Health Benefits and Uses of Cinnamon

The dried leaves and inner bark of the cinnamon tree are used in powder or "stick" form as a popular, fragrant and aromatic spice. A native of Asia, cinnamon was known for its medicinal properties in ancient times in different parts of the world. It is believed that the bark of cinnamon was used by physicians in Rome and China as early as 2700 BC. The Indians recognized its therapeutic value in the eighth century. The Jewish religious text, the Torah, is supposed to contain the earliest mention of the spice, while it is also mentioned in the Bible.

Composition and Uses of Cinnamon

Cinnamon contains a number of nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, fat and fiber, vitamins like A and C, as well as thiamin, niacin and riboflavin of the B group. It is an excellent source of manganese, while other minerals include iron, sodium, potassium, calcium and phosphorus. The powerful essential oil derived from the leaves is eugenol, similar to clove oil. Finally, cinnamon contains an antioxidant, glutathione.

Cinnamon has diverse uses. As a culinary ingredient, cinnamon is popular in Indian, Sri Lankan and other Asian cuisine to flavor some rice dishes, cakes, confectionery, sweets and liqueurs. Ground or powdered cinnamon is used for spice mixtures like curry powder. Cinnamon is also used to make herbal teas.

It also has uses other than culinary ones. It is an ingredient in dental and pharmaceutical preparations. Due to the antimicrobial properties, it can be used as a preservative. Cinnamon is used in home remedies to alleviate headaches and acne, and as a mouth freshener. Finally, it is also used in perfumes and incense.

Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Like some other common spices, cinnamon has many health benefits due to its antimicrobial, antibacterial and antioxidant properties.

- Cinnamon has been used in traditional Asian medicine to boost blood circulation and treat high blood pressure.
- It is effective in lowering cholesterol and triglycerides and blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has a flavonoid which helps glucose to metabolize.
- It is a stimulant which prevents nervous tension and improves the memory. Smelling cinnamon is reputed to boost brain activity.
- In combination with pepper powder and honey, cinnamon is effective in treating sore throat, influenza, malaria and cold. This is because of its antiseptic properties.
- Cinnamon is a carminative which relieves flatulence, nausea, diarrhea and indigestion.

Cinnamon is an ancient and popular culinary ingredient with preventive and curative properties and many health benefits. It has a number of nutrients, including an essential oil and antioxidant. Since cinnamon is a stimulant, carminative and antiseptic, it is a beneficial addition to the daily diet.

Cinnamon has received a boost in attention in recent years, as health researchers and nutritionists have begun to realize the many amazing healthful properties of this spice. For starters, cinnamon is an excellent source of antioxidants, specifically polyphenols. Cinnamon is a great source of fiber, calcium, and manganese, and cinnamon oil is credited with both antibacterial and anti-fungal properties. All these potent ingredients give cinnamon a whole host of healthy benefits, from reducing blood sugar, aiding cardiovascular health, and lowering cholesterol, to assisting in digestion, settling the stomach, relieving headaches, and freshening breath. The scent of cinnamon has also been linked to increased levels of alertness.

Cinnamon can be purchased in many different forms; as cinnamon sticks, ground powder, an essential oil, or even as a dietary supplement. Adding cinnamon to the diet is quite easy. It goes well with many other foods. Sprinkle some on toast, into a bowl of oatmeal or a cup of tea, mix with peanut butter – the possibilities are endless. Just one caveat to keep in mind – overuse of cinnamon can have negative effects, especially for those on blood-thinning medication.

Cinnamon and Honey: Are They Better Together?

Both honey and cinnamon contain many healthy properties and benefits in their own right. However, there have been claims that when combined, their healing potential and healthy benefits are greatly increased. Is these any truth in this claim?

