Cinnamon is a wonderful medicinal spice derived from the inner and middle bark of trees belonging to the genus Cinnamomum. This spice is widely known by people all over the country for its intense taste and unique aroma. Read more to know the health benefits of cinnamon.
The taste and aroma of this medicinal spice are due to its essential ingredients Eugenol, Oil, and Cinnamaldehyde (formed when cinnamon reacts with oxygen).
Chemical compounds such as Linalool, Ethyl Cinnamate, Beta-Carotene, and Methyl Chavicol are also factors that make cinnamon the most delicious and firm spice.
Although there are several species of cinnamon trees in the genus Cinnamomum, only a few species of bark are commercially cultivated. That is, the bark of trees that grow in the botanical genus Cinnamomum Verum is considered by the elderly to be the “True Cinnamon“.
However, studies show that Cinnamomum Cassia trees play an important role in international trade.
Although Cinnamomum Verum trees are native to countries such as Sri Lanka, India, Myanmar, and Bangladesh, they are currently cultivated in various parts of the world. Evidence suggests that in 2016, China and Indonesia accounted for 75% of world cinnamon supply.
Cinnamon was considered more valuable than gold in ancient times and is considered to be the first commodity to be traded.
Realizing the medicinal properties and health benefits of cinnamon, the ancient Egyptians imported it from China and used it in medicinal applications. In addition, they used it as an embalming agent, and as a food quality enhancer.
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The bark is rolled into cinnamon sticks after drying in the sun and the dried sticks are finely ground and sold as a cinnamon powder. They are an important spice in desserts, spicy foods, snacks, cereals, breakfasts, tea, dinners, and traditional dishes.
It is because of its medicinal properties that these spices have been used for food and medicinal purposes by people of different cultures for thousands of years.
It is noteworthy that their clinical health benefits have been demonstrated in many studies conducted by modern science.
Popular Varieties of Cinnamon
Generally, Commercial cinnamon is divided into two main types called Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon. They both have different characteristics and uniqueness as they are harvested from the inner bark of two different trees belonging to the same botanical family. In particular, the two differ in terms of smell, taste, texture, color, chemical composition found in them, and the manner in which they are harvested.
Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Verum)
Ceylon cinnamon, belonging to the botanical family of Cinnamomum Verum, has been utilized as a natural flavoring agent in many countries. Ceylon Cinnamon is generally known as SriLankan Cinnamon and Cinnamon Zeylanicum.
Because of its uniqueness and medicinal properties, these are called “Real Cinnamon” or “True Cinnamon”. This plant native to Sri Lanka has many health benefits. Over time, these are cultivated by developing countries such as Madagascar, India, the Caribbean, and Brazil.
It is not only utilized as one of the traditional spices for flavoring but also as a universal remedy for various disorders. This type of Cinnamon is originally cultivated in Ceylon and it includes essential minerals such as manganese.
It is also considered a great source of iron, fiber, and calcium. Ceylon cinnamon is very thin in appearance so they are added to the line of paper type strips. These cylindrical bands are hard to view, but they are easily brittle.
Ceylon cinnamon includes anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and antimicrobial properties which help to support the immune system. This variety of cinnamon provides an antioxidant enzyme effect that can be utilized to handle some type of cancer.
The anti-inflammatory property of this spice improves static blood flow and regulates the blood pressure level. It acts as an anti-bacterial and anti-fungal agent thus prevents infection.
It contributes to healthy cardiovascular function, besides, this spice helps to control the glucose levels in the blood and it provides strength to the nerve system of the body.
Cassia Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Cassia)
Cassia Cinnamon, also known as Chinese Cinnamon and Chinese Cassia, is native to Southern China and belongs to the botanical family Cinnamomum Cassia. It is widely cultivated in Southeast Asian countries such as India, Malaysia, Laos, Indonesia, Vietnam, and Thailand.
They are used as an excellent spice for their distinctive aroma and taste. Even the buds of these trees used by the ancient Romans are now used in India as a spice. This type of cinnamon is dark brown in color and slightly harder and thicker than Sri Lankan cinnamon.
They are widely used in traditional cuisine as their taste is more intense and different from Sri Lankan cinnamon. There are three categories of cassia cinnamon: Chinese Cinnamon, Saigon Cinnamon, and Indonesian Cinnamon.
