There are many health benefits Cinnamon has to offer. At one point it had more value than Gold. Besides, it’s a delicious spice as well.
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Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon, used by the Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans became one of the most precious and expensive spices around.
Cinnamon was used by many as a flavouring to wines.
So precious was Cinnamon, that at one point it was deemed fit only for people of importance?
It was given to royalty as a gift or offered to Gods as a sign of their devotion.
Egyptians would use cinnamon as part of the embalming process.
Rome would have a similar tradition but this spice was considered far too expensive to be used within funeral traditions.
However, Nero, the Roman Empire that ruled Rome at the time had a different set of ideas.
When his wife died he used an entire year’s supply and used it on the funeral pyres of his wife’s death.
Spice Wars (That’s right Spice, not Star Wars).
Over time the popularity of Cinnamon still remained a valuable resource so much so that wars were fought and lost for many years.
Back around the 1500s, the Portuguese landed in Ceylon (this is now known as Sri Lanka) they found much Cinnamon growing and one that is to this day considered as the true cinnamon.
It is still more expensive than some of the other varieties such as Cassia (more on this later).
Later the Dutch came into the seen fought the Portuguese and took control.
Then in 1796 the British took control over the Dutch and held a monopoly on this valuable resource but now the value was starting to decline.
The Spanish who left New Spain (Mexico) landed around the Philippines and found a variety of Cinnamon which at the time was considered reasonably as good as the one from Sri Lanka.
It was gradually found growing in China and in other parts of the world.
Some of the qualities are very similar and were accepted to be good enough to be used in the same manner as the original versions of Cinnamon found in Sri Lanka.
Classes of Cinnamon
Although there are many varieties or species of Cinnamon this can be brought down to six species as per Wikipedia.
However today it is considered to be two main varieties that are being used and known in today’s world.
This is both, for use in the culinary and also in the healing and Health Departments
The Six Species
A number of species are often sold as cinnamon:
• Cinnamomum cassia (Cassia or Chinese cinnamon, the most common type)
• C. Burmannii (Korintje, Padang cassia, or Indonesian cinnamon)
• C. Loureiro (Saigon cinnamon, Vietnamese cassia, or Vietnamese cinnamon)
• C. Verum (Sri Lanka cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon)
• C. Citriodorum (Malabar cinnamon)
• C. Tamale (Indian cinnamon)
Today there are two main species used
1. Cassia or Chinese cinnamon and as stated above is the most common form used today due to it being cheaper than the next species.
2. Sri Lanka Cinnamon This is the original that brought the world attention with Cinnamon.
The Sri Lankan Cinnamon is dearer than Cassia.
Nutritionally it has properties considered slightly higher than that of Cassia in particular with extracting the oil that now is known as Cinnamon Essential Oil.
It is also better tasting than that of Cassia.
Not all cinnamon is the same
Cinnamon contains Coumarin which is a liver toxin. This can be harmful in high doses.
Cassia or Chinese cinnamon has a higher level of Coumarin so care needs to be taken should you be using Cassia instead of the Sri Lankan Cinnamon.
This is also the more common type used in foods and bought in stores as it is normally cheaper.
The Sri Lankan or true cinnamon is a different species that has lower levels of Coumarin.
Perhaps this could be one of the reasons why Sri Lankan Cinnamon is more highly prized than the standard cheaper version.
It still is more expensive than Cassia today.
That is just my opinion so just adding my 2 cents worth.
Should you be making cinnamon tea you can try to reduce the risk of Coumarin toxicity as it is left behind in the sediment.
So it may be best not to swirl your tea in order to get every drop.
The same would go when selecting Essential Oil of Cinnamon or when purchasing supplements in the form of Capsules.
To help you further.
Below you will find an essential oil as well as supplements both of which are extracts from the origin and true cinnamon.
If you prefer the true quality, then it should state where the origin is:
When you click on the image or any image for Cinnamon, always go to the product description (further down which you click the link) and you will find details stating where it is extracted from.
This would then be from Ceylon (Sri Lanka), Indonesia or India as this is where the truer Cinnamon is used.
But the choice is up to you but I feel it is important to let you know the difference and reasons why true cinnamon is best.
But that again is my opinion only.
This is why I believe that supplements and Essential Oils can become a better option and choice for the locations where the extractions are done and which species is involved.
Ok, that’s the end of the History lesson and my rant lets’ get to the nitty-gritty of why we are here.
To read about the Nutritional and Health Benefits Cinnamon has to offer.
So let’s get started.
Nutritional Benefits of Cinnamon
We have mentioned how valuable Cinnamon Spice was in the ancient days, both as a spice and for healing and health purposes.
Now you will be able to see the benefits the ancients already knew existed, one that science has finally come to terms with.
Cinnamon provides good amounts of calcium and Dietary Fibre.
Having good amounts of Calcium along with Fibre increase the health benefits by helping to improve the health of the colon.
This dynamic duo binds together and is able to remove bile salts from the body.
In doing so they can reduce the risk of colon cancer.
A side benefit of this action is that it creates an opportunity for the body to break down cholesterol so that bile can be recreated.
This new action results in reducing the cholesterol levels which again in turn help reduce the chances of heart disease.
Dietary fibre also plays an important role in constipation or diarrhoea.
However, with Manganese, 8 grams provides a massive 68% of the daily recommended value.