Honey is a wonderful sweetener, energy booster, and natural remedy. As a sweetener, it is often preferred over other forms of sugar, as its chemical composition keeps blood sugar on a more even level than other sugars, which often spike the blood sugar upon consumption. Honey is digested quickly into the body's system because it contains glucose, which makes honey a great quick energy supplier. In addition to this, honey is easily digestible and suitable for those who suffer from upset stomachs.

The many healthful properties of honey include antiseptic, antibacterial, antimicrobial, and anti-inflammatory properties. Placing honey on a wound may help to prevent the growth of bacteria, help the wound heal, and keep it clean. Honey can aid in reducing swelling and/or pain related to arthritis or toothache. Sipping a hot beverage containing honey can soothe sore throats. Honey is excellent as a moisturizer for skin and hair. There is also evidence that honey may also support the circulatory system. The best part is that many of these remedies can be prepared and used in the comfort of home.

One important side-note to keep in mind is that in order to receive the optimum benefits, consuming raw, unprocessed honey is the best option. Honey that has been pasteurized loses all of the healthy bacteria that are responsible for so many of these properties. Raw honey can be found in local health-food stores and even in some grocery stores.

Benefits of Cinnamon and Honey

Both cinnamon and honey contain so many healthy properties in and of themselves that it's not too hard to imagine that a combination of the two would only increase the health benefits. It's also interesting to note that they share many of the same health benefits. For example, both honey and cinnamon claim to have antimicrobial properties. So is it too much of a stretch to say that combining forces only means greater health benefits? Here are just a few of the claims that have been made regarding the benefits of a combination of honey and cinnamon.

- Cinnamon honey may help to fight cardiovascular disease by restoring the health of clogged arteries.
- A paste of one part honey, two parts water, and a teaspoon of cinnamon can help ease arthritis pain and treat itchy inset bites or bee stings.
- A combination of cinnamon, honey, and olive oil applied to the scalp 15 minutes before showering can help combat hair-loss.
- Mixing a paste of one teaspoon cinnamon and five teaspoons honey for use on aching teeth can provide relief.
- Drinking a hot beverage containing two tablespoons honey, three teaspoons cinnamon, and 16 ounces of water can help to lower cholesterol.
- A mixture of one tablespoon honey to a quarter teaspoon cinnamon can help clear the sinuses and boost immunity.
- Consuming equal parts honey and cinnamon can settle an upset stomach.
- A paste of honey and cinnamon can also be used to treat skin conditions like acne, eczema, or ringworm.
- A mixture of one teaspoon honey, half a teaspoon cinnamon taken before breakfast as a hot beverage can possibly fight obesity as well as prevent fat accumulation.
- Gargling with a mixture of honey and cinnamon helps to fight bad breath.

It's hard to separate fact from fiction. Could cinnamon and honey really prevent weight gain? Not likely, unless accompanied by a healthy diet and exercise. Can cinnamon and honey help provide relief from a cold, or help settle and upset stomach? Maybe so. It's almost certain that a combination of cinnamon and honey is no miracle substance or cure-all, but it's also equally evident that using one or both of these items, whether separately or together, can provide a number of healthy benefits that can't be ignored. Enjoy cinnamon and/or honey in moderation in a daily diet, and try some of these home remedies. Just remember that it's a healthy lifestyle that reaps the benefits, so don't sacrifice fruits and veggies or daily exercise routine, merely make these delicious foods a part of an already healthy lifestyle.

Add Cinnamon to Your Diabetes Diet Plan & Reduce Blood Sugar

How to use cinnamon to control diabetes? It has been proven that cinnamon improves your body's ability to obey insulin and take up blood sugar, causing diabetes in type 2 diabetes to be controlled better.

It was through a study of 60 people with type 2 diabetes that it was found that the use of cinnamon could reduce blood sugar levels. Over a 40 day period, the 60 people were split into two groups, where one group received cinnamon and the other was given a placebo capsule (dummy pill). At the end of the study researchers found that the cinnamon group's blood sugar levels had fallen by 18 to 29 percent. An awesome result.

