What is Cinnamon?
Cinnamon tree is one of the world’s most popular sources of medicinal spices and essential oil.
Scientifically known as Cinnamomum verum, and a native of South East Asia, its health benefits can be obtained in several different forms.
The most popular form is the cinnamon spice used all over the world for baking pastries, sprinkled on tea and coffee, or just mixed with honey and consumed directly.
This is prepared from cinnamon bark ground into powder.
Apart from being used as a spice, cinnamon is also usable in its raw form as cinnamon sticks or chips.
These are mainly popular in the cooking of Asian curries.
The benefits of cinnamon can also be accessed through the cinnamon essential oils made from the steam distillation.
There are two types of cinnamon:
Cinnamon Ceylon and Cassia
They are derived from two different but related trees of the family Cinnamomum.
Ceylon cinnamon is said to have a lighter and more citrusy taste than cassia, which has a broader and spicier flavor.
Although they have slightly different physical and chemical properties, they have the same health benefits overall.
The research as to which of the two is better than the other are not conclusive.
There are two types of cinnamon oils; Cinnamon bark oil and Cinnamon leaves oil.
The products of the cinnamon tree have been used all over the world to provide medical interventions for thousands of years.
Cinnamon was a highly priced and valuable spice in Ancient Egypt as far back as 4000 years ago where it was also used as a sign
of devotion or as gifts to royalties.
There are also numerous biblical references of cinnamon usage to treat illnesses.
Its usage has also been found in 2700 B.C Chinese literature.
These medical claims by our ancestors have since been backed up by modern research.
It has been proven that cinnamon has:
- stimulant, and vermifuge properties among many others.
Most of these fantastic properties come from a substance known as cinnamaldehyde, which is abundant in cinnamon.
When combined with cinnamon’s high concentration of antioxidants and high fiber content, the result is a potent product with
incredible positive effects on the human body.
Cinnamon has anti-carcinogenic properties
Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide. It is caused by the uncontrolled and abnormal growth of cells in the body due to changes (mutations) in the DNA structure of the cells.
Studies have shown that a compound cinnamaldehyde present in cinnamon can protect the DNA from damage and inhibit the growth of cancer cells.
Additionally, this compound promotes apoptosis, the process through which cancer cells self-destruct.
Moreover, cinnamon is known to be rich in antioxidants, powerful substances whose work is to fight toxic elements in the body.
These antioxidants are a critical element in preventing DNA damage, inhibits cell mutation and growth of cancerous tumors.
Further, cinnamon controls the development of cancerous cells by reducing the formation of blood vessels in the tumors.
The power of cinnamon to prevent cancer has been successfully studied for colon cancer, and it has been found to be a potent activator of detoxifying enzymes in the colon.
These have the effect of decelerating the growth of cancerous cells in the area.
Cinnamon Antifungal, Antibacterial, and Antiviral Properties
When it comes to protecting the body from infection, cinnamon is a loaded player.
These make it a robust solution for relief from the sickening symptoms of common cold, flu, sore throats, and other respiratory tract infections.
The antibacterial properties are great fighters against sore throat infections, skin infection, and bacteria which cause digestive tract disorders.
They are known to suppress the growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella.
Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon essential oils have immune-boosting abilities which help the body fight against the invasion of disease-causing toxins.
Due to its infection-fighting capabilities and pleasant fragrance, cinnamon oil is also used in beauty care products, shampoos, and perfumes.
The anti-fungal and antibacterial properties of cinnamon are useful in the prevention and treatment of urinary tract infections (UTIs). These are fungal or bacterial infections in the urinary-genital tract which mostly affect women although may affect men as well. Adding a few drops of cinnamon oil in a warm water bath helps to treat UTIs.
Another area of application of the anti-bacterial properties of cinnamon oil in hospitals is in the prevention of the occurrence of urinary tract infections from catheters contaminated with E. coli bacteria.
This is achieved by applying cinnamon oil on the surface of the catheters.
Cinnamon for Candida Infection
Candida is a fungus that aids in nutrient absorption and digestion
when in proper levels in the body.
If produced in excess, it enters the
bloodstream and releases toxin which may cause the leaky gut syndrome.
Cinnamon has compounds which help to lower the levels of damaging candida in the body.
This it does by boosting immune health and fighting inflammation, autoimmune-reactions, and yeast within the digestive tract.
Do you suffer from bad breath, gum infections or toothaches? Bad breath is most often caused by a buildup of bacteria in the mouth as a result of gum disease, food or plaque.
It is a significant source of discomfort and embarrassment
and may result in low self-esteem.
Cinnamon is your most effective natural solution which can be used to combat bacteria in the mouth.
Cinnamon contains antimicrobial compounds which help in the elimination of harmful breath and prevention of tooth decay, cavities, and other mouth infections.
And cinnamon is not just used for prevention but treatment as well. As I mentioned earlier, cinnamon has been in use in many ancient civilizations for its medicinal value. For the longest time, the cinnamon powder has been used to treat toothaches, oral microbiota, and sores.
