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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Anti-inflammatory activity of cinnamon water extract in vivo and in vitro LPS-induced models

Joung-Woo Hong1, Ga-Eun Yang1, Yoon Bum Kim2, Seok Hyun Eom3, Jae-Hwan Lew1 and Hee Kang1*

Author Affiliations

1 Graduate School of East–west Medical Science, Kyung Hee University, Yongin, Gyeonggi, 446-701, South Korea

2 College of Oriental Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, 130-701, South Korea

3 College of Life Science, Kyung Hee University, Yongin, Gyeonggi, 446-701, South Korea

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BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine 2012, 12:237  doi:10.1186/1472-6882-12-237

Published: 28 November 2012



Cinnamon bark is one of the most popular herbal ingredients in traditional oriental medicine and possesses diverse pharmacological activities including anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties. The goal of this study is to investigate the in vivo and in vitro inhibitory effect of cinnamon water extract (CWE) on lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α and its underlying intracellular mechanisms.


CWE was orally administrated to mice for 6 days prior to intraperitoneal injection of LPS. Serum levels of TNF-α and interleukin (IL)-6 were determined 1 hour after LPS stimulation. Peritoneal macrophages from thioglycollate-injected mice were isolated and assayed for viability, cytokine expression and signaling molecules upon LPS stimulation. CWE was further fractioned according to molecular size, and the levels of total polyphenols and biological activities of each fraction were measured.


The oral administration of CWE to mice significantly decreased the serum levels of TNF-α and IL-6. CWE treatment in vitro decreased the mRNA expression of TNF-α. CWE blocked the LPS-induced degradation of IκBα as well as the activation of JNK, p38 and ERK1/2. Furthermore, size-based fractionation of CWE showed that the observed inhibitory effect of CWE in vitro occurred in the fraction containing the highest level of total polyphenols.


Treatment with CWE decreased LPS-induced TNF-α in serum. In vitro inhibition of TNF-α gene by CWE may occur via the modulation of IκBα degradation and JNK, p38, and ERK1/2 activation. Our results also indicate that the observed anti-inflammatory action of CWE may originate from the presence of polyphenols.

Cinnamon; Anti-inflammatory activity; TNF-α; Signaling; Polyphenols