Innovation Blog

A Cure for Alzheimer’s?  From the Bible to the Drugstore Shelf

By Shlomo Maital

   A new study led by Prof. Michael Ovadia, Dept. of Zoology, Tel Aviv U., isolated an ingredient of cinnamon (CEppt) and used it on mice raised with five aggressive strains of Alzheimer’s-inducing genes. 

   The results, published in PLoS ONE scientific journal, were impressive.    “Fed drinking water containing a CEppt solution over four months, researchers found that the disease’s development was delayed, with additional trials showing that existing amyloids has been dissolved.”   (Amyloids are the sticky proteins that gum up the brain, in those who have Alzheimer’s).   This may eventually result in an Alzheimer’s drug.

   Speaking today on Israeli television (Channel 1), Professor Ovadia revealed the source of his idea that cinnamon could be therapeutic.

   “As a youth I took part in a Bible quiz.  One of the questions nearly stumped me. The question was, what spices were used by the High Priests in the Holy Temple?  That was tough.  I finally remembered, one of them was cinnamon. And then, ever since, I kept wondering – why cinnamon?  What properties does cinnamon have that made it suitable for use by the High Priests?  I tried to grasp the logic.  I thought, well, the High Priests do the sacrifices of animals, animals have many pathogens, maybe the cinnamon protects them from the pathogens of animals.  So we tested cinnamon, but it did not prove anti-pathogenic.  But as we continued our research, we did find it has anti-Alzheimer’s properties!”  

   By the way, the Bible passage about cinnamon is Exodus 30:23:  “Take the following fine spices: 500 shekels of liquid myrrh, half as much (that is, 250 shekels) of fragrant cinnamon, 250 shekels of fragrant cane…”

   Prof. Ovadia says he and his students now drink a cup of tea daily, with a cinnamon stick inside