Health Benefits of Cinnamon: The Sweet Life
Cinnamon is one of the most popular spices in the world, well known for its sweet, spicy flavor. The health benefits of cinnamon are not so well known.
Although there are numerous varieties, the studies on health have all been done with cassia. Cassia is the everyday cinnamon that you will find in any grocery store in the country. Generally just sprinkling cinnamon on your oatmeal will not give you enough of it to make a difference in your health and you will need to add capsules or tinctures to your diet.
Cinnamon Has Been Used for Centuries
The Chinese people have known about the health benefits of cinnamon for hundreds of years. They believe it increases circulation as well as having a positive impact on energy and vitality. It boosts circulation so well that it is used in the winter time to help older people keep their feet warm.
As one of the main ingredients in chai, it has been used as a relaxing after- dinner drink to help with the digestion of dairy products and fruit.
Cinnamon is used for:
- Digestive aid
- Painful menstruation
Scientific Studies on the Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Recently researchers have begun to take a new look at cinnamon. One of the studies followed sixty people with type 2 diabetes for a six week period of time. Each of the subjects in the study was given between one and six grams of cinnamon per day in pill form. Six grams is approximately one-fourth a teaspoonful.
The results showed that all of the subjects, no matter what the amount they were given, benefited from the addition of cinnamon to their diet. Blood sugar levels balanced out and cholesterol levels overall were lower.
The results, published in the Diabetes Journal showed the following:
- Total cholesterol was reduced by 12 to 26 percent
- LDL cholesterol was reduced by 7 to 27 percent
- Triglycerides were reduced by 23 to 30 percent
- Fasting blood glucose was reduced by 18 to 29 percent
Other Studies on Cinnamon
Cinnamon was shown to reduce lymphoma and other types of cancer cells. This study was done by the United States Department of Agriculture in Maryland.
At Copenhagen University a combination of cinnamon and honey was given to arthritis patients each morning before breakfast. In a short period of time the patients being studied reported significant pain relief. Many patients stated that within a month on this therapy they were walking pain free for the first time in years
In a Kansas State University lab researchers discovered that cinnamon will fight E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juice. More research is being done on the significance of this in food safety.
Other Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is also thought to be active against the following:
- Candida albicans(yeast infections)
- Helicobacter pylori (bacteria that causes ulcers)
- Anti-clotting effect on the blood
- Natural food preservative
- Smelling cinnamon essential oil boosts memory
- Protects the colon against cancer
- Protects against coronary artery disease
- Effective against head lice when the essential oil is added to shampoo
- Protects against stroke
Cinnamon Essential Oil
Cinnamon is available as an essential oil as well. It can be used as any essential oil; in a diffuser, mixed with a carrier oil for massage, or as a spray. As an essential oil cinnamon is used for:
- Low blood pressure
It is important that cinnamon oils not be taken internally because ingestion of these concentrated oils can cause death.
Drug Interactions and Cautions
A snickerdoodle cookie or cinnamon roll is not going to be enough to cause problems. For the health benefits of cinnamon, however, you will need to supplement in a higher or therapeutic dose.
If you decide to try to take therapeutic doses of cinnamon you should always talk to your health care provider first. Cinnamon in large doses can interact with the following medications:
- Diabetes medication
- Coumadin and other anti-clotting medications
You should also stay away from therapeutic doses of cinnamon if you have the following conditions:
- Bleeding disorders
- Within three weeks of surgery
Add Cinnamon to Your Diet
Adding cinnamon to your diet can be a sweet way to protect your health and help your body be at its best no matter what your age.
Be careful because many food products that have cinnamon are also high in fat, sugar and calories. A cinnamon roll won't help the state of your health no matter how much cinnamon it has in it.
Eat right, follow a healthy exercise program, and maintain a healthy lifestyle. With or without cinnamon these are just smart things to do.