Cinnamon, the warm smelling spice, is loved by so many. It is derived from the inner bark of a small evergreen tree. The bark is harvested and laid in the sun to dry causing it to curl up into rolls commonly known as cinnamon sticks. It was once so highly valued that is was used as currency. It is popular in baking and widely used in curries.
Cinnamon also has many healthy properties, which is why it is used frequently in Chinese herbal medicine. The following outlines the potential key benefits of cinnamon. For some the results are preliminary but promising:
Anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal:
The essential oils found in the bark is called cinnamaldehyde, which gives the bark its distinctive smell and flavour. It is this oil, cinnamaldehyde,that has shown to have anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties.
Cinnamon has prebiotic properties, which help restore the balance of good, and bad bacteria in the gut, support digestive health, and can help alleviate digestive issues.
There is some research showing that eating cinnamon can, in the short term, reduce blood pressure.
Lowers blood sugar and type 2 diabetes:
Cinnamon can help manage blood sugar by helping to manage the amount of glucose that enters the blood stream and by mimicking insulin. This might have an effect in managing blood sugar levels with those who have diabetes. More research is needed in this area.
Beneficial for an aging brain:
Cinnamon contains 2 compounds that seem to inhibit the build up of proteins that are linked to Alzheimer’s. Again, more research is needed to determine how effective cinnamon is in treating Alzheimer’s.
Although some people are allergic to cinnamon, for the majority of people it is safe to consume in small amounts (1 tsp per day). The majority of cinnamon found in stores is Cassia cinnamon. It has a stronger taste and is cheaper to buy. It is also high in compounds called coumarins, which, if consumed in large doses may be toxic. The best cinnamon is Ceylon, or “true” cinnamon, which has low levels of coumarins. If you are on medication for diabetes, heart, or love disease, do not consume cinnamon in large quantities and you may want to talk to your doctor for guidance.