Cinnamon is the brownish colored spice that is obtained from the inner bark of specific tree species. Mostly from evergreen trees measuring 20 to 25 feet tall that emits a strong fragrance. There are three species namely Cinnamomum sp, Cinnamomum tamal, and Cinnamomum cassia. According to researchers, cinnamon ranks at the top among twenty-six most popular herbs and medicinal plants.
Cinnamon Fact Sheet)
|Scientific Name||Cinnamomum verum|
|Country of Origin||China, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar|
|Plant Height||4 to 5 feet|
|Length of Leaves||4 to 7 inches long|
|Years Nurtured before Harvesting||1 year|
|Years of Mature||3 to 4 years|
|Parts of the Plant Used||Bark|
|Color||Light and Dark Brown|
|Best Time to Grow||June to July|
Medicinal Uses & Health Benefits
High source of Antioxidants
It is a package of protective antioxidants which reduces free radical damage and slows down the aging process. The health benefits are attributed to antioxidants like flavonoids, polyphenols and phenolic acid. It has the ability to:
- Reduce multiple forms of oxidative stress
- Limit nitric oxide in the blood that causes cancer
- Treats brain disorders and heart diseases
The plant reduces inflammation, swelling and relieves soreness in the muscles. It is beneficial for pain management and curing PMS pains along with other severe allergic reactions.
It reduces several risk factors for heart diseases like high blood pressure, high levels of triglyceride, high levels of cholesterol, stroke and heart attacks. This herb helps in coagulation of blood and prevents bleeding by forming blood clots. It also increases the circulation of blood and repairs the bodily tissues.
Helps in fighting diabetes
The herb is known to have an anti-diabetic effect that reduces the level of blood sugar in our body and improves the sensitivity to the hormone insulin. It also helps in decreasing the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream. People having type 2 diabetes can consume cinnamon for positive effects.
Protects functioning of the brain
It protects the brain against developing neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease due to its antioxidant properties. The medicinal plant also protects cognitive function by activating neuro-protective proteins that further protect the brain cells from damage and mutation. It also helps in reducing the ill effects of oxidative stress by stopping the cells from self-destruction and morphing. Other benefits include prevention of age-related neurodegenerative diseases.
Lower the risk of cancer
The presence of cinnamaldehyde compound provides protection against DNA damage, growth in cancerous tumor and cell mutation.
Fights against viruses and infections
It defends the body against various illnesses as the herb has natural anti-fungal, anti-viral, anti-microbial and antibiotic properties. The presence of immune-boosting characteristics in the oil helps to fight against viruses and harmful infections. Cinnamon protects against negative symptoms in the digestive tract and on the surface of the skin.
Protects the oral health and freshens breathing
The extracts act as a shield against bacteria residing in the oral microflora that leads to decay in the tooth, bad breath, mouth infections, and cavities. The oil is used to combat bacteria in the mouth and acts as a natural anti-bacterial mouthwash. Just like peppermint, it is used as a natural flavoring agent in chewing gums. The tooth powder is used for treating oral microbiota, toothaches, and mouth sores. The oil present in shampoos, beauty products, and perfume fights infections and adds a pleasant smell.
Prevents and cures Candida
The anti-fungal properties make it effective in curing Candida in the digestive tract. The herb reduces the quantity of Candida albicans that causes the growth of Candida. It also boosts the immune system, fights inflammation and removes yeast inside the gut.
Beneficial for skin health
The herb has anti-microbial and antibiotic properties that protect the skin from various infections, rashes, and irritations. Apply cinnamon oil directly on the skin for reducing pain, swelling, and redness. Even mixing honey with cinnamon promotes skin health and protects from rosacea and acne.
Acts as a sweetening agent
Due to its naturally sweet taste cinnamon reduces the sugar content in the foods and pickles thereby lowering the glycemic content in the meal. Using cinnamon powder in fruits, yogurt, coffee, tea or oatmeal helps in cutting down the sugar content and maintaining the body weight or even shed extra calories.
Used as a natural food preservative
It is used as a natural preservative without adding any artificial ingredients or chemicals in foods. Cinnamon plays a vital role in the action of tyrosinase inhibitors that is useful for prevention of discoloration of fruits or vegetables.
Cinnamon protects regulatory T cells called Tregs and tests various activities against multiple sclerosis. Some treatments using with cinnamon helps to restore the levels of myeline with multiple sclerosis.
Side Effects of Cinnamon
Excessive consumption may:
- Lead to liver damage (as it is a rich source of coumarin)
- Raise risks of cancer (excessive coumarin i.e. abundant in Cassia cinnamon)
- Lead to mouth sores (cinnamaldehyde triggers an allergic reaction)
- Result in Low Blood Sugar (presence of hypoglycemia can act as an insulin leading to dizziness, tiredness & fainting)
- Create breathing problems (accidental inhaling leads to coughing, gagging & difficulty to breathe due to cinnamaldehyde which is a throat irritant)
- Interact with certain medications (mostly medication for heart diseases, diabetes, or liver disease)