Cinnamon is known primarily as one of the most popular spices. Once, in ancient times, it was available only to kings and emperors; although today there exist many uses for cinnamon in the cuisine of any good housewife. Cinnamon is used for baking, in desserts and chocolate; it is also added to coffee. In the East, dishes of lamb and poultry are often seasoned with cinnamon. Owing to its antibacterial properties, cinnamon can be used in canning, especially as a component for the preparation of pickles. In general, cinnamon helps to extend the shelf life of products into which it is added.
In medicine cinnamon is used as an antiseptic, antimicrobial and antiparasitic, also in the fight with fungal diseases and for improving the gastrointestinal tract.
Cinnamon contains dietary fiber, beta-carotene, vitamins A, C, E, B-group vitamins, macro and micro elements:
- iron, etc.
According to the research, cinnamon accelerates the metabolism of sugar. Furthermore, the spice:
- reduces sugar level;
- improves brain function;
- enhances memory;
- strengthens vision;
- strengthens the heart muscle and normalizes blood pressure;
- prevents cancer;
- eases conditions during the flu and colds;
- cures depression;
- enhances work efficiency;
- raises mood [1, 2, 5].
Warm drinks with cinnamon weaken headache, strengthen sweating, facilitate breathing and may relieve swelling of the nasal mucosa. Cinnamon favors the significant increase of the overall tone of the body, aids a considerable support to the immune system. In addition, cinnamon treats chronic cough and severe quinsy. Many people use this spice to relieve dental pain, even for pulpitis.
Cinnamon oil is extracted from the bark and leaves of the tree. Its intense, sweet, warm and spicy scent is sensual and interesting. It also encourages creativity and stimulates the world of dreams. The spice increases the activity of the brain. Studies have shown that cinnamon can significantly improve cognitive function of memory, enhance alertness and concentration. Essential oils of cinnamon give a feeling of warmth and eliminate anxiety and worry. Cinnamon oil has the property to remove skin irritation, so it is added to various creams and ointments. Moreover, cinnamon oil is used in massage to relax and relieve muscle pain.
Cinnamon is used in cosmetology as a rejuvenator and tonic for the face and hair. Body wraps and hydrotherapeutic procedures with cinnamon remove subcutaneous fat deposits, maintain skin elasticity and help fight cellulite. Scrubbing with cinnamon cleanses the skin and stimulates blood flow.
People with individual intolerance should not take cinnamon. Half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day is unlikely to hurt anyone, but with more serious doses caution is needed:
- Cinnamon contains “coumarin”. This substance can cause headache and have an adverse effect on the liver if taken in large quantities;
- In some cases, the consumption of cinnamon in large quantities can lead to the increase of neural excitability;
- Cinnamon thins the blood, so it should be avoided by people with low coagulability;
- Cinnamon is not recommended for pregnant or breastfeeding women and small children;
- Cinnamon should not be taken when you take prescribed antibiotics [3, 4, 6].
Thus, cinnamon is a good digestive aid and a virus fighter. It lowers blood sugar level, boosts metabolism, cuts the risk of heart disease and enhances brain functions.
1. 10 Surprising health benefits of cinnamon. http://www.care2.com/greenliving/10-surprising-health-benefits-of-cinnamon.html (accessed June 14, 2015).
2. 26 Health benefits of cinnamon. http://cinnamonvogue.com/cinnamoncommonuses.html (accessed June 14, 2015).
3. Cinnamon offers health benefits but also carries serious risks. http://www.peoplespharmacy.com/2013/12/30/cinnamon-offers-health-benefits-but-also-carries-serious-risks/ (accessed June 14, 2015).
4. Cinnamon side effects. http://cinnamonvogue.com/cinnamon_side_effects.html (accessed June 14, 2015).
5. Cinnamon, ground. http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=68 (accessed June 14, 2015).
6. Vitamins and supplements lifestyle guide. Cinnamon. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-and-supplements/lifestyle-guide-11/supplement-guide-cinnamon (accessed June 14, 2015).