Cinnamon is a delicious spice that comes from the trees of the Cinnamomum family. It is native to the Caribbean, South America, and South-East Asia. It is the bark that can be found both in solid form and powdered form.
There are several varieties of cinnamon in use across the world however, dark coloured cinnamon is widely accepted in the United States. Another popular variety of cinnamon is Ceylon cinnamon which is highly regarded in the South-Asian region.
Apart from culinary use, it has other medicinal properties that can be harvested. The medicinal use of cinnamon found its root in ancient Egypt (2000 BC) however it was also used for the treatment of arthritis, coughing, and sore throat during the medieval period.
Studies suggest that it is a very powerful antioxidant, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic properties. It may prevent other ailments such as cardiovascular diseases and cancer however more studies need to validate these claims.
What are the types of cinnamon?
- Ceylon Cinnamon: True Cinnamon
- Cassia Cinnamon: Cinnamon
What are the health benefits of cinnamon?
Cinnamon has been proven helpful against varieties of ailments however, some have strong medical research validation, and some may require more research.
Here is a list of 6 benefits of Cinnamon consumption.
Cinnamon is known for its antimicrobial properties, Cinnamon oil may help in prevention against certain fungi such as Candida, which affects the bloodstream. It may also protect against other microbial infections like bacterial and viral infections.
Cinnamon is loaded with antioxidants and is rich in highly important antioxidants polyphenol. It prevents our body from the damage caused by free radicals. The expulsion of free radicals is of utmost importance for the proper functioning of the body.
A study was carried out to test the antioxidants properties of 23 different herbs and spices out of which cinnamon is found to be more effective antioxidants compared to other spices. In antioxidant properties, it can be compared with garlic and oregano.
Traditionally and historically it has been regarded as a strong remedy against inflammation. Its root also presents in Ayurveda medicines in which is an important ingredient of medicines against inflammation.
Prolonged inflammation may cause tissue damage and result in severe health conditions. Cinnamon helps in fighting against any infections and repairs tissue damage. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, it’s being the important ingredient in the majority of the spicy food prepared in the South-Asian region.
Several studies claim that regular uses of cinnamon may prevent heart diseases however more studies need to be carried to validate these claims. Globally, the major cause of premature death is a heart disease which can be minimised using cinnamon.
The daily consumption of 1 gm of cinnamon or half a teaspoon may help in reducing important blood markers in type II diabetic patients.
Other studies have also suggested that daily consumption of cinnamon in a controlled amount may help in reducing the lipoproteins, the bad cholesterols (LDL) however keeping the good cholesterol (HDL) unchanged. Moreover, some studies also claim that cinnamon usage may increase the good cholesterol (HDL) in the body.
Cinnamon has strong anti-diabetic properties which lower blood sugar through various mechanisms.
It regulates the absorption of sugar from the food and its transference in the bloodstream. It is caused due to inference of cinnamon with other digestives enzymes which controls the metabolism of carbohydrates into sugar.
The second most important properties of cinnamon present on cells are to mimic insulin and controls the production of insulin in the body. The regular use of cinnamon may lower blood sugar by 10-12% as observed in several kinds of research.
Protects Against HIV
One of the studies carried out on Indian medicinal plants found out that cinnamon may help protect against HIV. Cinnamon bark, root, fruit, and shoot have been experimented in the laboratory to see the impact of cinnamon against HIV and results were very encouraging.
The studies show that it may be helpful against HIV however, the studies don’t claim that cinnamon consumption will prevent HIV.
4 Side Effects of Cinnamon
Although it helps against many ailments it may have some side effects which we need to be aware of. It always better to have medical experts’ opinions before using Cinnamon against such disorders.
Cinnamon contains a substance called coumarin which is abundant in cassia however it is present in Ceylon cinnamon in trace amount.
The necessity of coumarin in our body is very limited however excessive intake of cinnamon may lead to liver toxicity and in severe cases, it can cause liver damage. If an individual has any liver disorders and taking medicines for the same, he/she needs to consult the doctor before adding cinnamon to their diet.
Some people are allergic to cinnamon and cause symptoms like mouth sores, gum and tongue swelling, white patches when consumed in larger amounts.
Cinnamon contains a compound called cinnamaldehyde which creates allergic reactions when consumed in large quantities. However, it can only happen if you are allergic to cinnamon, but it may not cause any imminent threat.
Low Blood Sugar
Cinnamon has unique properties of lowering blood sugar and controls the production of insulin. These properties make it a very important anti-diabetic agent in lowering blood sugar.
However, it may have adverse effects on non-diabetic people if consumed in a very large amount. An individual with normal blood sugar or slightly lower blood sugar may have a deep impact on cinnamon consumption. It may restrict body movement may cause paralysis.
Increased Risk of Cancer
Cinnamon contains the compound coumarin and its large intake may increase the risk of cancer. Since it is already known to cause liver damage and may result in liver cancer.
Animal studies have shown that the impact of large coumarin intake may cause cancer and may alter the DNA over a prolonged period of huge consumption. However, more studies need to be carried out to establish this phenomenon on the human being.
The key takeaway here from this is Cinnamon might help in some of the disorders however it may have some severe side effects. It is always advisable to take medical opinion before the inclusion of Cinnamon in our daily diet. “Eat Healthy Stay Healthy”.