A preliminary study out of Touro College in New York suggests that household cinnamon may possess antiviral effects and help prevent infection in humans. 

According to a news release, Dr. Milton Schiffenbauer, of the New York School of Career and Applied Studies, a division of Touro College & University System, and his team compared Saign and Ceylon cinnamons to other botanic extracts including onion, cloves, peppermint, cocoa and Spanish saffron.

While cinnamon appeared to deactivate viruses in some organisms, the other extracts did not.

Researchers evaluated the extracts against Phi X, a virus that infects bacteria and shares various similarities to viruses that infect animals and humans. After 24 hours of incubation, an extract with 10 percent cinnamon deactivated 99.9 percent to 100 percent of the virus following only 10 minutes of intermittent mixing, according to the news release.

Schiffenbauer said in the news release that his colleagues’ findings suggest that cinnamon extract has the power to damage the structure of the PhiX virus.

“The results validates (sic) our belief that a diet that includes a tablespoon of cinnamon once or twice a day can be effective in eliminating or preventing viruses from infecting humans and causing sickness, such as colds, flu, and even herpes,” he said.

Schiffenbauer and his team will present their preliminary findings at the American Society for Microbiology Annual Meeting.