Phytoequivalence of Therapeutic Cinnamon Barks and Extracts with Low Coumarin Levels
24 October 2017 (online)
Past research has demonstrated that extracts of cinnamon increase insulin activity, enhance glucose breakdown and improve blood sugar concentrations1; benefit women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome2; are traditionally used for indigestion, nausea and diarrhoea3. Of the four main cinnamon sources (Cinnamomum cassia, C. verum, C. burmani and C. loureiroi) only the first two are approve for use in listed (low-risk) medicines in Australia. More recently the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA) has limited coumarin to a maximum of 0.001% in any finished products containing cinnamon. Barks can contain up to10,000 ppm coumarin hence additional steps in manufacture are now required to minimise this component. Production steps employed by some cinnamon manufacturers to produce low coumarin extracts meeting TGA requirements have severely impacted on the procyanidin profile and levels. Sourcing cinnamon bark extracts that now meet both the current coumarin restrictions with phytoequivalence of original cinnamon bark extracts used in existing commercial products has become problematic.
We have explored the use of DNA barcoding, volatiles (including coumarin) composition and HPTLC as a means of authenticating cinnamon raw materials. The limitations of these approaches will be highlighted and contrasted to a simplified LC-MS approach, using a suite of procyanidin dimers, trimers and tetramers that appears to provide a useful analytical approach for identity and quality control. A more advanced LC-MS approach following thiolytic degradation of procyanidins provides additional detailed compositional information to ensure phytoequivalence from source to finished products.
 Anderson, RA, Broadhurst, CL, Polansky, MM, Schmidt, WF, Khan, A, Flanagan, VP, Schoene, NW and Graves, DJ. J Agric Food Chem 2004, 52: 65 – 70.
 Kort, DH and Lobo RA. Am J Obstet Gynecol 2014:487.e1 – 6.
 Cortex Cinnamomi. In WHO Monographs on Selected Medicinal Plants. Vol. 1. World Health Organization, Geneva, 1999.