It’s the inner bark of trees that belong to the ‘genus Cinnamomum’ of the ‘Lauraceae family’ from which cinnamon is obtained. This spice is one among the most popular spices globally. Chefs love to use cinnamon powder in many savory dishes because of the rich aroma and unique taste it brings. In many sweet dishes, especially desserts, cinnamon powder is sprinkled to add dimension, flavor and aroma.
Since ancient times cinnamon has been consumed to treat and cure symptoms related to cough and cold. The fragrance of cinnamon and the varied health benefits and medicinal uses makes cinnamon one of themost popular spices. The quality of cinnamon differs in accordance with region. While cinnamon is grown in different parts of the world, cinnamon from Sri Lanka and regions in India is considered to be the best cinnamon in the world.
The two types of Cinnamon are cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon. While Ceylon cinnamon is very expensive, and not easily available, cassia cinnamon variety is affordable and available at all supermarkets. As the name suggests, Cylon cinnamon comes from parts of Sri Lanka, and also Madagascar and Seychelles. Cassia cinnamon is found in abundance in China and Indonesia. The aromatic tones of Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon differ drastically. Ceylon cinnamon has a pungent sweet tone, while cassia cinnamon has lighter notes when it comes to aromatic quality.
Cinnamon is given grades, and it’s the highest quality grades that fetch a high price in world markets. The inner bark of cinnamon is peeled when it is fresh. High grade cinnamon from Sri Lanka is the most expensive in the world. Premium quality cinnamon with bright citrus tones is a rage with chefs globally because of its distinctive taste and aroma. In many dishes that emit a strong odor, cinnamon is used as a neutralizer to minimize odor and kill bacteria.
Turmeric and cinnamon are the most used spices as preservatives in foods. A sprinkle of cinnamon powder in food and snacks is a great way to derive the benefits of this super spice. You can add a sprinkle of cinnamon to cookies, cakes, biscuits, salads, and any food you make at home. When you add cinnamon in your diet you also tend to reduce the use of sugar as cinnamon adds a natural sweet aromatic taste to food.
Why is cinnamon preferred?
The pungent sweet taste of cinnamon is unique in every sense. Bakery chefs like to use cinnamon powder in different types of baked bread because of the pleasant aroma the spice brings to bread. Cinnamon sticks are used in many rice dishes made in India and South East Asia. While there is no proven fact on dosage required for various treatments, the best way to include cinnamon as a home remedy in its natural form is in meals. Many practitioners of Ayurveda use cinnamon powder along with a combination of other herbs and spices for various ailments and treatments. If you use cinnamon as a form of medicinal use or treatment, ideally daily cinnamon intake should be between 1 to 4 grams and not more. Cinnamon is an excellent source of fiber, calcium, manganese and iron which is why this super spice is consumed regularly by health conscious individuals.
In ancient Egypt cinnamon was consumed in large quantities and was considered a prized spice because of its association with varied health benefits. Even in present times, cinnamon is consumed in many cultures for its medicinal uses and health benefits. In South East Asia, many cultures consume cinnamon for treating dry cough, sore throat and arthritis. According to U.S. National Library of Medicine, cinnamon has proven beneficial in treating infections, muscle spasms, common cold, diarrhea, and loss of appetite. Cinnamon is used as a preservative in many dishes.
Many homemade pickles use cinnamon as a preservative because of its anti bacterial properties that help increase the shelf life of the pickle. The spice is used in many food recipes as a natural-mild-sweetener instead of sugar to lower glycemic load in meals. Cinnamon is a spice that helps minimize allergies such as histamine reactions and inflammatory rashes. Furthermore, the compounds present in this spice are known to boost immunity and reduce auto-immune reactions if allergen foods are consumed.
Cinnamon is also used in many cultures to treat candida infections. Cinnamon has anti fungal properties that help prevent growth of candida yeast in the digestive tract. Regular consumption of cinnamon helps improve at autoimmunity during yeast infections. Cinnamon essential oil is used for its therapeutic properties and aroma in many beauty treatments in spas. Cinnamon oil is used in many beauty products such as creams and lotions because of its anti-microbial and antibiotic properties that reduce redness and skin inflammation. Cinnamon essential oil is also consumed regularly to lower blood pressure, provide relief from constipation, get rid of lice and control blood sugar levels. Because of its diverse range of health benefits, cinnamon is consumed in large quantities globally.
In many cultures cinnamon is consumed daily to prevent and fight infections. Individuals that include cinnamon regularly in their diet are at less risk of developing neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s as they get older. The wide range of antioxidants and anti- inflammatory compounds present in cinnamon help reduce aging effects on the brain. A research conducted by Kansas State University has revealed cinnamon has the ability to lower the risk of E.coli bacteria.
