Cinnamon is Used as Treatment for Herpes in Traditional Chinese Medicine

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A key formula in the treatment of herpes outbreaks in traditional Chinese medicine includes cinnamon. – (1)

Cinnamon has been used as a spice and as a traditional herbal treatment for centuries. The available evidence suggests that cinnamon is good for one’s health. It is anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, antiviral, antioxidant, anti-tumor, cardiovascular, cholesterol-lowering, and immune enhancing.

The bark is the only part of the plant that is used as a spice or for medical purposes, according to a study published in 2010 in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition (2). 

Traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM, views herpes outbreaks as an…imbalance in your qi (1).” According to Chinese medicine, Qi is your vital life energy. “Chinese herbal treatments work by combining different herbs together, rather than focusing on the effect of an individual herb. The herbs in a TCM formula work synergistically (harmoniously) to create a healing effect. One formula that a TCM doctor might recommend for herpes is a kudzu decoction, a popular formula that includes licorice, peony, ginger, jujube and cinnamon. The kudzu helps release any tightness in the body, while the other herbs increase circulation. In TCM terms, this formula is ideal for releasing infection (1).”

powdered cinnamon

Even traditional Western Medicine recognizes the antiviral nature of cinnamon. For example, cinnamon has been shown in studies to have an antiviral effect on HIV and herpes. The active, antiviral ingredient in cinnamon is called ‘Cinnzeylanine’ and it keeps the herpes virus from replicating.

As a study published in 2008 in the Journal of General Virology notes, “Cinnzeylanine inhibits the proliferation of herpes simplex virus type 1 in Vero cells (3).” Another study showed that cinnamon “was highly effective against HIV-1 and HIV-2 (4).” That study was published in 2000 in the Indian Journal of Medical Research.

The bottom line?

Cinnamon has been shown to have a wide range of antiviral properties.


(1)  Smith,M. “Chinese Herbal Herpes Treatment” Published on August 16, 2013.-

(2) Gruenwald J1, Freder J, Armbruester N. “Cinnamon and health.” Crit Rev Food Sci Nutr. 2010 Oct;50(9):822-34.

(3) Orihara Y1, Hamamoto H, Kasuga H, Shimada T, Kawaguchi Y, Sekimizu K. “A silkworm baculovirus model for assessing the therapeutic effects of antiviral compounds: characterization and application to the isolation of antivirals from traditional medicines.” J Gen Virol. 2008 Jan;89(Pt 1):188-94.

(4) Premanathan M1, Rajendran S, Ramanathan T, Kathiresan K, Nakashima H, Yamamoto N. “A survey of some Indian medicinal plants for anti-human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) activity.” Indian J Med Res. 2000 Sep;112:73-7.

(5) Hanan Polansky, Edan Itzkovitz “Gene-Eden-VIR Is Antiviral: Results of a Post Marketing Clinical Study” Vol.4 No.6A, September 2013


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