Just smelling cinnamon enhances cognitive processing and memory

cinnamon-73778_640Cinnamon improves the body’s ability to regulate blood sugar and this aromatic spice also boosts brain activity. Research shows that just smelling cinnamon enhances cognitive processing and cinnamon has been shown to improve scores on tasks related to attention, memory and visual-motor speed.

Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the bark of Cinnamomum verum tree.  Since antiquity it has had many uses.  Moses included it as an ingredient of the holy anointing oil. The Chinese knew it as Gui Zhi and recommended it for its antibacterial and antipyretic properties. Medieval physicians included cinnamon in their preparations to treat arthritis and infections. The widespread use of willow tree bark for these ailments was still a thousand years into the future.

Cinnamon is metabolized into sodium benzoate. Eating cinnamon significantly elevates the level of sodium benzoate in your brain. A recent report in the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology by researchers from Rush University Medical School in Chicago found that sodium benzoate has many important positive effects upon brain function and that eating cinnamon may prevent a variety of age-related neurological disorders. How?

The sodium benzoate produced in the body after eating cinnamon induces significant increases in the levels of a variety of chemicals in the brain called neurotrophic factors. These factors stimulate the birth of new neurons in the brain and encourage the survival of existing neurons.  These two processes are critical for the maintenance of a healthy brain. During the past decade many scientific studies have discovered that these neurotrophic factors can prevent, or greatly slow the progression of, a variety of degenerative diseases of the brain, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.

Translating this knowledge has been a challenge because it is not easy to get neurotrophic factors into the brain; they do not cross the blood brain barrier and are quite unstable in the body. Thus, simply taking a pill containing neurotrophic factors is not an option.  A far better option is to induce the production of these factors within the brain by administering another drug that is safe and tasty- cinnamon. Cinnamon has also been shown to reduce blood sugar levels in people with type II diabetes and reduce cholesterol levels by up to 25%. Thus, cinnamon is good for your brain and body.

Source:Psychology Today

Leave a Reply