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We all know that cinnamon is a spice, and we use it almost every day, but how exactly do we get cinnamon? This spice is obtained from several trees from the genus Cinnamomum, from its inner bark. This genus is a part of the Lauraceae family, well known for its usage as aromatic oils, and in the aromatherapy. These are very important evergreen trees, and one can find them in Asia, Oceania, South, Central, and North America.
Cinnamon, Healthy and Handy Spice
A specific specie called Cinnamomum verum is perceived by many as the only specie from which the true cinnamon can be obtained. This small evergreen tree is native to Sri Lanka, and is known also as Ceylon cinnamon or Sri Lanka cinnamon. Today, cinnamon is obtained from many related species, and is referred to as “cassia”, this, in fact, is a cinnamon made for international commerce.
The fact that cinnamon was mentioned in the Hebrew Bible, tells us how important the spice was. All great ancient civilizations favored this spice and knew its value and importance. One can find the data that it was imported in ancient Egypt, and that it was used in Roman and Greek civilization as well, not only to sweeten the food, but as a remedy as well.
It was thought to be a gift from Gods, and it had a very high price on the market. In ancient times, doctors used cinnamon to treat kidney problems, common colds, and to cure snakebites and freckles.
Sweet and Pungent, yet So Powerful Spice
The essential oil is certainly the most important ingredient found in cinnamon. This oil makes up to 1% of its composition. The taste of the cinnamon comes from important ingredients such as cinnamic aldehyde or cinnamaldehyde. In addition, cinnamon has eugenol, linalool, methyl chavicol, cinnamate and beta-caryophyllene, and contains calcium, iron and manganese. To make a cinnamon, the bark is roughly pounded, macerated in seawater, and distillated.
As for its nutritional value, 10 grams of cinnamon has 0.4 g of protein, 8.06 g of carbohydrates, 0.12 g of fat, and 103.4 kJ. The oil of cinnamon is known to have strong anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
Cinnamon for Diabetes
Numerous and the most detailed researches have been done in order to prove the cinnamon’s efficiency in treating diabetes. During these researches, scientists used two types of cinnamon: Cinnamomum cassia and Chinese Cinnamomum aromaticum.
According to these researches, cinnamon is the spice that can reduce blood sugar level, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and cholesterol in type 2 diabetes. For, instance, reducing the level of LDL cholesterol can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
Only one teaspoon of cinnamon a day can produce all of these benefits. In particular, cinnamon improves blood sugar regulation by increasing glucose metabolism about 20-fold and reduces sharp rises in blood sugar after the meals, thus improve the effectiveness of insulin. Due to the bioactive compounds, cinnamon is qualified as insulin substitute.
Polyphenols, that cinnamon contains, act as antioxidants and insulin sensitizers, thus cinnamon enhances antioxidant defense. Another important compound in cinnamon called proanthocyanidin, that is in fact bioflavonoid, can alter insulin activity in fat cells.
Cinnamon for Arthritis
In a word, arthritis is a very painful condition, caused by the swelling of the joints. When one is suffering from arthritis, besides the severe pain and stiffness, one’s movement is limited, thus the probability of causing another serious condition is very high. Because there are almost 100 types of arthritis, almost every third person suffers from it, although the level of the problem differs from person to person according to the age, occupation and general lifestyle and daily habits. Using certain herbs and food can help reduce the symptoms, and cinnamon is surely one lucrative spice. When mixed with honey, cinnamon is excellent in reducing the stiffness and pain. One cup of hot water, mixed with two tablespoons of honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon is the natural remedy. One should drink it twice a day, in the morning and at night. Cinnamon powder with one tablespoon of honey is another alternative.
Cinnamon for Migraines and Headaches
Headaches and migraines are common painful medicinal condition. Nowadays, due to many different reasons, every person suffers from it. The best way to treat it is to use natural medicine. Cinnamon mixed with water is one of the oldest remedies. When mixed, until it forms a paste, the mixture is rubbed on the forehead and the back of the neck. Another possibility is to drink mixed cinnamon, honey, and water.
Cinnamon for Common Colds and Cough
Due to the anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon can ease sore throats and treat common colds, and cough. One tablespoon of honey and ¼ tablespoon of cinnamon is powerful remedy for coughs and colds. In addition, this is a natural remedy perfect for children. Even if one does not have a cold or cough, it is healthy to have this mixture once or twice a week.
Cinnamon, in particular Cinnamomum verum, is a remedy for nausea, menstrual cramps, diarrhea, congestion, Candida yeast, and various bacteria as well.
Daily Dosage of Cinnamon
It is safe to take cinnamon because no severe side effects have been documented. However, cinnamon may cause sour throat and irritation of the mouth and lips. On the other hand, daily dosage is important. Extremely high intake of cinnamon can be toxic, thus 2 – 4 grams of powder a day is appropriate. As a treatment, cinnamon is not recommended for pregnant women or the women who are breastfeeding.
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