Cinnamon is a spice that is fragrant, sweet and warm. The cinnamon tree is very versatile. Its fruits, leaves and bark are used for preparing various dishes. Cinnamon itself is the bark of this tree. After being peeled & dried the bark rolls into a tubular shape and is called a quill. It is available as cinnamon sticks in shape of quills or as grounded & subsequently powdered.
There are over a hundred varieties of cinnamon. The most popular commercially are ‘Ceylon Cinnamon’, or true cinnamon, and ‘Chinese Cinnamon’, or cassia. Both the variants are very similar to each other, however the Ceylon type is acknowledged to be more subtle and flavored. It is relatively rare and generally costs more in the continental US and the European region.
What is its nutrient value
Cinnamon is packed with vital nutrients. It contains three significant essential oils. They are cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl alcohol. Another chief medicinal component is epicatechin. Cinnamon is a potent antioxidant. Additionally, it is an antibacterial and an antimicrobial.
A teaspoon of cinnamon powder contains 0.33 milligrams of manganese, 0.76 milligrams of iron and 24.56 milligrams of calcium. Further, it is source of carbohydrates, sugar, soluble & insoluble fiber, important vitamins, vital minerals, fatty acids and amino acids. It also has anti-inflammatory properties.
What are the health benefits derived from cinnamon
The Mayo Clinic believes that cinnamon can lessen the LDL count in-directly, by manipulating the processing of sugar & fat. Yet, it has been observed that cinnamon decreases triglyceride, LDL-C and total cholesterol levels.
Cinnamon has cinnamaldehyde and eugenol. Nutraceuticals formulated with these regulate the blood sugar and restrict its supply to cancer cells. Thereby, the spice inhibits melanomas, gastric cancers and malignant tumors.
Cinnamon assists with insulin resistance and thus, treats type 2 diabetes. True cinnamon is especially preferred as it has lesser coumarin, a substance that damages the liver. Studies are evaluating if a link exists between pre-diabetes and cinnamon.
Cinnamon has a high percentage of manganese that forms blood, bones and other connective tissue. Deficiency of manganese in association with excess dairy products, compromises bone health and could result in osteoporosis.
Cinnamon aids in cognitive impairment resulting from Alzheimer’s disease. Cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin, the two substances present in cinnamon might guard against this disease.
Cinnamon has been the subject of little investigation concerning Parkinson’s disease. However, animal trials have concluded that use of this spice reverses the bio-mechanical, anatomical and cellular changes that occur due to this disease.
Cinnamon directly impacts alertness / memory / cognition. It speeds reaction times and enhances recall. Cinnamon has been observed to improve alertness / concentration and decrease frustration / helplessness while driving.
Cinnamon is used to treat attention deficit disorder. This disorder manifests as dyslexia during childhood and parents are increasingly relying on this alternative cure. A study in Taiwan used cinnamon oil in aromatherapy for managing this condition.
Cinnamon exudes a smell that is beneficial for managing depression, reducing irritability and enhancing mood. More potent results can be derived by using cinnamon incense sticks in the immediate environment.
Cinnamon oil is one amongst the three essential oils that prevent Candida arising due to drug-resistant yeast infection. This oil is effectual against Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis and Candida krusei.
Cinnamon decreases the discomfort arising due to irritable bowel syndrome. To achieve this, it destroys the responsible bacteria and heals the gastro-intestinal infections thereby facilitating the gastric fluid to function optimally.
Other benefits derived from cinnamon are,
– It is a potent antibacterial that guards against intestinal microbes.
– It facilitates metabolism and assists in losing weight.
– Its oil is effective against various oral disorders.
– It facilitates circulation and boosts oxygenation to combat infections.
– It is an antimicrobial that guards against E Coli, L Innocua and Salmonella.
– It has vital antioxidant properties on account of the volatile oils and oleoresins.
– It guards against the symptoms of pre menstrual syndrome.
– It is a warming agent and as massage oil, reduces muscular pain.
– It is a natural food preservative, insect repellant and neutralizes odors.