Chinese Cassia has a slightly bitter and strong taste, and these are used medicinally in all cities of China. Saigon Cassia has a spicy taste and a strong aroma that is commonly used in all countries.
Finally, Indonesian Cassia has a sweet taste but these are very light, cinnamon sticks with these properties are most commonly used in the United States.
All traditional medicine advises to include cinnamon in the daily diet as they all have the power and medicinal properties to cure various ailments.
13 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon has been scientifically proven to have various medicinal properties and health benefits. Researchers say that all the properties of cinnamon are derived from the essential oils that are extracted from the plants that belong to the Cinnamomum genus. This bar attracts people of all ages, has an intense aroma and unique taste and let us see their different types of benefits in this segment.
Loaded With Antioxidants
Cinnamon contains high amounts of antioxidants that protect the body from the effects of free radicals. Furthermore, this spice is very effective in protecting various organs from the oxidative stress damage caused by free radicals.
Polyphenols are powerful antioxidants found in cinnamon. Even malignant infections can be easily defeated by adding spices of such characteristics to the daily diet. In general, Oregano and Garlic are called “superfoods” because they contain high levels of antioxidants.
However, a study of 26 spices, including cinnamon, compared their antioxidant traits and concluded that cinnamon has a higher antioxidant activity than superfoods.
This cinnamon stick, which is very simple to look at and available in a very low price range, is actually more powerful than we guess, which is why it is recommended for use in all types of food.
Fights Against Cancer Cells
Cancer is a deadly disease caused by the excessive growth of uncontrolled cells in the body. They are classified into different types depending on the area where the cancer cells are formed.
A type of tumor develops in a cancerous area of the body, through which cancerous cells begin to grow. These tumors, which contain cancer cells, can rupture in the final stages of the disease, leading to death.
In a test-tube study of animals with cancer, they were given cinnamon extract for 6 consecutive months. In the concluding section of the study, evidence was published based on the study conducted on the animals and 6 months of continuous monitoring.
In this report, it was revealed that the growth of cancer cells affecting animals and their proliferation was effectively reduced. It is scientifically recognized that cinnamon has anti-cancer properties.
If cancer patients take cinnamon extract daily as a medicine, the blood vessels are formed in the tumors and the growth of the cancer cells is gradually reduced, and finally, the cancer is cured by killing the cancer cells.
Not only cancer but also respiratory problems can be solved by including cinnamon in the daily diet.
Improves Insulin Secretion
Hormones are the main factor that determines the body’s energy utilization and metabolic functions, and insulin is one of these hormones.
Essential sugar is usually mixed with the blood and sent to the organs, in this process insulin acts as a carrier to carry that sugar from the blood to the cells.
If this process is done properly there will be no side effects in the body, but many people resist the effects of insulin to lower blood sugar levels thus causing various side effects.
Insulin resistance can lead to a particularly serious condition such as type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Cinnamon has the ability to control blood sugar, help control blood sugar levels, and dramatically reduce insulin resistance.
The risk of disease in the body is lower when the main hormone called insulin is running activated. Cinnamon increases insulin sensitivity and effectively lowers blood sugar levels.
Effectively Fights with HIV Virus
HIV is a sexually transmitted disease, not a contagious disease, but a serious disease that enters other people’s bodies through various factors such as infected blood, semen, or vaginal fluids.
The virus, which initially develops without any symptoms, gradually paralyzes the body’s immune system. There is a risk that small diseases can easily infect the body through this.
Untreated HIV can lead to AIDS. Cinnamon, extracted from the bark of cassia botanicals, has the potential to fight HIV-1 (the most common strain of the HIV virus).
The study, conducted with HIV-infected cells, tested about 69 species of medicinal plants and herbs. In conclusion, evidence was presented that cinnamon had the most promising and positive effects than all of 68 spices.
It is noteworthy, however, that no human experiments have been performed to confirm these effects.
Reduces the Risk of Heart Disease
Cinnamon has the power to cure various heart diseases (heart attack, chest pain, shortness of breath, etc.) that can lead to unexpected deaths.
