Cinnamon is a popular spice, and now it is being reported that it can play a significant role in battling Parkinson’s disease. According to a new study from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, the spice has a chemical which can protect the brain from the degenerative brain disorder.
“Cinnamon has been used widely as a spice throughout the world for centuries,” said lead researcher and Floyd A. Davis professor of neurology at Rush, Kalipada Pahan, PhD, in a statement. “This could potentially be one of the safest approaches to halt disease progression in Parkinson’s patients.”
How does cinnamon protect the brain? A chemical compound that is used for treating neural disorders is sodium benzoate and when processing spice, the human liver turns the cinnamon into the compound. In the study, which was recently published in the June 20 issue of the Journal of Neuroimmune Pharmacology, the team of researchers studied mice to find that sodium benzoate enters the brain and prevents it from degenerating.
“Cinnamon is metabolized in the liver to sodium benzoate, which is an FDA-approved drug used in the treatment for hepatic metabolic defects associated with hyperammonemia,” explains Pahan. “It is also widely used as a food preservative due to its microbiocidal effect.”