These days, most of us would rather get our hands on 24 karats gold instead of 24 ounces of cinnamon, it turns out that this aromatic tree bark could be more valuable than gold, especially when it comes to health benefits.
Let’s take a look at one of the oldest spices in the world: cinnamon. Cinnamon is not just a spice but has been used as medicine by many ancient cultures. Chinese and Ayurveda revered cinnamon as a super power to treat common ailments like cold, indigestion, also believed to improve energy and vitality.
Cinnamon has very high level of protective antioxidant and it’s one of the most beneficial spices on earth. Cinnamon benefits can be derived by using the bark or stick (boiling in water and drinking), in powdered form, essential oil or in extract form.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF CINNAMON
- ANTI MICROBIAL
Cinnamon has been shown in research studies to stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the common yeast candida. The anti-microbial properties in cinnamon are so effective that recent research demonstrates it can be used to preserve food for longer periods.
Cinnamon is loaded with a number of protective antioxidants that slows the aging process. Somebody say Amen.
Cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin which thins the blood, because of this it may reduce the risk of stroke and heart disease. The drug Coumadin is a coumarin derivative. Coumarin in cinnamon may increase the effect of the anti-coagulant drug Coumadin leading to uncontrolled bleeding. People taking prescription Coumadin should avoid excessive consumption of cinnamon.
- BLOOD SUGAR REGULATION
Seasoning a high carb food with cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals thereby reducing the rise in blood sugar that is usually experience after eating. Cinnamon may lower blood sugar by about 24% by reducing insulin resistance which is particularly beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
- BOOSTS BRAIN FUNCTION
Smelling cinnamon is said to increase brain activity. Research led by Dr P Zoladz presented in April 2004 at the annual meeting of the association for chemoreception sciences found that smelling cinnamon enhanced the cognitive processing of study participants.
- ALZHEIMER PREVENTION
An extract found in the bark of cinnamon called CEppt contains properties that can inhibit the development of Alzheimer a disease which is said to affect one in eight Americans over the age of 65. Prof. Michael Ovadia of the dept. of zoology at Tel Aviv University conducted a research along with others that showed CEppt was able to inhibit the development and progression of Alzheimer.
- LOWERS CHOLESTEROL
Studies have shown that taking half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day can lower the bad cholesterol- LDL by about 18%. Therefore, it promotes heart health.
Cinnamon is said to have anti-inflammatory properties therefore may help lower the risk of heart disease, pain management beneficial for people with arthritis and other inflammatory conditions.
Researchers have identified seven flavonoid compounds in cinnamon which are highly effective at fighting dangerous levels of inflammation in the body.
- HIGH IN NUTRIENTS
Cinnamon contains trace mineral manganese, fiber, iron and calcium. The combination of calcium and fiber improves colon health and protect against heart disease.
- MAY LOWER CANCER RISK
This is in part due to its antioxidant abilities. A compound in cinnamon: cinnamadehyde may inhibit tumor growth and encourage cancerous cells to self-destruct.
- FIGHTS INFECTIONS AND VIRUSES
Cinnamon is natural antimicrobial, antibiotic, antifungal and antiviral agent.
- DENTAL HEALTH/BREATH FRESHNER
Cinnamon oil may help prevent dental cavities, according to a study published in the December 2011 issue of the journal “Acta Biomedica.” In the test tube study, cinnamon proved nearly twice as effective against Streptococcus mutans, a bacterium that leads to dental plaque formation, as clove oil, which has been used widely as an oral antiseptic and pain reliever. Cinnamon oil was also more effective as a broad-spectrum antibiotic against 10 different species of bacteria that cause dental cavities. Researchers concluded that cinnamon oil shows greater potential for promoting oral health than even clove oil.
- SKIN HEALTH
Combination of honey and cinnamon applied to the skin are beneficial for acne, rosacea and skin allergies.
- CAN BE USED TO SWEETEN RECIPES
Cinnamon, especially Ceylon cinnamon has a natural sweet taste. You will naturally use less sugar if you add cinnamon to recipes requiring sugar.
- FOOD PRESERVATIVE
A less known benefit of cinnamon partly due to its anti-bacterial abilities. A recent study reported that when pectin from fruit was coated with cinnamon leaf extract it yielded high antioxidant and antibacterial activities and stayed fresh for longer.
The 2 types of cinnamon:
Chinese and Ceylon cinnamon.
The Chinese cinnamon also called cassia is native to China and Indonesia has a pungent aroma and taste. The quill or stick of the Chinese cinnamon is very hard and hollow.
The Ceylon cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka and is known as true cinnamon. It has a sweet aroma and taste, the quills are much softer, feel thin and flaky and you can easily unlike the Chinese cinnamon break them with your fingers. Both Cinnamon is available as sticks (quill) or powder. Ceylon cinnamon is much more expensive than cassia which is more common.
The health benefits are about the same but one contains a higher amount of coumarin.
Why is Ceylon cinnamon marketed as having superior health benefits?
This is due to its ultra-low levels of the chemical coumarin. Coumarin is an anti-coagulant. An anti-coagulant thins the blood. (Think coumadin, the drug of a similar name which is a blood thinner).
CASSIA CINNANON RISK
Cassia contains approximately 1% coumarin, while Ceylon contains only 0.004%, or 250 times less. This is so low that it’s often undetectable Exceeding the upper limit for coumarin is only possible if you are consuming a lot of Cassia
For example, the median lethal dose of coumarin is set at 275 mg/kg of body weight. In addition, there is only .31g – 6.97 g of coumarin in each kg of Cassia cinnamon. This means that for my size, I would have to ingest at least 3 kilograms of Cassia cinnamon in a single day to be in any danger.
The risk for any damage to the liver with normal consumption of cassia cinnamon is negligible, unless you plan to consume excessively large amounts every single day.
What’s more, according to Medscape, the numerous research studies on cinnamon benefits for glycemic control for those with Type 2 Diabetes show the most favorable data for Cassia cinnamon varieties, not Ceylon, or “true” cinnamon.
I personally use both Ceylon and cassia cinnamon. The major reason I use a lot of Ceylon stick cinnamon is I drink cinnamon nearly every day and I find the sweet taste of Ceylon more appealing than cassia. In the powder form I’m less picky, I add cassia powder to my garri swallow. I have been consuming cinnamon for about 16 years now with no more than 2-3 weeks break in between. I make ciinamon drink with boiled cinnamon sticks, I add the powder to my oatmeal, garri swallow, pap, honey. If i accidentally cut myself I bleed normally SO ALL THESE YEARS OF TAKING CINNAMON HAS NOT AFFECTED MY BLOOD CLOTTING FACTOR.
HOW TO ENJOY
Cinnamon powder can be added to your tea or coffee. You can also boil the sticks and drink it as cinnamon tea with a little lemon and honey. You can replace that butter or jelly on your bread with a mixture of honey and cinnamon powder and use it as a spread on your bread.
Add one part of honey to two part of lukewarm water with one teaspoon of cinnamon to insect bite to relief the itch and pain. Incorporate this miracle spice to your daily diet and reap all the benefits.
Stay healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually.
Ref- whfoods.com, naturalnews.com, angelfire.com, sciencedaily.com, medicalnewstoday.com,draxe.com, thehealthyhomeecomist.com