Pain, stiffness, and swelling are only some of the symptoms adults with rheumatoid arthritis have to endure. This autoimmune condition has been shown to affect women three times more often than men.1
Among anti-inflammatory herbs that could potentially help manage rheumatoid arthritis naturally, cinnamon is a particularly promising option. It is the herb's cinnamaldehyde, antioxidants, and polyphenolic compounds that are believed to be behind its medicinal potential.
The aim of this study was to assess the benefits of cinnamon for rheumatoid arthritis in women, particularly their disease activity, levels of inflammatory markers, and cardiovascular risk factors.
Participants in this double-blind, 8-week clinical trial were 36 women with rheumatoid arthritis. Once they were split to two groups, researchers assigned different regimens to each group.
One group was to take four capsules of 500 mg of cinnamon powder per day, while the other group was instructed to take four capsules a day containing the placebo.
A number of parameters – such as inflammation markers, lipid profiles, blood pressure, and symptom severity – were measured before and at the end of the trial.
After eight weeks of treatment, inflammation markers (namely, serum levels of C-reactive protein and tumor necrosis factors-alpha) were significantly reduced in women taking cinnamon supplements, but not in those taking the placebo.
Additionally, those participants showed substantial reductions in diastolic blood pressure, Disease Activity Score, Visual Analogue Scale score, and tender and swollen joints counts.
Researchers observed no major improvements in other measured parameters, such as fasting blood glucose, lipid profile, liver enzymes, and erythrocyte sedimentation rate.
What Does this Mean?
As seen by the results of this trial, cinnamon supplementation can improve inflammation and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
Taking into consideration cinnamon's low price, wide availability, and lack of side effects, this study gives hope to rheumatoid arthritis sufferers, whether they use it as a sole natural treatment or in conjunction with prescribed regimens.
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition, Cinnamon Consumption Improves Clinical Symptoms and Inflammatory Markers in Women with Rheumatoid Arthritis, 2018
- International Journal of Preventive Medicine. (2014). Beneficial role of antioxidants on clinical outcomes and erythrocyte antioxidant parameters in rheumatoid arthritis patients. Retrieved March 3, 2021 from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25104994/