How To Use Cinnamon In Your Diabetes Diet

Cinnamon can be used to spice up a variety of dishes, it can be used in baking, sprinkled on breakfast cereals and toast or drunk as a tea.

Use 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon 3 times a day.

The easiest and quickest way is to drink it as a tea.

Cinnamon Tea

You can buy cinnamon teabags and make a cup of tea, or you can add 1/2 a teaspoon of pre-ground cinnamon to a cup of hot milk or water with 1 teaspoon of splenda (sugar substitute) to sweeten.

Other Ideas
* = Sprinkle cinnamon
** = Add to cooking process

Add cinnamon to any of these dishes below or to any of your own special meals.

* Oatmeal cooked with apples
* Oats porridge
* Any fruit yogurt
* Fruit Smoothie
* Scrambled eggs
* Toasted multigrain bread x2 slices
* Tossed green salad
* Roast potatoes

** Creamy Tomato Pasta
** Wheat Pancakes
** Gravy
** Soup
** Seasoning for meat, lamb, chicken, pork and fish

Which Type of Cinnamon

There are many different varieties of cinnamon but you will probably find the more common known Chinese cinnamon called "cassia" in US stores. It has a strong spicy-sweet flavor. The other popular cinnamon comes from Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon). It is softer and less sweet than the cassia and can be bought pre-ground, as stick, quills or rolls.

Cinnamon also comes in capsule form and you can take 500 milligrams twice daily. However, please note that cinnamon supplements, are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in terms of quality and effectiveness.

NB: The Chinese 'cassia' cinnamon was the one used in the trials to control diabetes blood sugar levels.

Recipe: Delicious Oatmeal Cinnamon Pancakes

This easy recipe calls for simple ingredients from around the house and makes delicious pancakes with a healthy twist.

These pancakes are easy to make, filling, and provide all of the good nutrition of oatmeal and oat bran without tasting like oatmeal or having too much of an oatmeal texture. Kids will love them and they will also appeal to traditional pancake lovers.

Health Benefits of Oatmeal and Oat Bran

Oats and oatmeal have been shown to provide all kinds of health benefits. They provide a significant source of dietary fiber and have been shown to low cholesterol for better heart health. Eating oatmeal and oat bran also helps to slow the rise of glucose in the blood and provide a better balance to blood sugar levels. Of course, they also help with digestion and can aid in weight loss when combined with diet and exercise. Eating oatmeal regularly can contribute to an overall healthy lifestyle.

Ingredients and Preparation
This recipe is designed to make four to six large, thick pancakes, but can be modified according to how many people are being served, and personal preferences.

Preparation time varies, but is usually about 20 to 25 minutes. Ingredients needed are:

  • 1 Cup Raw Whole Grain Quaker Oats (available at most grocery stores)
  • 3/4 Cup Complete Pancake Mix
  • ½ Cup 2% Milk
  • ¼ Cup Water
  • Cinnamon
  • Sugar

1. Butter, spray, or oil the bottom of a medium-sized frying pan and place over medium heat.
2. Combine the oats and pancake mix in a large bowl. Add a generous amount of cinnamon and several pinches of sugar.
3. Pour in the milk and water, and stir the batter for about 30-45 seconds until the mixture is thick.
4. Pour a small amount of “tester” batter into the pan and cook. These pancakes take a little bit longer to cook than a regular pancake, so it may take two to three minutes on both sides for the pancake to be done.
5. Make sure the pancake is the correct thickness, and not too runny. If the pancakes are too runny, they will taste more “oaty” and lack fluffiness. Go back and add a little more pancake mix, not more oats, to the batter if it seems to be too runny.
6. Continue pouring batter into the pan, cooking each pancake two to three minutes on both sides, checking on them often.

Serve warm with syrup and butter. They are also great with jam, preserves, or fruit. Strawberries, blueberries, and bananas go best with these pancakes.


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