Also, cinnamon has a very refreshing effect on the mouth making
it one of the most widely used natural flavorings in chewing gums.
Cinnamon for Cholesterol
Cholesterol is a fat-like substance found in your body cells and is
necessary for the production of hormones, vitamin D, and elements required by the body for the digestion of food.
Your body makes all the cholesterol that it needs, but you also get more from the foods that you eat.
There are two types of cholesterol; the good cholesterol (HDL) and the bad cholesterol (LDL).
When your body has excess cholesterol, it starts to build up in your
arteries making them narrower.
This, in turn, restricts the blood flow in the arteries resulting in an increased risk of heart attacks and strokes, blood clots and inflammations.
Cinnamon has a particular component which helps to reduce the levels of bad cholesterol and triglycerides while maintaining the excellent cholesterol at the right level.
The net effect of this is a reduction of high blood pressure, and a reduced risk of heart complications, a leading cause of death in the world.
And the health benefits of cinnamon to the blood and heart does not end there.
Cinnamon is a known blood coagulant thus improves the ability of the blood to clot and prevent over bleeding in the event of an injury. Moreover, cinnamon enhances blood circulation in the body and is a significant contributor in the ability of a cell to repair itself
Another role of cinnamon in the management of heart diseases is its ability to promote nitric oxide production.
Nitric Oxide is necessary for controlling the degree of relaxation and constriction of blood vessels. This ensures proper functioning and health of the blood vessels and this important for people suffering from heart diseases and stroke.
Cinnamon for Diabetes
As noted above high levels of bad cholesterol can be detrimental to your health.
According to scientific research, one of the effects of diabetes is lowering the level of good cholesterol and raising those of the bad one and triglyceride.
As stated earlier, this may increase the risk of heart diseases and stroke.
Cinnamon has an anti-diabetic property which helps to reduce the glucose levels in the blood, both for people with diabetes as well as those who do not have it.
This is possible because cinnamon has compounds which hinder the
activity of enzymes called alanines and whose work is to promote absorption of glucose into the blood.
Further, cinnamon contributes to the reduction of insulin resistance. Insulin is necessary for transporting the blood sugar from the bloodstream into the cells and for regulating metabolism and energy use.
By helping insulin do its job, cinnamon participates in regulating the blood sugar levels.
The consumption of cinnamon by people who have type 2 diabetes helps to lower serum glucose, triglyceride, and LDL cholesterol.
Another way in which cinnamon is helpful to the body is by mitigating the effects of high-fat meals.
It does this by slowing the increase of blood sugar after having such a meal.
Cinnamon for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are two neurological diseases that, for the moment, have no known cure.
People who suffer from these diseases experience progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells.
They can only deal with them through symptoms management.
Cinnamon contains a compound called CEppt which has been demonstrated to suppress the development of the symptoms of these diseases.
In particular, it helps in reducing the buildup, in the brain, of a protein called tau which is the leading cause of Alzheimer’s disease.
Further, cinnamon has compounds which help in protecting neurons, normalizing neurotransmitter levels and improving the motor function. This alleviates the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease.
Cinnamon consumption can significantly improve the quality of life of people who suffer from these diseases enabling them to continue with their regular duties with much fewer interferences.
Cinnamon for a Healthy Brain
The brain is the focal point of the human body and controls all the
organs of the body and performs most of the automatic functions such as breathing, digestion, sleep and wake cycles, generating emotions, heart rate, to name but a few.
Therefore, the ability of the brain to function correctly is at the heart of your existence.
If you are looking for a natural remedy for the prevention and treatment of age-related neurodegenerative complications, then you have it in cinnamon.
Cinnamon contains significant quantities of antioxidant compounds which protect the health of the brain and its cognitive function. These antioxidants are helpful in activating critical neuroprotective proteins that protect the brain cells from mutation and damage.
Furthermore, cinnamon contains anti-inflammatory compounds which reduce the effects of aging on the body and the brain.
Cinnamon for Pain Relief
Inflammation refers to the body’s natural response to injury or infection. It often causes localized redness, swelling, pain, or heat and may cause loss of function of the involved tissues.
Inflammation is right for the body and its designed to heal the body and restore normal tissue function.
However, if redness persists for a long time, it may be as a result of an infection such arthritis, auto-immune reaction or allergy.
This acute inflammation should be managed to reduce the pain.
Researchers have discovered at least seven flavonoid compounds in cinnamon, making it a potent agent for fighting dangerous inflammation levels in the body.
Cinnamon is rich in anti-inflammatory compounds which can ease swelling and pains such as the ones from headaches and arthritis. Adding a little cinnamon in your diet, for example, by sprinkling it in your tea, coffee or breakfast cereals, can significantly reduce systemic inflammation.
Also, cinnamon’s anti-inflammatory compounds are useful in the fight against common allergy symptoms and relief from the effects of asthmatic attacks.
This is possible because these compounds have the power to fight histamine reactions in the body.
