Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known. It has been consumed since 2000 BC when it was first used in Ancient Egypt for its medicinal and culinary properties. Native to the lands of Southeast Asia, the Caribbean and South America, this spice is famous for its fragrance, sweet and warm taste. But these properties of cinnamon do not extend merely to the foods cinnamon seasons. This exotic spice has anti-oxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-septic, anti-inflammatory, rubefacient, carminative and anti-flatulent properties. People have been exploiting its extraordinary properties for centuries now, it’s time to understand why.
12. Prevents Cancer
Based on anecdotal data, there is strong evidence that Ceylon Cinnamon could be a major cancer preventer. Also, research shows that Cinnamon oil is quite effective in the treatment of Melanomas, Tumors and, Gastric Cancers. Among some other natural preventers like turmeric, cinnamon is also a top contender known to prevent the free radical formation and by conclusion, cancer. Making Ceylon Cinnamon a part of your regular diet can be the most effective weapon against cancer.
Arthritis is nothing but inflammation at the joints which can cause pain, swelling, redness and reduced motion in joints. Since cinnamon is known to have anti-inflammatory properties, it helps in relieving pain and stiffness. Cinnamon also has high levels of Manganese which is used to build bones, renew blood and other connective tissues. Hence, cinnamon is very good for optimal bone health. People generally drink Cinnamon tea or apply its essential oils onto the joints to benefit from its properties. Also, in a paste form, the mixture of honey and Cinnamon can too be applied to the painful areas and massaged into the skin.
10. Cinnamon for PCOS
Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) leads to the formation of cysts on the ovaries leading to hormonal imbalances and reproductive problems. A teaspoon of cinnamon powder with hot/warm water every morning can help in reducing the symptoms of PCOS. Cinnamon can help in controlling insulin levels, which in turn helps in managing hormones and weight. It has also been used traditionally for hundreds of years to stop excessive menstrual bleeding, hemorrhage during childbirth and miscarriage, and for many fertility conditions where heavy menstruation is present.
9. Treats sore throat and cough
Chinese traditional medicine commonly recommends Cinnamon for phlegm coughs. Again, this is related to the anti bacterial properties and warming properties of Cinnamon which help in relieving soreness in one’s throat. It also has propensity to increase blood flow and thereby improve blood oxygen levels to fight illness. Generally, people use it by boiling Cinnamon in water or mixing cinnamon powder with honey. It can help you treat cough and cold within 2-3 days.
8. Managing bad cholesterol
There are two types of cholesterol in our body- HDL (High density lipoprotein) and LDL (Low density lipoprotein), HDL is good for the body whereas LDL is the bad type of cholesterol. Cinnamon helps in controlling cholesterol, indirectly, by altering the ways in body processes sugar and fats. A study in Pakistan found that, Cinnamon reduced triglyceride (23-30%), LDL cholesterol (7-27%), and total cholesterol (12-26%). However, cinnamon might not be helpful to treat patients with a very high level of cholesterol but for the rest of us, it definitely is worth a try.
7. Blood Sugar Control
Since Cinnamon helps with insulin resistance, it is very popular for controlling type-2 diabetes. Cassia Cinnamon, which contains high amounts of Coumarin is more effective in controlling sugar levels if taken in proper doses. Regular intake of Cinnamon can also help in mitigating the effects of high-fat meals by slowing the increase in blood sugar post-meals.
Caution: However, if consumed in abnormal amounts, the high level of Coumarin can cause liver damage. Moderation is the key, if not, rather use Ceylon cinnamon since its Coumarin levels are less than half as compared to Cassia Cinnamon.
6. Delays Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
A study done at the University of Tel Aviv, Israel, found sufficient evidence to conclude that Cinnamon can delay the effects of five aggressive strains of Alzheimer’s inducing genes. There are reasons to believe that the two components found in Cinnamon – cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin — may be effective in fighting Alzheimer’s. It has been shown to help neurons and improve motor function in those suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s. Since, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are otherwise incurable at this point of time, Cinnamon is one of those rare things that can help in managing the symptoms, if included in regular regime.
5. Preservative Wonder
Cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeasts. It has anti-fungal, antibacterial, and even antiviral properties. It also has been proven to fight viral elements in foods, thus preventing spoilage. Hence, it is often used as preservative in foods. Cinnamon essential oil also exhibits effective antibacterial activity against food borne spoilage and pathogenic bacteria.
4. Anti- Clotting Benefits
Cinnamon-sticks have been found to have anti-coagulant (prevents blood-clotting) functions, which means, it helps in thinning of blood. This helps prevent strokes, peripheral arterial and coronary artery diseases. Cassia Cinnamon, which is a type of Cinnamon that is less sweet than the Ceylon Cinnamon, contains Coumarin which gives it blood thinning properties.
Caution: For people who are already on medications for blood thinning, it might be risky to incorporate Cinnamon for the same cause. Hence, it is better to consult a doctor before you try anything else.
3. Weight Loss
In healthy people, Cinnamon’s blood thinning properties can be useful to keep circulation healthy and reduce the risk of blood clots. Thinner blood and better circulation in turn lead to higher metabolic rate which is helpful in keeping the weight off. Cinnamon water can be used to make herbal teas which might help speeding up the weight loss process.
2. Cures depression and improves mood
There have been studies that found that even the scent of Cinnamon can be used to reduce driver irritability. It is hard to believe, but there are certain types of gut bacteria which can make you more susceptible to mood swings and depression. And, since Cinnamon has anti-bacterial properties, it helps in killing those bacteria. However, since it kills both good and bad bacteria inside you, it is often suggested to consume more food that is probiotic or fermented in order to repopulate your body with the good bacteria.
1. For teeth and gum diseases
Cinnamon’s anti-bacterial properties aid in getting rid of harmful bacteria without effecting strength of gums or teeth. Cinnamon oil is also used in many toothpastes, mouthwashes, breath mints and chewing gums.
As such, Cinnamon has no side effects when taken in recommended doses. However, care should be taken while consuming Cinnamon essential oil, high doses of it can be toxic. Other than that, there are several more benefits one can gain from this exotic spice which simply cannot be contained in a single article.
Now you know why it is so pricey!