Common names: Cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon, cassia, cinnamon, cinnamon, bastard cinnamon, Padang cinnamon, Saigon cinnamon, Cochin China cinnamon.
Scientific names: Cinnamomum verum (synonym: zeylanicum), Cinnamomum cassia (synonym: C.aromaticum) and other Cinnamomum spp.
Cinnamon, one of the oldest warm spices in the world, has long been appreciated for its culinary qualities, medicinal properties and natural preservatives. This wonderful spice has a particularly warm flavour, a remarkably fragrant and captivating smell, sweet and captivating, also full of many therapeutic benefits. It is sold in the form of sticks or as finely ground powder.
Cinnamon is the bark extracted from the branches of a small tree evergreen called cinnamon, commonly planted in Southeast Asia and parts of the Middle East such as India or China. With its special smell and taste so delicious in recipes, we almost forget that it is mostly a spice with many virtues, used for thousands of years in ayurvedic medicine and traditional chinese medicine and still yet known for its many beneficial health properties.
Delightful in cooking, cinnamon flavours the dishes by its particular taste and smell coming from cinnamic aldehyde or (cinnamaldehyde), the main component (90%) of cinnamon oil. This golden spice also brings a lot of benefits for health: antispasmodic, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and excellent for the memory.
Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices in the world. 5000 years ago, Indians and Chinese already used it as a spice and also to cure many ailments. The Egyptians used it with myrrh, aloe and other substances to embalm corpses. They also made it to make essential oils, used until now, in cooking and in various therapies, in the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry.
Arriving in Europe from the beginning of the seventeenth century, European appreciated this spice so that it was a rare and expensive commodity. The interest in this spice has grown steadily because of the invaluable benefits it brings to the well-being and health of consumers.
Cinnamon is a rich plant of antioxidant, and it is composed of two main antioxidant elements : proanthocoyanidines and cinnamaldehyde , (about 65 to 70%), two powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. The chemical analysis also indicates that it contains tannins, a lot of magnesium, iron, dietary fiber and starch.
Although spices are not the first foods we think about when it comes to dietary fibers, surprisingly, fibers constitute more than half of the weight of ground cinnamon: a small serving of 2 g of cinnamon (1 tea spoon) contains 1.3 g of fibers. Therefore, used as powder or essential oil, cinnamon and even its leaves, are full of multiple properties.
Cinnamon is fairly concentrated in antioxidants (compounds that protect the body's cells from damage caused by free radicals), so that even a small portion can make a significant contribution to the total daily intake, which makes it particularly interesting to prevent cancer and tumor. It is very beneficial to strengthen the immune system, slow the premature aging of cells and protect the skin.
Cinnamon is rich in proanthocyanidins, compounds which have demonstrated antioxidant properties in humans, for example by protecting blood cells and lipids against oxidative stress. It is also rich in cinnamaldehyde , a compound providing cinnamon with antimicrobial properties and having a capacity to decrease the activity of 5- lipoxygenase (an enzyme associated with the appearance of inflammatory or allergic reactions such as asthma, rhinitis allergic, psoriasis).
The presence of proanthocyanidins, cynnamaldéhyde and antioxidants in the cinnamon protects the body cells against the harmful effects of free radicals and prevents cardiovascular disease, certain cancers and other diseases related to aging.
Thanks to its cynnamaldehyde content, cinnamon would also have anti-inflammatory effects. Indeed, a study carried out on human blood revealed that this substance was able to reduce the activity of the enzyme origin of various allergic or inflammatory reactions such as psoriasis, allergic rhinitis, asthma, colds or whatever. Chronic inflammation also plays a major role in the development of many neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors and meningitis.
Cinnamon is a formidable antiseptic against many pathogens that threaten the immune system. It is also particularly effective against many urinary and intestinal infections.
Cinnamon also has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties, particularly effective against digestive and urinary fungi. It does also help relieve some sore throats. Its warming properties improve blood flow and oxygen levels in the blood, helping to fight off infections.
It is also endowed with antifungal and astringent properties.
Cinnamon is a powerful antispasmodic because of its high concentration of eugenol (phenol). By stimulating the gastric mucosa and salivary glands, it improves digestion and evacuation of gases, while calming the spasms of the stomach and intestines.
Cinnamon is a powerful tonic with positive effects on the sympathetic nervous system. It is thus often recommended in case of hypotension and depression. It also has stimulating effects on the immune system.
In addition to its importance in the industry and in the preparation of salted and sweet dishes, cinnamon can generate surprising virtues on the organism, such as its antiviral, antimicrobial, antibacterial and antifungal extraordinarily powerful
Tested on people on a slimming diet, cinnamon has proven great effectiveness in losing weight. Indeed, cinnamon is a spice often used during winter periods as it actually creates heat in the body. This thermogenic response eventually accelerates the body's metabolism to counter excess heat and balance body temperature. Excess calories are burned throughout the process resulting in weight loss.