It is important for people with Type 2 Diabetes to always keep their blood markers in check because the effects of blood markers’s incrementation can be devastating. Consumption of 1 gram or half a teaspoon of cinnamon daily is beneficial for blood markers.
In a recent study, patients with Type 2 Diabetes were given 120 mg of cinnamon daily. At the end of this study, Cinnamon had a positive effect on the blood markers of the participants.
A similar study was later performed on animals with high blood pressure. It has been shown to control the blood pressure of cinnamon-consuming animals.
Especially if you utilized cinnamon in your daily diet as a spice rather than as medicine it can destroy the various factors that cause heart disease.
Regulates Blood Sugar Levels
As I already said cinnamon has the ability to enhance insulin levels and lower blood sugar levels. Cinnamon handles many processes in an effort to lower blood sugar.
Method 1: Studies have shown that consuming cinnamon in powder form after breakfast daily reduces the level of glucose in the blood. In addition, this spice is compatible with many enzymes involved in digestive functions, effectively preventing the vital damage like the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract.
Method 2: Cinnamon has a natural chemical compound that performs the same functions as insulin. Although the chemical composition in it mimics the actions of insulin somewhat slowly, the work of delivering glucose to the cells is greatly enhanced by this process.
Method 3: Cinnamon contains a chemical compound called Cinnamtannin B1, which regulates the activity of enzymes and lowers blood glucose levels. It also helps increase insulin release by stimulating glucose uptake.
In addition to these two methods, cinnamon has many other methods to lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin levels depending on the condition of the body.
A study of cinnamon in people with diabetes showed that this spice reduced fasting blood sugar levels nearly 10% to 29%, confirming the anti-diabetic effects of cinnamon.
Naturally, it is sufficient to take 0.5 to 2 teaspoons or 1 to 6 g of cinnamon a day to lower blood sugar levels, and this dose is recommended by doctors as a general dose effective for all diabetic ages.
Possesses Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Inflammation is not as harmful as everyone thinks, but inflammation is a defensive condition carried out by body organs to protect from various diseases. Inflammation caused by an unintended effect benefits the body incredibly well.
For example, if a thorn pierces a finger, it immediately causes swelling in that area. This inflammation prevents the thorn from entering the body and trying to expel it.
More precisely, inflammation is a reaction of the body’s immune system to an external action on a body without delay. But if this condition can turn into chronic inflammation it can have many adverse effects on the body.
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties and it repairs tissue damage and gives the body the strength to fight infections. Various studies have shown that cinnamon spice is rich in powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties.
Has Anti-Bacterial & Anti-Fungal Properties
Cinnamaldehyde, one of the chemical compounds responsible for the medicinal properties of cinnamon, helps fight off a variety of infections by creating a pungent taste.
The oil extracted from the cinnamon spice is the best remedy for respiratory infections caused by fungal infections. Salmonella and Listeria are two harmful bacteria that can cause some serious effects on the body.
Cinnamon has been shown to be effective in treating bacterial infections and preventing their growth. Consecutive consumption of cinnamon creates antimicrobial effects on the body, preventing tooth decay and relieving bad odor caused by germs.
Helps to Expel Bad LDL Cholesterol
Very low HDL cholesterol and high LDL cholesterol are both important factors that can affect heart health. Cinnamon helps lower LDL cholesterol named “bad” fat and helps control triglyceride levels.
Due to this process, the amount of “good” HDL fat in the body is increased and helps to maintain balanced body weight. In a laboratory study, overweight individuals were given just a pinch of cinnamon powder per day.
After 55 days the LDL cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the participants’ body decreased by about 30%. In addition, studies have shown that participants’ HDL cholesterol is significantly increased.
Effectively Treats Colon Cancer
Cinnamic Aldehyde (Cinnamaldehyde) is an organic compound that has the ability to release protein that controls the expression of antioxidants and their abnormal functions.
Cinnamon contains high levels of cinnamaldehyde, which has a distinctive odor and has many adverse effects. The anti-oxidants in this spice prevent colon cancer or reduce its impact by protecting colon cells from cell damage.
Various randomized studies have shown that cinnamon also has the ability to activate the antioxidant responses required by colon cells. Cinnamon was given to rats suffering from colon cancer.