And have you stressed your body, worked long hours, or are suffering from muscular aches and pains, joint stiffness and chronic pain?
Cinnamon oil reduces inflammation and provides quick relief from these discomforts.
Regular massage of the painful areas with this oil helps to relieve the pain and to improve blood circulation in the affected area.
Cinnamon for Wounds
Treatment of chronic wounds presents a unique challenge to medical providers.
This is because of the biofilms (infectious colonies of bacteria) which form on the surface of the wound and are desperate to treat and eliminate using conventional antibiotics.
In such circumstances, medical professionals usually recommend the costly and invasive approach of cutting off the infected
Cinnamon is one the natural compounds which researchers have discovered can be used in the treatment of pathogenic bacteria. When packaged in tiny capsules, the anti-bacterial activity of cinnamon has been harnessed to kill the biofilms and to accelerate healing.
Cinnamon as an air freshener
Commercial, chemical-based air fresheners are usually costly
And may have adverse side effects especially on children.
Homemade, cinnamon-based air fresheners, on the other hand, are cost-effective, easy to make, and they not only provide a pleasant fragrance, but they also ensure a you that you inhale bacteria-free air.
The strong antibacterial compounds in cinnamon oil kill the
airborne bacteria within minutes.
Just a few drops of this oil in a vaporizer and let the cinnamon aroma permeate the environment.
Cinnamon and management of HIV
HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) is a virus that gradually attacks and destroys the immune system.
If not adequately managed, HIV causes AIDS (Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome).
Scientists have been able to discover a compound in cinnamon that
helps to fight HIV-1, the most common strain of HIV found in human beings.
IND- 02 is a compound found in cinnamon has been found to be effective in reducing the viral load and may thus reduce the likelihood of an HIV-infected person ever developing the symptoms of AIDS.
In other words, the compound can change HIV-positive people to HIV controllers or carriers.
These are people who do not develop AIDS even after carrying the virus for a long time yet without the use of anti-retroviral drugs.
This is a significant medical breakthrough in the history of HIV since it has had a devastating effect in some countries and sections of the society since it was first discovered in the early 1980s
Cinnamon for Healthy and Active Hair
Hair loss and thinning can be a devastating and stressful experience
even for the most confident among us, whether a man or woman. Working or living under unhygienic conditions, stressful lives, pollution and lack of proper hair care have conspired to ensure we have fewer and fewer hair on our heads.
And the search for the perfect remedy has seen thousands of dollars spent on ineffective solutions, further aggravating the pain.
One simple home remedy for hair loss is a mixture of cinnamon and honey.
This mixture stimulates the scalp and improves the flow of nutrient-rich blood in the hair follicles.
To make this mixture, mix a tablespoonful of clear, runny honey with tablespoonful cinnamon in a bowl.
As they blend, add a cup of olive oil and stir to form a paste. You can then apply this paste to your scalp using a brush.
Cinnamon oil has a similar effect as this mixture.
Also Read: 25 Lemon Balm Uses and Tea Benefits
Cinnamon for healthy skin
No one likes walking around in a dry, cracked or flaky skin. Cinnamon is rich in antimicrobial and antibacterial compounds that can protect the skin from infections, irritations, rashes, and allergic reactions.
When mixed with your favorite face cream, cinnamon oil can soothe the skin efficiently and reduce the signs of aging.
The oil is also quite popular and useful in developing fluffy and plumped lips.
Cinnamon as an insect repellent
Cinnamon oil is very effective in destroying mosquito larvae and as a general-purpose insect repellent.
You can add a few drops of cinnamon oil drops to your lotion or sunscreen to make a homemade insect repellent.
Other insects such as dust mites, head lice, bed bugs and cockroaches are easily eliminated using cinnamon.
Concerns, risks, and interactions of using Cinnamon.
Cinnamon has no known side effects or allergies, particularly when taken in moderation.
However, when taken in excessive quantities, cinnamon may interfere with other medicines and medical conditions.
In particular, taking too many cinnamons supplements may prove unsafe for expectant or breastfeeding mothers, people with diabetes and liver conditions, or those who have just had surgery.
When using cinnamon essential oil for the first time, you are advised to carry out a patch test either on the inner arm or leg (never on the face) to examine for any irritation and allergic reactions before using more significant amounts.
If you take any regular medication, consult your doctor before you start using cinnamon products.
This is because cinnamon is known to have adverse interactions with antibiotics, diabetes drugs, blood thinners and heart medicines.
One of the main ingredients of Cinnamon is coumarin which is a natural flavoring.
Consuming too much of this ingredients can lead to liver damage and may affect coagulation.
Cinnamon is not just a fragrant spice; it is one of the most delicious and healthiest gifts of nature.
In recent year, its popularity has surged, and it now occupies the
second position, after black pepper, in USA and Europe.
As I have demonstrated above, the benefits of cinnamon and its applications in everyday life are many, wide-ranging and cost-effective.
Not only is it delicious, but adding it to your diet might be beneficial to your health.