The Benefits of Cinnamon & Where Cinnamon Comes From

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Where Does Cinnamon Come From?

Not many of us know about the benefits of cinnamon. This is in spite of the fact that most of us have used this traditional spice on numerous occasions. True cinnamon or the Cinnamomum Zeylanicum is the bark of a small tree which is native to Sri Lanka. However, the cinnamon that we mostly find in grocery stores is the Cassia cinnamon or the Cinnamomum cassia which is found in countries such as India. It’s interesting taste and aroma is not the only reason why it is used in cooking. In fact, various researches have actually proven the health benefits of cinnamon.

Uses of Cinnamon

The benefits of cinnamon have been known to mankind since ancient times. It was used for embalming in ancient Egypt, added to food to prevent spoiling, and during the Bubonic Plague, sponges soaked in cinnamon and cloves were placed in sick rooms. It has been found that this spice is an excellent source of manganese, dietary fiber, iron, and calcium.

The health benefits of cinnamon have been proven by the fact that German health authorities have actually approved the cinnamon bark for the treatment of mild gastrointestinal spasms, for relieving stomach indigestion, and also for stimulating appetite. And in traditional Chinese medicine, Cassia cinnamon has long been used to treat colds, nausea, diarrhea, flatulence, and even painful menstruation.

Recent research has also proven the many health benefits of cinnamon. It has been found that this bark reduces the level of fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol. Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon has been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. Although more research is required, preliminary studies have shown that cinnamon also has antibacterial and antifungal properties and is effective against urinary tract infections, yeast infections, thrush, and stomach ulcers.

And these are not the only benefits of cinnamon. Its prostaglandin-inhibiting action relieves pain. Traditionally, it is often used along with ginger to relieve cold and flu. Since it is considered to stimulate circulation, cinnamon is considered to be an effective remedy for arthritis. The catechins in cinnamon help in relieving nausea and it also aids in digestion. In fact, due to its mild astringency properties, it can be safely used for infantile diarrhea.

Tips on How to Include Cinnamon in Your Diet

You can easily reap the benefits of cinnamon by adding cinnamon powder to your daily cup of tea or adding a cinnamon stick to it. Add cinnamon to your daily diet by sprinkling it in your soups or adding it to the gravy while cooking vegetables or meat. You can also include cinnamon while baking or in your juices, toasts, cereals, and coffee.

Who Should Avoid Including Cinnamon in Their Diet?

Although there are many benefits of cinnamon, make sure that you don’t consume high quantities of this herb. Cassia cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin which, when ingested in large amounts, can lead to liver damage and thinning of the blood. It should, therefore, not be consumed by people on anti-clotting medication or by anyone who has a bleeding disorder. If you are on any diabetes medication, always make sure to consult your physician before including cinnamon as a regular part of your diet since it may cause the blood glucose levels to go down too much.

By now you must be convinced about the many health benefits of cinnamon. So, try to include this spice in your daily diet to combat chronic disorders such as diabetes or occasionally for relief in gastrointestinal disorders and respiratory problems. In moderation and under your physician’s supervision, you can actually expect to gain a lot of the many benefits of cinnamon.

References

Herb Wisdom

About.com

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