Heath Benefits and Medicinal Uses of Cinnamon
1. A chemical called ‘cinnamaldehyde’ whichis found in Cinnamon is known to fight fungal infections and bacterial infections. Research also suggests cinnamon included in diet of individuals with diabetic conditions has helped improve lipid and glucose levels.
2. Research reveals approximately 6 grams of cinnamon has the potential to reduce LDL cholesterol, serum glucose, and triglyceride, thereby proving extremely helpful for individuals suffering from cardiovascular diseases.
3. Studies have revealed cinnamon has the potential to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. CEppt an extract found in cinnamon is known to prevent development of Alzheimer’s.
4. Cinnamon sticks are crushed to form a powder that is used in herbal tea. Cinnamon tea is consumed to treat sore throats and cough. Cinnamon tea decoction helps loosen phlegm during a sore throat.
5. Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants. Polyphenonols 3,4, and 5 potent antioxidants which are present in cinnamon prevent outbreak of free radicals.
6. Cinnamon has antiseptic properties. The spice helps prevent breakout of infections and also repairs damaged tissue.
7. The anti-inflammatory properties provide relief during secondary outbreaks in chronic illnesses.
8. Cinnamon is known to reduce insulin resistance in individuals with type 2 diabetes. Furthermore, intake of cinnamon regularly ensures the level of glucose that goes to the bloodstream after every meal is decreased. This process takes place because of interference with digestive enzymes which ensures breakdown of carbohydrates.
9. Research and studies reveal consumption of cinnamon helps bring back neurotransmitter levels among Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients to normal. Also, mortar functions of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease patients are known to improve tremendously.
10. An active component called cinnamaldehyde present in cinnamon is known for its ability to fight bacterial and fungal infections.
11. Regular consumption of cinnamon oil is known to effectively treat upper respiratory tract illnesses that are usually caused by fungai.
12. Studies conducted on laboratory mice with colon cancer have revealed cinnamon consumption helps protect against further growth of cells being a potent activator in regard with detoxifying enzymes.
13. Cinnamon powder in lukewarm water is used to cure individuals with indigestion. Cinnamon powder can be mixed with lukewarm water and given to the person with stomach problems. Cinnamon has active compounds that protect the digestive tract.
14. Research reveals cinnamon consumption has proved beneficial for providing relief for individuals with Multiple Sclerosis.
15. Cinnamon also has antimicrobial effects. The spice is often consumed as a home remedy for bad breath. Furthermore, the antioxidants present in cinnamon also prevent tooth decay.
16. Cinnamon acts as a natural digestive and provides relief from bloating.
17. Cinnamon is rich in manganese content which is excellent for building sturdy bones. Many osteoarthritis patients have reported less pain in bone joints after including cinnamon regularly in their diet.
18. Cinnamon when included in your diet on a regular basis ensures better blood flow to different vessels in the body.
19. Cinnamon oil is used in various massage therapies and helps sore muscles immensely.
20. Cinnamon is used as a home remedy for treatment of lice. Also, cinnamon is used in many Asian cultures to repel insects, mosquitoes in particular.
21. Cinnamon has anti bacterial and anti microbial properties that have proved beneficial in preventing further growth of candida yeast infections.
22. In ayurvedic treatments cinnamon powder mixed with lime juice and used to treat stomach related problems.
23. Cinnamon powder is also mixed with cardamom powder used for better bowel movement.
24. Cinnamon powder is used in many herbal drinks for providing relief from stomach related problems.
25. Cinnamon sticks can be chewed while traveling by individuals who suffer from motion sickness. The fresh taste and aroma of cinnamon helps get rid of nausea and vomiting sensation while travelling.
26. This spice is known for its anti-inflammatory properties. Consumption of cinnamon helps reduce inflammation and swelling.
27. Research suggests regular consumption of cinnamon helps prevent cognitive decline and enhances brain function. Antioxidants present in this spice are known to protect the brain against neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The spice is known to activate neuro-protective proteins that prevent mutation in brain cells.
28. Cinnamon has the ability to lower the risk of cancer. Research reveals cinnamon consumption minimizes the extent of tumor growth that is cancerous. Cinnamaldehyde a compound present in cinnamon helps protect DNA damage.
29. For individuals that want to reduce sugar intake, cinnamon is a perfect choice in food. Cinnamon is an anti-diabetic spice and is used in many recipes along with jaggery to add a natural sweetness and slowing down the process of sugar release in the blood stream. Many individuals around the world have started using a little jaggery and cinnamon in their hot beverages such as tea or coffee to cut down on calories.
30. Cinnamon is recommended by many dieticians and nutritionists in weight loss diets because the spice has a natural sweetness and no calories.