Saturday, March 28, 2009

The Many Health Uses of Cinnamon

There are many foods, herbs, spices and common kitchen items that have other uses besides the common ones that we keep them in our kitchens for. Cinnamon is one of these. I have known for a long time of its usefulness in diabetes and thought it would be interesting to see how many other uses have been found for it.

I was very surprised at how large the list was.

Cinnamon and Diabetes

Regarding the use of cinnamon with diabetes the story goes that it was noticed that eating apple pie caused significant improvements in blood glucose levels. Eventually the scientists found that the magic ingredient was cinnamon. Subsequent studies have found that using between 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon each day can help to reduce the blood glucose levels. It seems that the cinnamon helps the receptors in the cells to respond more efficiently to insulin which helps to process glucose in the blood more efficiently. Some of the studies looking at how cinnamon helps diabetes found that it also helps in the control of cholesterol and that triglyceride levels can be reduced by as much as 20% .

The List
  • insulin control - check levels often to guard against hypoglycemia
  • cholesterol control
  • cough - chew and swallow a pinch of powdered cinnamon
  • dyspepsia
  • digestive problems
  • relieves nausea and vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • antibacterial
  • anti fungal
  • antiviral
  • suppresses E. coli, staphylococcus and candida albicans
  • uterine stimulant - in pregnancy use only in normal food quantities in breastfeeding also as it can decrease the secretion of milk
  • anti-clotting action protects against heart disease
  • boost brain function and alertness
  • strong antioxidant activity - ground cinnamon had the 2nd highest antioxidant capacity out of 16 tested seasonings, beaten only by cloves.
  • reduced blood pressure in rats
  • organic bug repellent on plants - put liquid soap and cinnamon in a spray bottle

    Cinnamon combined with honey has been used for the following things:

  • arthritis - morning and night 1 cup of hot water with 2 spoons of honey and 1 small teaspoon cinnamon powder
  • colds - 1 tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon powder for 3 days
  • upset stomach
  • heart disease - reduction of cholesterol in the arteries
  • immune system
  • indigestion
  • influenza
  • pimples - mix 3 tablespoons honey and 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder into a paste. Apply at night and wash off in morning.
  • skin infections - apply paste of equal parts honey and cinnamon powder - eczema, ringworm other skin infections
  • weight loss 1/2 hour before breakfast, on an empty stomach, and at night before sleeping drink honey and cinnamon powder boiled in 1 cup of water.
  • fatigue
  • bad breath - gargle with one teaspoon honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water
  • insect bites - 1 part honey to 2 parts lukewarm water add a teaspoon cinnamon powder to make a paste and massage on the itching bite
  • hair loss - apply paste of hot olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey, 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder leave for 15 minutes then wash hair.

    I must say that I have not personally tried all of these but it is interesting to see how many different uses have been attributed to cinnamon.

    Two Types of Cinnamon

    There are two types of cinnamon and it is important to know the difference. Most cinnamon sold in USA and Canada is cassia otherwise known as Chinese cinnamon. This is different, but regarded as a substitute, to true cinnamon which is
    cinnarmomum zeylanicum of Ceylon. Cassia contains coumarin which is a blood thinner and can be dangerous if used to excess. Therefore it is important to know exactly which cinnamon is available to you before using in in larger than normal quantities.
    Ceylon cinnamon, if tested with a drop of tincture of iodine, is little affected but if put on cassia powder a deep blue black colour is produced. The one I tested in Australia was Ceylon cinnamon.

    If you know of any other uses of cinnamon please share them by leaving a comment.
    If you would like some tips or information on a particular topic or on anything about this article please let me know by leaving a comment and I will see what I can find for you.

    Keep in good health


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