The distinct aroma and flavor of cinnamon not only helps rejuvenate people, but might also help save a patient from colon cancer, a team of researchers claims. During a study, the researchers found that cinnamaldehyde -- the compound that gives cinnamona its distinct flavor -- protected mice from colorectal cancer.

The research team observed that upon consumption of cinnamaldehyde, the cells in the body of the mice were able to protect themselves against potential carcinogens with the help of repair and detoxification. Donna Zhang, co-author of the University of Arizona study, said the findings are important and significant. The team believes the findings can help develop an effective strategy against colorectal cancer, which is often fatal.

“Given cinnamon’s important status as the third most-consumed spice in the world, there’s relatively little research on its potential health benefits,” researcher Georg Wondrak said. “If we can ascertain the positive effects of cinnamon, we would like to leverage this opportunity to potentially improve the health of people around the globe.”

The research team now plans to find out whether cinnamon -- in its pure form, instead of cinnamaldehyde -- can be used to treat colorectal cancer. Because cinnamon is a common food additive, the researchers believe it can potentially help curb the rate of colorectal cancer cases diagnosed every year across the globe.

The complete study has been published in the journal Cancer Prevention Research.