What is Cinnamon?
Cinnamon is a small tree that is commonly found in South Asia and the Middle East region. The cinnamon that we typically purchase in our supermarkets is actually the bark of this tree, either sold as sticks or ground into a powder. The two most popular types of cinnamon are Ceylon and Cassia, each of which are derived from different trees.
What are the Benefits of Cinnamon?
Cinnamon has extremely high anti-oxidant activity, and the oil of cinnamon has strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Cinnamon is also a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium. As a result, it has been used as an effective home remedy for:
- Reducing blood sugar levels and treating Type 2 Diabetes.
- Lowering cholesterol.
- Aiding digestion.
- Treating diarrhea.
- Curing the common cold.
- Reducing arthritis pain.
- Boosting memory and cognitive function.
- Treating toothaches.
- Eliminating bad breath.
- Curing headaches and migraine pain.
Uses of Cinnamon
Home Remedy for Arthritis
Cinnamon has recently been shown to act as a natural remedy for Arthritis pain.
Home Remedy for Diabetes
Research suggests that cinnamon may help treat Type 2 Diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels and increasing the amount of insulin production in the body.
Home Remedy for Reducing Cholesterol
Recent studies have shown that consuming small amounts of cinnamon can help reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad one). Simply eat half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder daily. The cinnamon can be added as a mild sweetener to coffee or tea.
Home Remedy for Eliminating Headaches and Migraine Pain
Home Remedy for Coughs and the Common Cold
Chinese medicine has long used cinnamon as a natural remedy for coughs and the common cold. A simple herbal remedy for treating a sore throat is the following:
- Add a cinnamon stick to boiling water.
- Let boil for 2 minutes.
- Remove the cinnamon stick.
- Use the cinnamon water for any herbal tea, such as green tea.
- Drink this tea two times per day. If the cold persists for longer than 3 days, consult your doctor.
Home Remedy for Toothaches
Cinnamon has been known to help relieve toothache pain. Simply make a paste using five teaspoons of honey mixed with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Apply a small amount of this paste directly onto the aching tooth 2 or 3 times daily until the pain is relieved. You can store any extra paste in a small container at room temperature.
What are the Side Effects of Cinnamon?
Some recent studies in Europe have shown that cinnamon derived from the Cassia plant contains a toxic compound known as Coumarin. This compound is known to cause liver and kidney damage in high concentrations. Since the powdered cinnamon that we purchase in our supermarkets is typically derived from the Cassia plant, it is important to avoid consuming high doses of it.
Since cinnamon has an anti-clotting effect on the blood, caution should also be exercised when it is used in combination with other blood-thinning products such as aspirin. Large quantities of cinnamon should also be avoided during pregnancy due to the possibility of adverse effects on the uterus.
Anyone that is currently taking medication for controlling blood sugar levels or blood thinners should consult their doctor before using cinnamon as a regular supplement.
Where and How to Buy Cinnamon
The powdered cinnamon that we commonly use as a spice is typically Cassia cinnamon, and can be found in most grocery stores. It can also be purchased in stick form. Ceylon cinnamon is typically more expensive than Cassia cinnamon, and is therefore usually only available in specialty stores.
It is usually only available in stick form. While both types are known for their therapeutic effects, the Ceylon cinnamon is slightly sweeter and is therefore considered to be of higher quality.
Many health food and nutrition stores also sell Cinnamon in a capsule form, which simplifies the consumption process (see below).