During this study, it was found that the energy of enzymes in the colon of mice gradually decreased, and by the end of the study, cancer in rats was inhibited. In addition, cinnamon is popular in the treatment of skin cancer.
Usually, cancer cells inhibit the formation of melanin and form a tumor called Melanoma, which causes cancer in the skin.
Animal experiments have shown that cinnamaldehyde has the ability to completely destroy the growth and function of skin cancer-causing cells and dissolve melanoma.
Prevents Neurodegenerative Diseases
Neurotransmitters in humans affect the structure of cells that control brain function. This can lead to progressive loss of brain function, forgetfulness, etc., and can affect memory, executive function, memory sharpness, speed of thinking, and other cognitive functions.
The two most important diseases classified as neurodegenerative diseases are Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. Both of these effects are caused by a harmful protein called tau, which is formed in the brain.
And the combination of two different compounds named cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin in cinnamon has the capability to inhibit the formation of this protein.
In a study of rats with Parkinson’s disease, they were divided into two groups and one group was given a pill and the other a cinnamon powder.
After 100 days, the results showed that the effects of neuronal growth, motor function, and neurotransmitter levels improved in mice given cinnamon.
Renews Skin Cells
Cinnamon helps to cure various skin diseases including skin cancer and also has anti-aging properties that treat premature aging of the skin.
Free radicals are another factor that changes the properties of the skin, cinnamon plays an important role in preventing free radical’s growth and helps to keep the skin young and healthy.
Therefore, if you take any kind of cinnamon in your daily diet or as prescribed by your doctor, you may experience positive effects on the skin. This spice has antifungal and antibacterial properties that protect the skin from microbial infections.
Alleviates Menstrual Pain
Cinnamon helps to maintain a balanced state of hormone and melanin production. Besides, it plays an important role in reducing the production of testosterone in women and increasing the production of progesterone.
Many people have a habit of adding cinnamon to their morning tea for smoother skin.
Nutritional Values of Cinnamon
No one could have thought about the nutritional content of cinnamon because it doesn’t have fat and protein and doesn’t play an essential role in your overall nutrition. One teaspoon of ground cinnamon contains vitamins and the following nutrients.
|Total Fat||0.03 g|
|Beta carotene||3 mcg|
|Vitamin A||8 IU|
Cinnamon Side Effects
Allergies and Irritation
Generally, cinnamon doesn’t create any side effects, but the heavy dosage of the cinnamon may irritate your lips and mouth and can cause sores. Some people may be allergic to it. It may cause irritation and redness while using it on your skin.
If you have liver issues, then consuming more cassia cinnamon could be toxic. Coumarin is an ingredient of cinnamon that can create liver issues. If you take this cinnamon in the correct amount, then it will not cause any problems. It is not suggested for pregnant women, children, and breastfeeding women.
Reduce Blood Sugar
It may affect the sugar level of the blood, so if you have diabetes issues and are consuming cinnamon supplements, then you have to adjust the treatment.
When you are under any medication, you should consult with your doctor while taking cinnamon supplements. They might affect the way diabetes drugs, heart medicines, antibiotics, and others work.
How Can you Add More Cinnamon to Your Diet?
You can easily add cinnamon to your food, like sweet or savory dishes. It gives an amazing taste when you are adding it to savory dishes such as stews, protein-like meat, soups, poultry, or tofu.
Moreover, you can include cinnamon in coffee, all kinds of desserts, and smoothies. It is perfect for chocolate, pudding, crisps, and ice cream. You can also sprinkle it on the fruit salad or yogurt.
Cinnamon is adaptable to any number of drinks and foods.
You can include cinnamon into coffee, smoothies, oatmeal, nut or seed butter dish, into chocolate-based desserts and mousses, onto baked sweet potatoes, hot chocolates, baked pears, apples, figs, peaches, cottage cheese, and yogurt.
At the end of the day, cinnamon is considered as one of the healthiest and most delicious spices on the planet. It helps reduce the sugar level in the blood, reduces the risk of heart disease, and offers plenty of exciting health benefits.
Cinnamon has a unique aroma and gives a warm flavor to all dishes and drinks. It is packed with potent antioxidants that can promote your health. It is also helpful in managing type 2 diabetes, but consult your health care provider before adding it to your medical treatment plan.