Health Benefits of Cinnamon - the Bark Spice
Latin Name: Cinnamomum sp
In India, it is called Dalchini.
Cinnamon is obtained from a variety of species of the tree Cinnamomum. It is a spice that is obtained from the bark of the tree. When the bark is dried it curls into a tubular shape. The outer bark is discarded and only the inner bark is dried to form the tubular 'quills'. This is the cinnamon spice.
Though Cinnamon is cultivated all over Southeast Asia, the cinnamon tree is a native of Sri Lanka, the erstwhile Ceylon, and is got from the Cinnamomum verum tree. It is also called the Ceylon cinnamon or true cinnamon and is the best variety of cinnamon that is available.
Another variety of cinnamon is called 'cassia' and has a stronger taste and aroma than the Ceylon variety. Cassia variety is obtained from the Cinnamomum aromaticum tree and is more popular in the United States.
One of the oldest spices known to man, cinnamon finds reference in the Bible. Traditionally used to embalm the dead in Egypt, it was also used in medicine and as a flavouring.
So popular and much in demand it was that it was a heavily traded commodity between Europe and the Near East in those times.
This hub will reveal some facts about cinnamon.
Facts About Cinnamon
The cinnamon tree is an evergreen tree. Though native to Ceylon - present-day Sri Lanka - it grows well in other tropical countries like India, Brazil, Vietnam, Egypt, West Indies, Java etc. It grows well in other subtropical areas too but cannot bear freezing cold or even extended periods of cool weather.
The tree grows from 20 to 40 feet in height, having large oblong leaves, fragrant white flowers and a dark purple berry-like fruit with a single seed inside. The bark is a beautiful golden brown colour. The tree is grown from the seed.
It is also grown as an ornamental tree because of the beautiful orange-red bark and the golden brown tender leaves that sprout initially.
The tree remains productive for about 45-50 years.
Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
Cinnamon Essential Oil
Both the leaves and the bark provide cinnamon essential oil.
The essential oil from the bark is a golden coloured, hot, aromatic oil. The taste and smell are due to the presence of cinnamaldehyde which makes up about 60% of the oil. Cinnamaldehyde is an anti-microbial, anti-fungal, anti-pest in action. It is also anti-cancer in action.
The oil produced from the leaves contains the chemical compound eugenol in large amounts. Eugenol has antiseptic, anaesthetic properties and kills cancer cells.
Cinnamon leaf oil is safer, cheaper and less caustic than the oil obtained from the bark.
Benefits Of Cinnamon Oil
- It is used as an insecticide as the leaf oil kills the mosquito larvae and also drives away insects like mosquitoes. You can add to lotion to repel them
- In cooking, it is added to provide flavour.
- It can be used as a room freshener. Mix it with water and spray.
- Because of its anti-fungal, anti-microbial properties, it is used to control infections.
- It is used to control mites in honeybees.
- When diluted with water it can be used as a mouth wash to relieve infections and provide a fresher breath.
- The leaf oil reduces menstrual cramps, relieves stress and lifts up the mood.
To 3 cups of water add 1 tsp cinnamon. Boil. Cool a bit and add 4 tsp honey. Mix well.
Drink 1/4 cup of this brew 3 times a day.
It gives immense energy, keeps the skin supple and young.
Recipe For Cinnamon Chai
To 500 ml milk and 500 ml water add 6 tsp tea powder. Heat till it boils then keep to simmer.
Now add 1 tsp cinnamon powder, 1 tsp black pepper powder, 1 tsp fresh ginger, ground well, 1/2 tsp ground cardamon and 1/2 tsp roughly crushed cloves.
Simmer for 15 - 20 minutes. Strain and add honey as per need.
Uses Of Cinnamon
Though principally used as a spice, it is also used in :
- Making chocolates in Mexico.
- In making sweet dishes, the sweeter variety, the Ceylon variety is used. The cassia variety, the stronger of the two, is used in desserts and buns, tea and cocoa, candies and liqueurs.
- It is also used to flavour cereals, fruits, etc.
- Cinnamon is also used in making soups, sauces, pickles, curry powder.
- Also used in making perfumes and fragrances.
Some nutrition facts about cinnamon are:
- Cinnamon is very rich in manganese, is a good source of fibre, calcium and iron.
- It contains good amounts of Vitamin A, E, K, B6 and potassium.
- It is low in sodium.
Most importantly, it has an extremely high ORAC value of 267536 THE, hundreds of times that of apples.
Cinnamon spice (Cinnamonum verum)
Nutritional value per 100 g.
(Source: USDA National Nutrient data base)
Percentage of RDA
6 micro gm
31.2 micro gm
112 micro gm
129 micro gm
222 micro gm
15 micro gm
Health Benefits Of Cinnamon
Some health facts about cinnamon are :
- Cinnamon lowers LDL cholesterol, regulates blood sugar and is beneficial for persons with type 2 diabetes.
- Reduces the growth and spread of cancer in leukaemia and lymphoma.
- Reduces and relieves arthritic and rheumatic inflammation and pain.
