Intriguing Cinnamon’s Incredible Benefits
If you are one of those with a penchant for those sinfully rich delectable chocolates, cakes, pies , rolls ,desserts, milkshakes and blends including liqueurs, hot cocoa, tea, and spicy candies all made with a dash of cinnamon, then we have some amazing piece of information for you. Do you know that this universal spice with its subtle aromatic fragrance, offers a world of goodness for health? Read on to find out more about its curative properties…
Brief Description – What is Cinnamon?
One of the oldest of spices cinnamon known as Cinnamonum verum in scientific terms is the bark of a short tree resembling a rolled cigar. Despite the availability of a number of varieties the Chinese cinnamon or Cinnamomun aromaticum, and the Ceylon cinnamon called Cinnamonum zeylanicum are most popular varieties. Cassia, the Chinese variety, is grown commercially in Vietnam, Indonesia and China, whiles the Ceylon cinnamon, native to Sri Lanka, is the ‘true cinnamon’. With identical characteristics, these two types of cinnamon emit a sweet aromatic fragrance although the Ceylon cinnamon consisting of a mild subtle fragrance and taste is a better variety of the two. Available throughout the year in the form of rolls or quills these cinnamons are also available in the form of powder.
Cinnamon – A Medicinal Spice
Cinnamon for Cognitive Development and Function
Inhaling Cinnamon helps increase brain activity thereby playing the role of an effective brain stimulant to perfection. The spice also helps eliminate nervous tension enables motor coordination, improves memory, attentiveness and encouraged speedy visual motor skills along with astonishing rapid information processing abilities.
Potent Antioxidant Properties of Cinnamon
Cinnamon contains potent antioxidant substances such as vanillin, proanthocyanidins, phenol, myrcene, methyl-eugenol, mannitol, linalyl-acetate, isoeugenol, gamma-terpinene, epicatechin, coumaric acid and camphene caffeic acid. Attributed to its antioxidant properties for most of the benefits cinnamon, protects the body from oxidative stress preventing the formation of free radicals. (Know what are free radicals)
Cinnamon for Diabetes
According to several surveys, Cinnamon contains glutathione, an antioxidant and methylhydroxy chalcone polymer (MHCP) that has a positive effect on blood sugar levels and pre-diabetic syndrome. Intake of less than a couple of teaspoons of cinnamon a day showed marked improvement in productivity of insulin with enhanced glucose metabolism. In addition, the spice showed difference in pre diabetic metabolic syndrome with improved blood sugar levels. The spice contains certain substances, which inhibit certain enzymes that make insulin receptors inactive enabling better insulin stimulation thereby elevating the ability of the cells to utilise glucose.
Anti Blood Clotting Effects of Cinnamon
According to Research, cinnamic aldehyde or Cinnamaldehyde has favourable effects on blood platelets. In certain circumstances as in the case of physical injury, there is a clumping of blood platelets to stop the bleeding. However, with increased platelet clumping, it results in inadequate blood flow. The cinnamic aldehyde or Cinnamaldehyde substances present in cinnamon nevertheless impede the platelet membranes production of arachidonic acid, an inflammatory fatty acid by preventing the creation of thromboxane A2 an inflammatory messaging particle thus protecting unwanted clumping of platelets in the blood.
Cinnamon Enhances Circulatory Health
Cinnamon contains specific blood thinning substances that enhance circulatory health thereby reducing pain enabling sufficient blood supply to the body cells and tissues. This results in reducing the risk of cardiac related problems.
Cinnamon Stabilises Cholesterol Levels
Including half teaspoon of cinnamon in everyday diet helped lower LDL or bad cholesterol without making any changes in HDL or good cholesterol levels. However, cinnamon also helped decrease total cholesterol and triglycerides levels thus preventing the possibility of cardiovascular diseases.
Cinnamon Fortifies Cardiovascular System
The presence of fibre and calcium in cinnamon protect the cardiovascular system prevent cardiac related ailments. Adding cinnamon in small quantities gives relief to those suffering from Hypertension and coronary artery disease.
Effects of Cinnamon on Cancer Cells
Research conducted by U.S Agriculture Department indicates that cinnamon helps prevent spread of lymphoma and leukaemia cells. Furthermore, Cinnamon containing a healthy combo of calcium and fibre prevent colon cancer by attaching themselves to the bile salt and eliminating specific cancer causing bile salts that destroy the colon cells.
Cinnamon for Digestive Health
Cinnamon is one of the ingredients used in traditional medicine for treating digestive related ailments. Certain constituents in cinnamon like the catechins alleviate nausea and help break down the body fats to enable better digestive health. Owing to its carminative compounds, cinnamon combats morning sickness, vomiting, diarrhoea, acidity, stomach puffiness, bloating and flatulence expelling gas from the intestines. Hence, adding a small piece of cinnamon stick to a rich dish besides adding an aromatic flavour will also aid good digestion. As a healthy alternative, sip a cup of tea with a dash of honey and cinnamon half an hour before meals to stimulate digestive juices.
Antifungal and Antibacterial Effects of Cinnamon
Research indicates that cinnamon loaded with antifungal and antibacterial substances, inhibits the bacteria causing UTI (urinary tract infections) and the fungus, Candida albicans, responsible for producing yeast infections. The spice is also effective against ulcer causing bacteria known as Helicobacter pylori.
