Cinnamon refers to its mid brown colour. It’s a spice obtained from the inner bark of trees from the species of Cinnamomum. Cinnamon spice can be used for sweet and savoury dishes. The most commonly used varieties are Ceylon cinnamon or Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Cassia cinnamon or Cinnamomum aromaticum. Ceylon cinnamon is light in colour and the stick is thinner and the powder is finer. Cassia is darker in colour and hard to snap.
Smell the cinnamon to check if it is fresh before using it. Discard it if it doesn’t smell sweet.
Benefits of Cinnamon
Lowers LDL Cholesterol
Studies have shown that including just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day in our food can lower LDL cholesterol. LDL is known to be dangerous for our body because it can cause heart disease, stroke and obesity. Having cinnamon can also reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Helps in Regulation of Blood Sugar
Several studies suggest that cinnamon have a regulatory effect on blood sugar and helps in better utilization of insulin, making it particularly beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes who cannot use insulin properly.
Helps in Overcoming Indigestion
Cinnamon is effective for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and diarrhea. Cinnamon is very helpful in removing gas from the stomach and intestines. Therefore cinnamon is often referred to as digestive tonic.
Helps in Reducing Weight
Drink a glass of boiled water with honey and ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder every morning before breakfast or when the stomach is empty. If done regularly can reduce weight. Even for people who are severely obese, drinking this concoction regularly will prevent fat accumulation in the body while still eating high-calorie foods.
Helps in Reducing Cancer Cells
Cinnamon is also said to reduce the production of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
Helps in Circulation and blood purification
Cinnamon helps in removing blood impurities. So, it is often recommended for treating acne. Cinnamon also helps in blood circulation due to the blood-thinning compound in it.
Provides Relief to Arthritis
In a study patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.
When added to food, cinnamon inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
Boosts Cognitive Function and Memory
A study found that just smelling cinnamon can boost cognitive function and memory.
Fights E. Coli
Researchers at Kansas State University found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.
High in Nutrients
Cinnamon is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.
Side Effects of Cinnamon
Cause Premature Labor
Although cinnamon helps with indigestion and can help in reducing stomach pains it should never be taken during pregnancy. That is because it can induce uterine contractions and in some cases even cause premature labor. It is okay for pregnant women to occasionally have some but they should avoid doing so daily both taking tablets and smelling the oil.
Cause Liver Failure
Most types of cinnamon have around 5% Coumarin which can lead to liver failure in large doses. Instead, you could use Ceylon cinnamon as this contains 0.04% of this substance.
Causes Blood to Thin
Cassia cinnamon can thin our blood and while this may be good in some cases that is not always true. Ceylon cinnamon doesn’t have the same blood thinning effects so if you take blood thinning medication, you should avoid cassia cinnamon and could stick to Ceylon.
Causes Skin Irritation
Undiluted cinnamon oil can irritate the skin, even cause a burning sensation. The sensation is especially strong if you touch your genitalia after handling the pure oil. Because of this, you should always be careful when handling the oil.
Causes Heart Rate to Elevate
People who have a heart condition should also be careful when consuming cinnamon as it has been associated with an increase in heart rate. When undiluted, it can also cause children to develop rapid heart rates. Instead, cinnamon oil should always be diluted to fewer than two percent before use.
Lowers Blood Sugar
Cinnamon has been associated with lowering blood sugar levels. If you have diabetes talk to your doctor before you consume cinnamon as consuming too much cinnamon while on a medication designed to lower blood pressure levels may cause too large of a drop in blood sugar.
Causes Kidney Diseases
Cinnamon may cause kidney disease if used in higher quantities.