Medicinal Properties of Common Spices: Cinnamon and Paprika
Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum. Throughout history, the medical properties of cinnamon has been well known. In the ancient times, medicinal concoctions for coughs and sore throats contained cinnamon as a main ingredient. The spice was also used as remedy for stomach problems like cramps, spasms. indigestion, diarrhea and flatulence as well as an appetite booster. In folk and traditional medicine, it is believed that cinnamon has healing properties over rheumatism and other inflammations because it contains cinnamaldehyde that promotes anti-inflammatory, anti-clotting and anti-spasmodic properties.
Modern studies show that cinnamon extracts, due to the presence of eugenol, are both anti-fungal and anti-bacterial as it fights the fungus Candida albicans and the Helicobacter pylori bacterium. The fungus causes yeast infection while the bacterium is responsible for several stomach ailments. Also, cinnamon helps in food preservation as it inhibits the propagation of E coli and Salmonella - both food-borne bacteria.
But the most significant medical finding about cinnamon could be the presence of procyanidins which has shown the ability to inhibit the growth of cultured tumor cells.
Studies show that paprika, the orangey, reddish spice that comes from a type of sweet red pepper known as the paprika pepper (Capsicum annum), contains a generous amount of vitamin C. In fact, it has more of that vitamin compared to tomatoes and citrus fruits such as oranges. But paprika does not boast of vitamin C alone as it also rich in vitamins A, E and K.
It has been determined that paprika is both a stimulant or energy booster and an antibacterial agent. Also, it is believed that the spice can be used to promote saliva and stomach acid production which in turn promote better digestion. And scientific research aside, some cultures have been using paprika to regulate blood pressure