Cinnamon Alleviates Arthritic Pain/ Inflammation
An inflammatory agent, Cinnamon helps alleviate cytokines correlated with arthritis pain. According to some people, massaging cinnamon oil provides relief from pain, whereas a few others swear by a cup of cinnamon tea for reducing painful symptoms.
Cinnamon Prevents Risk of Osteoporosis
According to various studies, abundant in manganese, cinnamon encourages bone metabolism and health along with other connective tissues. Hence, regular intake of cinnamon prevents the risk of developing osteoporosis, which normally occurs due to a deficiency in manganese.
Cinnamon for Premenstrual Syndrome and Menstrual Cramps
For ages, cinnamon containing healing properties has been helpful for women suffering from heavy menstrual flow caused due to either menorrhagia, adenomyosis, uterine fibroids or endometriosis. Endowed with curative properties cinnamon is beneficial for women suffering from irregular menstruation and severe menstrual cramps. Cinnamon loaded with manganese, helps relieve symptoms of premenstrual syndrome such as irritability, cramps and mood swings and prevents discharges from the vagina.
Cinnamons Role as a Natural Diuretic
Due to the healthy substances present in cinnamon, it plays the role of a natural diuretic enabling free secretion, flushing out urine effectively.
Cinnamon Prevents the Temptation to Smoke
Chewing cinnamon barks helps quit smoking without any hassles preventing the urge for use of tobacco.
Cinnamon is a Natural Food Preservative
For specific kinds of food, Cinnamon acts as a natural food preservative, preventing rotting and growth of bacteria. This is mainly due to the volatile oils present in cinnamon, endowed with antimicrobial substances.
Cinnamon Is a Warming Remedy for Respiratory Disorders
The medicinal spice, cinnamon enhances resistance to combat winter chills and common cold. Consuming a hot drink with cinnamon relieves internal congestion, precipitates perspiration thus preventing symptoms of common cold and influenza. Cinnamon is an excellent remedy for fever and alleviates increase in body temperature, internal bronchial congestion and other disorder linked to respiratory tract.
Cinnamon Treats Tooth Decay and Combats Bad Breath
Cinnamon is one of the main ingredients used in the manufacturing of toothpastes. This is because Cinnamon is effective for treating tooth decay, toothache and eliminates bad breath. Chewing small pieces of cinnamon or gargling water combined with cinnamon acts as an excellent mouthwash and freshener.
Cinnamon for Nursing Mothers
Cinnamon helps secretion of milk in nursing mothers thus promoting optimal health in newborn babies.
Cinnamon Treats Insect Bites
Paste of Cinnamon combined with honey helps treat insect bites
Cinnamon Precipitates Healing Of Wounds and Cuts
Before putting a bandage, Wash the areas affected with wounds and cuts thoroughly before dabbing on cinnamon powder. This precipitates healing.
Other Uses and Benefits of Cinnamon
Top to Toe Treatment with Cinnamon
- Used in cosmetics since olden times, cinnamon, loaded with antioxidants delays ageing.
- The essential vitamins and nutrient content in cinnamon keep the skin and hair healthy, making them attractive.
- Cinnamon is most suitable for combination and oily skin. The spice imparts a glowing smooth skin by minimising the pores of the skin.
- Since cinnamon enhances overall circulatory health it improves the blood circulation on the scalp strengthens the hair follicles and provides dense hair growth.
- Make a footbath by mixing half-cup water with quarter cup milk, juice of five lemons, a tablespoon of olive oil and two tablespoons of cinnamon for immersing tired feet for fifteen minutes. This not only treats tired feet but also helps remove calluses and makes the skin smooth.
Uses of Cinnamon At Home
- Placing a bowl of ground cinnamon emits a sweet fragrance and works well as a room freshener
- Spraying cinnamon oil blended with water at home eliminates odours and foul smell and helps chase away the germs
- Half cups each of whole peppercorns and cloves mixed along with cinnamon barks tied on to a small square piece of cloth and hung on the closet keeps moths at bay.
- Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, which helps repel and eliminate mosquitoes.
- Cinnamon leaf oil containing potent antimicrobial substances is effective for dispelling cockroaches, dust mites, bed bugs, and controls head lice and ants.
- Sprinkling Cinnamon around garden plants destroys and prevents formation of mould
Uses of Cinnamon in the Kitchen
- Dusting powdered cinnamon on the stovetop emanates a sweet fragrance wafting through the kitchen and acts as an incense
- Storing potatoes is very simple with cinnamon, which comes in handy. Sprinkling cinnamon on potatoes prevents sprouting keeping them fresh as new.
- Enjoy the delightful aroma of brewing coffee by adding a few barks of cinnamon in the coffee grounds before brewing.
Do You Know…?
- Before the introduction of refrigerator, Cinnamon made an excellent preservative for storing meats.
- Cinnamon was incense burned in temples
- The Egyptians used Cinnamon for embalming
- Various religions used cinnamon for communication with focussed mind and for prophesying
- Tied on to talismans as love potion cinnamon made a lucky charm
- Cinnamon built many empires
- In the eighteenth century, the Dutch monopolised the cinnamon trade
A Word of Caution
Avoid using cinnamon barks as medicinal doses if….
- Lactating or pregnant
- Suffering from ulcers