The researchers concluded that this spice had a "hunger cut" effect, more specifically when there is a desire to eat a sweet food.
According to some studies, cinnamon also controls the level of sugar in the blood and promotes weight loss, especially of the abdomen (belly). And so, by regulating blood sugar, it can have a positive impact on hunger and weight gain. Nutritionist “Tara Ostrowe” from Columbia’s University told The Express Tribune:
"Cinnamon is really the new slimming ingredient. Scientists are already crediting cinnamon with the ability to lower glucose levels in the blood and improve insulin sensitivity. When a smaller amount of sugar is stored as fat, it promotes weight loss."
Cinnamon is known to improve the glycemic state, especially the blood sugar level. It also has beneficial effects on the management of blood glucose for type 2 diabetes, also called non-insulin dependent, by increasing the production and sensitivity of insulin in the body , and therefore it could constitute a sovereign remedy in the treatment of this disease.
A study has shown that this spice improves glucose metabolism by reducing blood glucose levels and acting with similar effects to insulin. It also slows the emptying of the stomach to reduce blood sugar spikes after meals.
According to several scientific studies, cinnamon contains compounds having insulin-related properties potentially beneficial for the fight against diabetes. It also has hypoglycemic properties which are able to lower the level of sugar in the blood and stimulate the production of insulin. It is therefore recommended for patients with type 2 diabetes to consume daily from 1g to 6g of cinnamon. Note that it can also replace sugar in a yogurt or coffee. This magic spice appears as a promising food for the control of diabetes.
During the past decade, many studies have shown that even a small amount of cinnamon can help reduce the level of bad cholesterol LDL in the body. According to the results, it is sufficient to consume half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder daily to reduce the LDL cholesterol level by 10% to 24%. According to a recent study, cinnamon also helps maintain good cardiovascular health by promoting blood circulation and reducing inflammation of the blood vessels.
Of all spices, cinnamon contains the highest level of antioxidant and is ranked 4th among rich antioxidant elements. Cinnamaldehyde found in cinnamon may be effective against cancer cells and may reduce any risk of cancer including cancers of the lung, liver, colon, stomach, breasts and others.
According to a study done by some American researchers in Maryland, cinnamon is able to limit the proliferation of certain cancer cells including, lymphoma and leukemia.
Cinnamon is particularly used in winter, added to an infusion or tea. This wonderful spice is an excellent source of manganese, iron and calcium. It strengthens the immune system and it is therefore your main ally in case of flu, colds or headaches. Its warming properties improve blood flow and oxygen levels in the blood which helps fight infections.
Cinnamon also has antiviral and antimicrobial properties. By infusing cinnamon sticks into water, you get scented water that can help to relieve some sore throat and to chase the first chills and the first fruits of colds and flu. According to traditional Chinese medicine, cinnamon is effective against fat coughs.
According to research presented in 2004 at the annual meeting of the Chemistry Science Association, the scent of cinnamon stimulates the brain function.
The cinnamon is known to have a positive effect on the brain and its functioning. Indeed, its aroma and active ingredients promote concentration and memory. Indeed, according to a study, the participants who smelled cinnamon had performed better results on tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response. And moreover, the researchers concluded that the presence of cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin significantly improved the health of the brain, as these two molecules will block the development of fibrillar entanglements, characteristic of Alzheimer's disease. In addition, other studies have concluded that cinnamon allowed an increase in the level of Benzoate in the brain, which can repair and even create new neurons.
Moreover, according to a recent study in Santa Barbara, cinnamon also protects against certain neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease.
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory, antispasmodic, antibacterial, anti-virus, antiparasitic and antiseptic characteristics that reduce intestinal flora infections. Its virtues help the body to fight digestive problems, calm heartburn and reduce nausea.
Indeed, by stimulating gastric secretions and salivary glands, it is a very good remedy against stomach ailments, including: indigestion, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. It improves digestion and expulsion of gases, and thus alleviates bloating problems while calming spasms of the intestines and stomach.
Cinnamon can also be drunk as an infusion after a meal to promote digestion.
An aromatherapy treatment based on cinnamon reduces significantly the symptoms of ADHD (hyperactivity) of children suffering from this disease. Indeed, this spice improves motivation and performance while decreasing feelings of frustration and driving anxiety, which could explain some of its beneficial effects on the symptoms of ADHD. Similarly, cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant that can help fight the high level of oxidative stress that afflicts patients with ADHD.
The essential oil of cinnamon can reduce and relieve menstrual pain by applying it on the belly with a warm compress.
Cinnamon has been used traditionally in many cultures as a remedy for dental pain and for acting against bad breath. Dental pains can be calmed by using small pieces of cinnamon. It can also be beneficial in gargling to inhibit bad breath.
