The Egyptians, the Chinese and ancient Europeans used to use the brown bark of the cinnamon tree for its anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and even food preservation properties. Recent studies have shown how cinnamon can have a direct effect on many kinds of cancer, including breast cancer.
What is in cinnamon that makes it such a cancer healer?
Cinnamon contains an extraordinary amount of cancer-healing substances within it; cinnamaldehyde is probably the most studied substance within this warming herb. It has demonstrated its antiproliferative (anti-cancer) properties in quite a few studies, especially when it comes to lung and colon cancer. A 2015 study conducted by the University of Arizona found that cinnamaldehyde in Cassia cinnamon suppressed colorectal cancer metastasis through inhibiting inflammatory responses which help cancer cells to grow. Other studies have found cinnamaldehyde to have an effect on liver cancer cells. Studies have also shown that cinnamaldehyde prohibits the mechanisms of VEGF, or vascular endothelial growth factor, a major contributor to cancer cell growth.
In addition, cinnamon contains the phenylpropene, eugenol, which has proven its healing abilities on breast cancer cells. According to a 2013 study conducted by the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center in Saudi Arabia, the eugenol in cinnamon inhibited the substance Survivin in various kinds of breast cancer cell lines. Survivin is produced by cancer cells to help them avoid normally-occurring cellular death. Essential oils of clary sage, holy basil and clove also contain high levels of eugenol.
Finally, cinnamon contains the phytoestrogen coumarin, which may also have a positive effect on breast cancer growth and metastasis. Contrary to popular belief, naturally-occurring phytoestrogens do not need to be avoided when one is healing or wanting to prevent breast cancer. In fact, the phytoestrogens found in flax and pumpkin seeds, as well as in cinnamon, provide mild forms of estrogen which can help reduce estrogen-positive breast cancer tumors or prevent them from ever developing in the first place.
Phytoestrogens attach to cellular receptors within the mammary glands, replacing more “aggressive” xenoestrogens (or chemically-created estrogen “mimics”) with milder, naturally-sourced mimics. Xenoestrogens are the main culprit in the vast majority of estrogen-positive breast cancers diagnosed each year.
Going along with cinnamaldehyde and eugenol’s cancer-culling effect are the detoxification properties of fiber, calcium and manganese that cinnamon provides. Fiber and key essential minerals can add to cancer prevention, especially from colon cancer.
Other Healing Properties of Cinnamon
The properties found in cinnamon have other benefits too. As a super-antioxidant, cinnamaldehyde has the ability to chelate metals from the body. A comprehensive review conducted by the MD Anderson Cancer Center in Texas also found that the nutraceuticals in cinnamon were neuroprotectant and should be studied further for its benefits for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s patients
“Research over the last 10 years has indicated that nutraceuticals derived from such spices as turmeric, red pepper, black pepper, licorice, clove, ginger, garlic, coriander, and cinnamon target inflammatory pathways, thereby may prevent neurodegenerative diseases,” the report stated.
Finally, cinnamon is a known blood-glucose stabilizer, as demonstrated by several studies. Cinnamon supplementation is often recommended by natural health practitioners for help with Type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon has been a healing herb in Asia and elsewhere for thousands of years and new scientific evidence is proving its cancer-healing and prevention power along several fronts. Now every time you sprinkle some on this delicious spice on a warm beverage or food, you will know that you are heading in the right direction and towards a healthy, vibrant, cancer-free life!
written by Dr. Veronique Desaulniers