory and learning. Two thousand six hundred five studies were collected from different databases (PubMed, Scopus, Google Scholar, and Web of Science) in September 2021 and went under investigation for eligibility. As a result, 40 studies met our criteria and were included in this systematic review.

Among the included studies, 33 were In vivo studies, five were In vitro, and two clinical studies were also accomplished. The main outcome of most studies (n = 40) proved that cinnamon significantly improves cognitive function (memory and learning). In vivo studies showed that using cinnamon or its components, such as eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, and cinnamic acid, could positively alter cognitive function. In vitro studies also showed that adding cinnamon or cinnamaldehyde to a cell medium can reduce tau aggregation, Amyloid β and increase cell viability. For clinical studies, one study showed positive effects, and another reported no changes in cognitive function.

Most studies reported that cinnamon might be useful for preventing and reducing cognitive function impairment. It can be used as an adjuvant in the treatment of related diseases. However, more studies need to be done on this subject.