Cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices in the world. The tree is native to Sri Lanka where it was found thousands of years ago. It is the best spice available in terms of nutritional value and health. It contains unique health and healing properties that come from the active components in the essential oils in its bark. Cinnamon has extremely high antioxidant activity due to which it has numerous health benefits. Aside from being used as a medicine by other cultures since ancient times, the health benefits can also result from its consumption, which can be listed as follows:
- Lowers Cholesterol:
Studies have shown that just half a teaspoon of cinnamon in a daily diet can lower cholesterol.
Cinnamon can also significantly lower “bad” LDL cholesterol, triglycerides (fatty acids in the blood), and total cholesterol.
Reduces Blood Sugar Levels And Treats Type 2 Diabetes:
Several studies have shown improved insulin sensitivity and blood sugar control when taking just half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day. Improving insulin resistance can help with weight control and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Cinnamon strengthens the cardiovascular system, thereby protecting the body from heart disease. The calcium and fiber found in cinnamon are believed to protect against heart disease.
A little cinnamon in the diet helps people suffering from coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.
- Fights Cancer:
A study published by researchers at the US Department of Agriculture in Maryland showed that cinnamon reduced the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
Also, the combination of calcium and fiber found in cinnamon can help clear bile, which prevents damage to colon cells and thus prevents colon cancer.
- Tooth Decay and Mouth Fresheners:
Cinnamon is traditionally used to treat toothache and fight bad breath. Small pieces of cinnamon can be chewed or gargled with cinnamon water, which serves as a good mouth freshener.
Heals Respiratory Problems:
Cinnamon is a very useful home remedy for common or severe colds. A suffering person should take 1 tablespoon of honey with 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder daily for 3 days. This process cures most chronic coughs, colds and clears the sinuses.
Cinnamon has also been found to cure flu, influenza, sore throat and congestion.
- Brain Tonic:
Cinnamon increases brain activity and therefore acts as a good brain tonic. It helps eliminate nervous tension and memory loss.
Studies have also shown that the smell of cinnamon can increase cognitive function, memory, performing certain tasks, and alertness and focus.
Due to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, antiparasitic and antiseptic properties, it is effective in both external and internal infections. Cinnamon has been shown to be effective in fighting vaginal yeast infections, oral yeast infections, stomach ulcers, and head lice.
- Eases Menstrual Cycles:
Cinnamon has also been shown to be beneficial for women’s health as it helps in relieving menstrual cramps and other female ailments.
Cinnamon also helps with natural birth control. Regular consumption of cinnamon after having a child delays menstruation, thereby helping to avoid conception.
Cinnamon is also believed to aid in the secretion of breast milk.
Reduces Arthritis Pain:
Cinnamon spice contains anti-inflammatory compounds that may be useful in relieving pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
A study conducted at the University of Copenhagen, in which patients were given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with a tablespoon of honey every morning, had significant relief from arthritis pain after a week and were able to walk pain-free within a month
- Digestive Tonic:
Cinnamon should be added to most recipes. Aside from adding flavor to food, it also aids in digestion. Cinnamon is very effective for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and gas. It is very helpful in removing gas from the stomach and intestines. It also eliminates acidity, diarrhea and morning sickness. It is often referred to as a digestive tonic.
People who eat cinnamon regularly report a lower incidence of UTIs. Cinnamon is naturally diuretic and aids in the secretion and excretion of urine.
A compound found in cinnamon called cinnamaldehyde has been well researched for its effects on blood platelets. [Platelets are constituents of blood that are meant to clump together under emergency circumstances (like physical injury) as a way to stop bleeding, but under normal circumstances, they can make the blood flow inadequate if they clump together too much]. The cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon helps prevent unwanted platelet clumping.
Natural Food Preservative:
When added to food, it prevents bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
Headaches And Migraines:
Headaches due to cold wind are easily cured by applying a thin paste of cinnamon powder mixed with water to the temples and forehead.
Pimples and Blackheads:
Cinnamon helps in removing blood impurities. Therefore, it is often recommended for pimples.
Also, applying cinnamon powder paste topically with a few drops of fresh lemon juice on pimples and blackheads would produce positive results.
- Thinning The Blood And Improving Circulation:
Cinnamon is a blood thinner that also improves blood circulation. This blood flow helps significantly in reducing pain. Good blood circulation also ensures the oxygen supply to the body’s cells, which leads to higher metabolic activity. You greatly reduce the chances of having a heart attack by consuming cinnamon on a regular basis.
There is considerable anecdotal evidence that cinnamon may have the ability to tighten and contract tissues in the body.
Muscle and Joint Pain Relief:
Those who eat cinnamon regularly often report that their muscle and joint pain and stiffness are reduced or even eliminated.
Honey cinnamon paste is good for boosting the immune system, getting rid of regular fatigue and increasing a person’s longevity. It is also known to have anti-aging properties.
Honey and cinnamon paste is often used to treat insect bites.
It’s a great source of manganese, fiber, iron and calcium.
Healing: Cinnamon helps stop bleeding. Therefore, it facilitates the healing process.
In fact, as mentioned above, cinnamon has several health benefits that can be used to improve health and boost the immune system. This is a good reason to keep some cinnamon on you. Sprinkle it in your tea or coffee, over oatmeal or a sweet potato and it will do wonders for your health.
[However, there’s a word of warning to be taken that over dosage of cinnamon may be unwise. Also it is not recommended for pregnant women.
Also, people who have been prescribed medication to manage their blood sugar should not reduce or discontinue their dose and take cinnamon instead, especially without consulting your doctor.]
Thanks to Yasmin M Elias