As for beauty, cinnamon has also several benefits. Hair loss is always a bad experience, but good news, cinnamon may also help by stimulating hair growth and reducing the fragility of the hair and therefore prevent their fall. Cinnamon Mask Recipe: Mix 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and honey in half a cup of hot oil. Add an egg to thicken the mask. Apply the mask on wet hair and leave it on for 10 or 15 minutes. Finally wash with a shampoo.
Similarly, cinnamon contains an enzyme (natural peroxidase) which makes it possible to lighten the hair in a natural way leaving an incredible smell on it, and thus, it is possible to change the color of the hair without going to a hairdresser and without using chemicals which seem to be an insurmountable challenge for some people. The cinnamon mask brighten naturally the tone of dark hair giving it beautiful slightly coppery reflections but not orange. For this recipe, simply mix 4 tablespoons of honey, 2 tablespoons of cinnamon and a spoonful of lemon juice. Apply the mixture on wet hair after having washed well. Cover your hair with a hat or a plastic bag and wait 3 to 4 hours. Rinse hair thoroughly to remove cinnamon powder and honey. You can apply this mixture only on some parts of the hair to lighten or on a few wicks. Honey is optional, even that it helps to accelerate the hair lightening. After three or four applications your hair is brighter.
Cinnamon also helps fight against dandruff. Just add 2 drops of cinnamon essential oil to the usual dose of shampoo.
Cinnamon is known to be a powerful aphrodisiac. Rich in calcium and manganese, it is particularly warming: it excites the erogenous zones by stimulating the secretion of hormones. It was not for nothing that in the Middle Ages, it was used in the manufacture of love filters.
In addition to external use, cinnamon is very beneficial for the skin. A cinnamon mask removes dead skin cells, firm pores for a clearer complexion, slows premature cell aging, protects the skin and restores its radiance and softness. Just mix sea salt, sweet almond oil, olive oil, honey and cinnamon powder. Pass the mixture on the skin and let it act for few minutes, then rinse.
Thanks to its antimicrobial properties, this magic spice also helps prevent and eliminate acne pimples and treat eczema. To do this, mix 3 teaspoons of honey, cinnamon and nutmeg. Apply the paste on the face and leave it for 10 to 20 minutes. Rinse with warm water and moisturize as usual. Renew the app once a week.
Besides these main benefits already mentioned, the cinnamon is also beneficial in other areas.
Cinnamon can scent the house and clean the air by boiling apple cider with a cinnamon stick and cloves to get a nice fragrance for the whole house.
It thus helps fight against physical and mental fatigue by moderating sugar levels in the blood and thus avoiding the bar shots during the day.
It can also conserve naturally food as it prevents the proliferation and bacterial growth in food.
It relieves pain by massaging sore muscles with cinnamon essential oil diluted in oil. Recipe: In a bottle dilute 2 teaspoons of cinnamon essential oil in 1 liter of oil. Mix well, then preferably in the evening, after the shower, apply on the painful muscles and massage them gently.
Last but not least, cinnamon is also a powerful antioxidant! Indeed, it contains large amounts of tannins, antioxidants that limit the process of formation of free radicals (which accelerate the aging of cells and the development of malignant cells).
If you want to enjoy the benefits of cinnamon, do not choose any. You have to buy it organic and fair. In addition, choose ceylon cinnamon, it contains the most active ingredients. Powder or stick, opt for pure bark, stick. Cinnamon powder is more likely to be falsified since it can be mixed with other types of cinnamon from China or Vietnam: cinnamon that we commonly use as a spice and found in most supermarkets in sticks or powder. Though all types of cinnamon have therapeutic effects, Sri Lankan cinnamon is usually better, more fragrant with a better taste. Many herbal and health nutrition stores also sell cinnamon in capsule form, which simplifies the process of consumption.
The cinnamon has very few side effects if the recommended dose is followed. The presence of coumarin may indeed be the cause of liver diseases, it should be consumed with prudence and much moderation, it is very important to check the origin of cinnamon to use.
In local application, it is necessary to be very vigilant. Cinnamon oil is very allergenic and extremely aggressive against the skin and mucous membranes. It will then be diluted strongly in vegetable oil, in the order of a drop to 45. Its use should be proscribed on youth, children under 12 and pregnant or lactating women. Due to the risk of liver toxicity, cinnamon essential oil should not be used beyond 7 days.
Because of its particularly potent effects on reducing blood sugar, these people should consult the advice of a specialist before consuming cinnamon:
No standard dosage is clearly established for consumption of cinnamon. However, it must be taken with great moderation. In the treatment of certain diseases, the specialists have fixed a daily maximum of half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder, preferably softened with honey.
The consumption of one half stick of cinnamon is amply sufficient. Beyond these dosages, various undesirable effects can occur including:
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