Manganese is an important element relating to bone health, necessary for optimal brain and nerve function, (we certainly could use some of that, well at least I can LOL), and very beneficial as an antioxidant (More on that soon).
Manganese will also help coagulate the blood, regulate blood sugar.
Low levels of manganese are said to create issues such as weakness, seizures ever infertility.
Fortunately, Manganese is not only found here in Cinnamon but also is whole grains, nuts, and seeds, especially in Fennel Seeds.
So this is also beneficial as you can combine many other herbs and spices as just mentioned in your diet
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Boosts Brain Function.
I wasn’t kidding when I stated we could use some extra Manganese as the scent of Cinnamon stimulates brain activity.
This can be by chewing cinnamon flavoured gum or just the aroma of Cinnamon either as a powder or essential oil.
Research on this showed that in help participant’s cognitive thinking where scores on tasks give were improved.
This would be beneficial for many people regardless if they are elderly or others facing issues with memory or other cognitive processing,
Another way to help this is to add a couple of drops of Cinnamon Essential Oil in a vaporizer or so that the vapours can be felt around the room, perhaps the whole home.
This can also add to a more positive environment as well.
Antimicrobial and Anti-Fungal
There are some powerful actions here with Cinnamon where it has been shown to slow down or stop the growth of bacterial and fungal issues.
One of the actions found in Cinnamon is its ability to stop the growth of bacterial and fungal growth such as Candida.
Lab tests have shown that yeast growth that is resistant to some modern-day antifungal medication, was on the majority stopped by using cinnamon extracts.
The Antimicrobial properties showed much promise, that another test was performed with Carrot Broth that demonstrated how Cinnamon can be used as an alternative to the normal type of food preservatives they use.
To put it in English, with the Carrot Broth of all the other essential oils used against the Bacillus Cereus pathogen, Cinnamon showed the best results in inhibiting the growth for 60 days.
What made this more important is that the growth without adding the essential oil continued to grow despite being refrigerated which on its own should slow the growth.
So you can see just how important the essential oil of Cinnamon can be and how important it can be for you.
When the skin is cut, for example, the platelets within the body start to form and clump together as their way to stop the bleeding.
However, situations arise where they can clump too much and in doing so cause the blood to not flow elsewhere as efficiently as it should.
Enter Cinnamon or one of its properties called Cinnamaldehyde.
This property helps to avoid this unusual clumping of blood platelets by inhibiting the release of the inflammatory fatty arachidonic acid thereby reducing the unnecessary formation of over clumping.
So this action basically controls the actions of the platelets but also acts and an anti-inflammatory agent as it lowers the release of this acid from the cell membranes.
Control your blood sugar levels
Many times when seasoning certain types of food, the blood sugar levels can rise and if the blood sugar levels are not kept in check this can lead to more serious issues in life.
Such problems can be Diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, heart attack, and the list can continue.
Cinnamon has been shown to slow the stomach action as it works on emptying the food it has received.
This action helps to not only take some pressure on the stomach and its properties with the role performed but it also lowers the blood sugar level after the consumption of food.
This control over the blood sugar level is so important to those suffering from Diabetes, in particular, type 2 Diabetes as it strengthens the role of normalising its role and response with insulin.
More tests are done with this role for humans but to date, it has been shown that half a teaspoon per day can reduce blood sugar levels in type 2 Diabetes.
In fact, 1 gram a day produced about a 20% drop in blood sugar, with the added effect of lowered cholesterol and triglycerides.
The tests also showed that as soon as the daily amount of cinnamon stopped so did the decrease to the point the levels of blood sugar actually rose.
Antioxidants help to protect the body from what is known as Free radicals.
These Free Radicals are basically unstable molecules within the body which if left on their own can created havoc and damaged the other normal molecules.
Antioxidants stop the free radicals by neutralising them thus defending the body of these radicals.
To give you a basic idea of what a free radical is without going too technical.
As you know our body is comprised of atoms, these atoms contain protons, neutrons, and electrons.
So when more than one atom forms together we get molecules one type is DNA.
Each molecule is comprised of a certain amount of electrons, however, occasionally for whatever reason that created the change, a molecule may lose that electron charge.
Huston, we have a problem.
The molecule then becomes a Free Radical and as such become a danger to the rest of the molecules as if they attach themselves to other molecules it can then cause them to lose their electron charge.
This now becomes a group of unstable radicals, which creates its own chain reaction that is now set to attack other molecules and damage them.
DNA is one form of molecule that are linked together.
What the antioxidant does is when they connect with these free radicals they charge them with a dose of electrons that neutralises them and stops the attack of the free radicals.
So you can see why Cinnamon is as important as an antioxidant as it is a spice.
It was found that of all the other antioxidant spices that only mint (link with herbs or spices) was more effective than cinnamon in attacking these free radicals.
Lower Risk of Cancer
Studies have shown that cinnamaldehyde (mention early with Anti-clotting) has the ability to inhibit cancer tumor growth as well as helping to protect DNA from damage.
It does this by making the cancerous cells in the body to self –destruct a process known as cell apoptosis.
This has been found with colon cancer where it showed how cinnamon can improve the health of the colon.
It has become such a find that due to it antioxidant strength, it is being used as a supplement for those who might be at a higher risk for cancer.
So there you have it the many health benefits Cinnamon has to offer.
Have you used Cinnamon for health benefits or just as a spice?
I would love to hear your thoughts and experience of how Cinnamon may have benefited you.