The distinctive spice has been found to have a positive effect on the hippocampus, an area of the brain that generates, organises and stores memory.
Whether it’s used in baking, sprinkled on porridge or simply burned as a candle, the warming smell of cinnamon, can provide real comfort for many people.
However, new research suggests it could also help improve learning ability and memory.
Neurological scientists from Rush University Medical Centre in the US found feeding cinnamon to laboratory mice made them better learners and improved their memory.
The spice was metabolised into a compound called sodium benzoate, which is a chemical used as a drug treatment for brain damage. However, the added benefit was that it helped reverse biochemical, cellular and anatomical changes in the brain by stimulating the hippocampus, an area of the brain that deals with memory and learning.
Dr Kalipada Pahan, the lead researcher from Rush University said:
‘This would be one of the safest and easiest approaches to convert poor learners into good learners.
‘Understanding brain mechanisms that lead to poor learning is important to developing effective strategies to improve memory and learning ability.
What’s more, cinnamon isn’t just good for memory. It also helps to control blood sugar levels, preventing the blood sugar spikes and drops that can lead to tiredness, poor concentration and weight gain.
Cinnamon comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree, and most of it is harvested in Sri Lanka.
Try sprinkling some cinnamon on your porridge, adding it to some yogurt with some stewed fruit or even stirring some into your cup of coffee.
This study was published in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology.