Saturday, December 10, 2022

The cures of cinnamon

Cinnamon— Once regarded as a gift worthy of kings, a rarety in them days so regarded as a valuable gift full of flavour and a distinct aroma that was even traded as currency.

Today, it is a household staple world over, reminds you of Autumn, thanksgiving and Christmas cheer. The spice is growing on everyone’s palatte, be it medicinal as essential oils or supplements, just a flavour you add to a plethora of dishes in beverages, cooking and baking. 

Cinnamon is now the second most popular spice, after black pepper.

Cinnamon is derived from the bark of the Evergreen Cinnamomum tree. 

The bark is peeled and laid to dry in the sun, where it curls into rolls known as cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon is available as sticks and powdered form.

There are two main types of cinnamon —

Ceylon cinnamon: This type is known as “true” cinnamon.

Cassia cinnamon: This is the most common variety of cinnamon used today. People generally refer to it as “cinnamon.”


Here are few scientifically proven health benefits of cinnamon that you should keep in mind — 

  • Helps lower blood sugar levels and improve insulin sensitivity: Cinnamon is touted for its blood sugar lowering properties. It is extremely beneficial for insulin resistance, improving your haemoglobin and has even shown to decrease the amount of sugar that enters your bloodstream after eating by interfering and mixing with multiple enzymes and effectively breaking down carbs in your digestive system. Cinnamon also contains a compound that mimics the effects of insulin to improve the uptake of sugar into the cells. Insulin is one of the key hormones that regulate metabolism, energy use and is essential for transporting blood sugar from your bloodstream to your cells. However, some people are resistant to the effects of insulin, a hallmark of conditions like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Research suggests that cinnamon may be able to reduce insulin resistance and improve blood sugar control.

  • Boosts metabolism: The distinct smell and flavour of cinnamon is due to the essential oil called cinnamaldehyde. This compound is responsible for cinnamon’s fabulous metabolism boosting effects. It is known to target fat cells and make them burn more energy boosting your metabolism. 

  • Supports gut health: Did you know that cinnamon has prebiotic properties? The bacteria helps restore your gut microbiome and supports your digestive health and even relieves digestive issues. 

  • Great for your skin: A warrior against acne, pimples and redness, cinnamon fights off the bacteria that causes these frightful skin concerns. Cinnamon also boosts collagen production to help your skin look younger. There are so many lotions and potions that claim to improve your skin’s natural elasticity but the cinnamon extract is the all time superstar. Cinnamon keeps your skin shiny and smooth, helps protect your skin from irritation, rosacea, rashes, allergic reactions and infections thanks to its antibiotic and antimicrobial effects. 

  • Loaded with antioxidants and reduces inflammation: Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Cinnamon is like a loaded gun full of antioxidants waiting to shoot the free radicals in your body and reduce inflammation. While inflammation is important for tissue repair after infections attack your body, too much inflammation can become a problem when it’s chronic and directed against your body’s own tissues. Cinnamon is extremely potent in anti-inflammatory properties and even acknowledged as one of the top inflammation-fighters. 

  • It has anti viral, antibacterial and antifungal properties: Cinnamaldehyde, found in cinnamon, is the ring leader when it comes to fighting off infections caused by fungi, bacteria, microbes and viruses. It inhibits the growth of these microorganisms and even protects the body from getting plagued by these horrid disease causing bugs. Cinnamon oil is also known to treat certain fungal and yeast infections that affect the bloodstream like Candida, dengue, influenza and even HIV. 

  • Optimises oral hygiene: Cinnamon is instrumental in oral hygiene and protects against certain strains of bacteria that cause bad breath, tooth decay, cavities, mouth sores and mouth infections. The essential oils found in cinnamon have potent antibacterial properties that naturally combat bacteria in the mouth. Cinnamon is often called Nature’s mouthwash. 

  • Lowers cholesterol levels and protects against heart disease: Cinnamon can lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels and raises the HDL (good cholesterol) levels. Cinnamon has also been linked to reducing the risk of heart disease, which is the leading cause of death all over the world. Many compounds present in cinnamon benefit the cardiovascular system. 

  • Helps prevent diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons and Multiple Sclerosis: Cinnamon helps protect the brain from cognitive decline as we get older and even acts as a protection against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s, Parkinsons and Multiple Sclerosis. Cinnamon has shown improvements in animal studies but more human research is needed. 

  • Cinnamon may protect against cancer: Cinnamon is being widely studied for its potential use in cancer prevention and treatment. It is said that cinnamon inhibits the growth of cancer cells and formation of blood vessels in tumours. It even appears to be toxic to cancer cells leading to cancer cell death. While evidence is limited in this regard, the effects of cinnamon are being researched to know what role it plays in curing or preventing cancer.

  • Acts as a natural preservative: One of the unexposed cinnamon powder benefits is that it can be used as a natural food preservative instead of chemicals and artificial ingredients. 


Risks of eating dry cinnamon —

Consuming large amounts of dry cinnamon should be a big no no. While eating it may sound harmless, it can irritate your throat and lungs and even make you gag, choke and damage your lungs permanently. The lungs cannot break down the fibres found in cinnamon and if it accumulates in the lungs it can cause inflammation called aspiration pneumonia. If aspiration pneumonia is left untreated, it can permanently scar the lungs.

Cinnamon is a versatile spice and full of everything nice. 

Health disclaimer: This article contains general information about health issues and is not medical advice. For medical and health advice, please consult your medical practitioner.

Vinita Alvares Fernandes
Vinita Alvares Fernandes is an Economics graduate, a writer and a Trinity College certified public speaker and communicator

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