Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a natural medicine. In fact in antiquity, this spice was so highly treasured that it was considered more precious than gold. It is made from the brown bark of the cinnamon tree and is available in a dry tubular form (known as feathers or sticks) or as a ground powder. Cinnamon has a pleasant aroma and a sweet, warm taste. There are approximately one hundred varieties of cinnamon.
The key health benefits come from the essential oils found in the crust. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl alcohol.
Cinnamon also contains potent antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-infective and anti-coagulation properties. It is an exceptional source of antioxidants, polyphenols and minerals like calcium, manganese, iron and dietary fiber – all essential nutrients that help keep your body healthy. In addition, it is a natural source of sugars, carbohydrates, fatty acids and amino acids.
7 MEDICINAL CINNAMON BENEFITS
1. CONTROL YOUR BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS
Cinnamon has important benefits for people with type 2 diabetes. It helps your body respond to insulin, thus normalizing blood sugar levels. Certain cinnamon compounds stimulate insulin receptors and inhibit an enzyme that inactivates them, enhancing the ability of cells to use glucose. Regularly consuming less than half a teaspoon per day lowers blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It is easy to incorporate into your daily diet. You can simply add it over your oatmeal or morning cereal, or add a pinch to your afternoon tea or coffee.
2. INCREASES BRAIN FUNCTION
Cinnamon has been shown to greatly improve mental alertness. Just smell the wonderful sweet smell of this spice increases brain activity! The fragrance can improve cognitive processing and greatly improve the functioning of the brain related to attention, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visomotor speed while working on a computer-based program. People who suffer from anxiety or nervousness can drink cinnamon tea for its soothing properties that really calm the mind.
3. PROTECTS AGAINST HEART DISEASE
Because of its various anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon is very effective in protecting the heart and surrounding arteries from damage and infection. Many foods that people consume snacks today contain unhealthy cholesterol fats and are known to clog arteries. The plaque and toxins that accumulate over time can lead to cardiovascular disease and other threats to the heart. Cinnamon helps fight “bad” cholesterol, significantly lowering total cholesterol levels. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help heal inflammation in the internal tissues and reduce the risk of heart attacks and heart disease.
4. IMPROVES COLON FUNCTION
Cinnamon is an excellent source of fiber, calcium and mineral manganese. The combination of calcium and fiber can improve the functionality of the colon. Both calcium and fiber bind to bile salts and help remove them from the body. By eliminating bile, fiber helps prevent the damage that certain bile salts can cause to colon cells, thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer. Dietary fiber is also very useful in relieving symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome including diarrhea and constipation.
5. HELPS PREVENT CANCER
Studies have shown that cinnamon can reduce the proliferation of cancer cells, which includes a promise for the prevention and treatment of cancer sufferers. According to research conducted at the University of Texas, cinnamon can minimize the increase of cancer cells in the body and, when regularly included in the diet, can help prevent cancer. Cinnamon also helps to reduce the growth rate of cancer cells from leukemia and lymphoma.
6. IMPROVED BLOOD CIRCULATION
Cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin that has anticoagulant properties. This helps improve blood circulation throughout the body. However, it is important to keep in mind that too much coumarin can lead to liver damage and malfunction, so it is best to consume cinnamon in small amounts.
7. HELPS TREAT NEURODEGENERATIVE DISEASES
Cinnamon has potent anti-inflammatory properties that reduce the constant inflammation of the brain’s internal tissues, which protects it from numerous neurological disorders. Cinnamon may also slow or delay the onset of a variety of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors, and meningitis.