The internet abounds with claims that this or that kitchen staple or household remedy can magically cure or improve your health. A May 2018 article published in Journal of the American College of Nutrition suggests that it’s no urban myth that cinnamon may help some rheumatoid arthritis patients, although experts caution against confusing it for a miracle cure.

Mahnaz Rezaeyan Safar, of Ahvaz Jundishapur University of Medical Sciences in Iran, and colleagues studied 36 women with rheumatoid arthritis in a randomized, double-blind trial. Each of two randomly assigned groups received four capsules daily for eight weeks; one group received placebo pills and the other got 500 mg of cinnamon powder.

Patients who took the cinnamon pills saw significant decreases in inflammation and clinical symptoms when compared with the placebo group. But when MedPage interviewed pharmacists about the study findings, they said more research was needed. “The study is too small to say the least and it only involved women … so who knows if it would help a man?” Tama Sawyer, of University of Kansas Health System, told MedPage. “Basically … no information from this study worthy of saying it helps or it doesn’t.”

Pharmacist Laura Shane-McWhorter, of University of Utah Health, warned that the researchers bought the cinnamon at a market in Iran, and more research is necessary about the impact that different kinds of cinnamon might have on treating RA symptoms. “It is not known what the most appropriate form is to use,” she told Medpage.

It’s always a good idea to ask your doctor before taking any herbs or supplements, as they can interact with medications and have unexpected side effects. For more information on how to lower inflammation naturally, check out these tips on following an anti-inflammatory diet.

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