- Cinnamon boosts memory and recall function and is a good brain tonic.
- Purifies blood, clears pimples and other skin infections.
- Prevents clotting of blood as it keeps the blood thin, improves blood circulation, reduces risks of heart attack, reduces blood pressure.
- It is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and antiviral.
- Helps in alleviating flu, cold, congestion.
- Improves milk production in lactating women.
- Acts as a contraceptive preventing conception after childbirth as it delays menses.
- Is a diuretic, improves urine output.
Health Benefits Of Cinnamon In Specific Health Conditions
- Lisping & Stuttering
Chewing cinnamon cures this.
- To Digest Milk
Grind cinnamon finely. Take 4 grams in the morning and 4 grams in the evening with hot milk.
- Stomachache Due To Gas
It relieves pain and increases digestive power. It should be consumed in minute quantities only.
- Take 2 gms finely ground cinnamon with water. It stops loose motions.
- 1/2 tsp of a mixture of equal quantities of powdered cinnamon and catechu taken 3 times a day stops loose motions.
- Vomiting Due To Heat
Grind cinnamon. Mix some honey and lick.
- Constipation & Indigestion
Mix equal quantities of cinnamon, dry ginger, cumin seeds and cardamom powder. Take 1/2 tsp of this mixture with hot water for relief.
Take 5 gms cinnamon, 2 cloves, 1/4 tsp dry ginger powder. Boil all these in 1 litre of water till 250 ml water remains. Divide this into 3 parts. Take 1 part 3 times a day.
Mix some ground cinnamon in water to make a paste. Apply on the forehead.
Mix 1/4 tsp cinnamon &1/4 tsp asafoetida. Grind them. Boil in 250 ml water. Cool.
Take 3 tsp of this water 3 times a day.
- Skin Problems
Mix some lemon juice in cinnamon powder to make a paste and apply.
- Cough & Bronchitis
Make a mixture of 1 tsp each of turmeric, ginger, clove, cardamom, black pepper. Mix 3 tsp of brown sugar. Grind to a powder. 1/2 tsp of this to be taken with honey 2 times daily.
Add 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder and 1 tsp honey to hot milk and drink at bedtime.
Take honey with a pinch of cinnamon powder while going to bed at night.
These are some of the health benefits of cinnamon.
Cinnamon Swirl Cookies
Cinnamon & Honey - A Healthy Combination
A very healthy combination this. Capable of curing a variety of diseases some of which are :
Relieve Arthritis Pain (study at Copenhagen University)
In a cup of hot water add 2 tsp honey and 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder. Take 3 times a day. It not only relieves pain but restores mobility in even those who cannot walk.
Control Bladder Infections
In a glass of warm water add 1 tsp honey & 2 tsp cinnamon powder before drinking.
Regulate Cholesterol Levels
Take 2 tsp honey and 3 tsp cinnamon powder. Add to 500 ml hot water. Mix & drink. It is a wonderful combination.
Take 1 tsp honey and 1/2 tsp cinnamon powder daily to boost immunity levels.
Sprinkle some cinnamon powder on 2 tbsp honey and eat before a meal. It relieves acidity and is good for digesting heavy and large meals.
To Live A Healthy Life
Drink Cinnamon tea every day. The recipe is given in the hub.
Take 1 tbsp honey with 1 tsp cinnamon powder, 3 times a day, for at least one month.
Some Side Effects Of Cinnamon
Normal levels in cooking do not give rise to any side effects with cinnamon use. Doses up to 1/2 tsp at one time are safe and tolerated well. If taking more at one time some side effects may be noted as given below.
- Skin Rashes, inflammation of the mucosal lining of the mouth and gut.
- For those on blood-thinning medications like aspirin this could cause bleeding issues.
- High doses in pregnancy can stimulate uterine contractions.
- Pure cinnamon oil can burn the skin. It must be diluted before use.
- Cinnamon in large doses can increase heart rate.
- Those on medication for high blood sugar should keep in mind that simultaneous consumption of cinnamon can reduce blood sugar levels to very low levels.
The information presented here is for information purposes only.
Please consult your health practitioner or medical doctor before using any home remedies or embarking on a new health regime or practice.
Some Recipes With Cinnamon
- How to Make Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding Cake
A spin on a traditional favorite. This dessert has a texture similar to a fruitcake and isn't goopy or custard-like. It's a very photogenic treat, but don't let the picture fool you-- this recipe is simple stuff.
- Homemade Sugar and Cinnamon Sweet Cornbread with Bak...
Delicious homemade cornbread with a touch of sweetness. Ready in 30 minutes and easier than you might think. Perfect for solitary indulgence or holiday get-togethers.
- How To Make Oatmeal Cinnamon Chip Muffins
Oatmeal muffins are one of the best muffins because they can be combined with so many other things. For instance, carob or chocolate chips, apples or pears, cinnamon chips and nuts. Try this great buttermilk soaked oatmeal muffin recipe and some of i
Cinnamon Rolls Recipe
Apple Cinnamon Cake
Cinnamon Snap Cookies
© 2012 Rajan Singh Jolly