The Cinnamon, well known since ancient times, as a highly prized species, for its culinary and medicinal qualities. The essence of *cinnamon is sweet, soft and wood colored. It comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree, native to Sri Lanka (Ceylan in antiquity) and it was a very popular commercial exchange product in the past.
Types of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a tropical evergreen tree. From its dried bark, we obtain cinnamon sticks, as a powder or as an extract.
There are two main types of cinnamon:
Sri Lankan cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon
It comes from Sri Lanka and some areas of southern India. It has a light brown color and its aroma is delicate, with a smooth texture and flavor. Its beneficial properties have made it a very chosen product in the kitchen and for health. This is the best *cinnamon and of the highest quality.
Cinnamomum cassia or cinnamon from China
Cinnamomum cassia comes from southern China, that’s why people know it as “Chinese cinnamon.”
The main feature is its dark brown color, but also for having a harder and thicker texture than the previous one. The aroma is strong, with a slightly spicy flavor. This variety of cinnamon does not recommend it, because it has qualities inferior to “Ceylan cinnamon”. But it is the most sold *cinnamon in stores.
The reason for deciding between both types, is a toxin, “coumarin.” A natural plant compound that can be harmful in large doses. The Cassia type contains 1% and the Ceylon type only has 0.004%.
Cinnamon is on the market, under different forms of presentation: On the branch, ground in powder, and essential oil or extract.
The Health Benefits of Cinnamon
This spice is rich in mucilages, gums, resins, coumarins and tannins, which give it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, antifungal, antispasmodic properties. Properties that stimulate, the body’s defenses and providing various health benefits.
Help to control diabetes
One of the biggest benefits of cinnamon is its use in patients with type 2 diabetes. The consumption of *cinnamon, especially on an empty stomach and after meals, helps reduce blood glucose levels, thanks to its compound B1 cinnamtannin .
This compound stimulates insulin receptors, and inhibits an enzyme that inactivates them, thereby increasing the capacity of cells, for the use of glucose.
A study conducted by the Department of Human Nutrition of a university in Pakistan, showed that daily intake of cinnamon capsules, improved blood glucose levels in people with type II diabetes. It also caused a certain reduction in triglycerides, LDL cholesterol (“the bad one”) and total cholesterol. Although the effect on blood glucose has been contrasted in several studies, further research in this field is still necessary.
Improve digestive disorders
An effective way to freshen your breath is to chew a *cinnamon stick and when very hot things have been taken and there are abrasions on the tongue, you can suck or lick the cinnamon stick to sedate and soothe the taste buds.
Lowers cholesterol levels and blood sugar
The cinnamon, participates in carbohydrate metabolism. As a result, it reduces the levels of total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol (called “bad”). This prevents the formation of fat in the arteries. By just taking half a teaspoon a day, you can reduce cholesterol levels.
Against inflammation of the abdomen
A cinnamon tea ensures good digestion, prevents gas formation and abdominal swelling. *Cinnamon helps the digestive system, for its carminative (gas reduction) and antiulcer properties. It helps the food to dissolve better and favors the formation of gastric juices. It also regulates the intestinal rhythm and helps control cases of diarrhea.
Cinnamon helps stop nausea and vomiting, therefore it is ideal for pregnant women. Especially in the first trimester of pregnancy, where nausea can be very annoying.
Help with circulatory problems
Cinnamon has essential oils, magnesium, flavonoids, zinc and iodine. These substances favor blood circulation and make it an effective anticoagulant. It also helps prevent excessive accumulation of platelets in the blood and keeps the arteries clean, so it helps prevent cardiovascular problems.
Similarly, it relieves painful symptoms, caused by menstruation. Take it as an infusion, it is an excellent option for the previous days.
A good cold remedy
In case of a cold, flu or any respiratory condition, it is a good idea to add a few grams of *cinnamon to tea or directly prepare an infusion of fresh cinnamon and ginger. Thus, *cinnamon helps lower fever, reduce cough and lift your spirits. As a result, the antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties help out of these states more quickly.
Contributes to improve brain functions
Regular consumption of cinnamon helps stimulate brain functions, especially in older adults.
Studies conducted on patients, who chewed cinnamon gum, showed improvements in attention processes, visual memory, recognition, and visual speed.
Also, two compounds have been found in *cinnamon, which can prevent the accumulation of a protein in the brain, called tau, a possible cause of neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease. Although it is still under investigation, but the results in animals have been very favorable.
How to maximize the properties of cinnamon
We must clarify that the small amount used in the kitchen as a spice, is not useful at a therapeutic level. Therefore, it is best to consume *cinnamon as an infusion, as a supplement or as an extract. These preparations contain much higher amounts of their active ingredients, which are those that produce the physiological benefits.
This spice may interfere with some medications. If you are under treatment, ask your doctor if it is safe to consume cinnamon.
As a precaution, during pregnancy, avoid this type of supplement, because it stimulates the contractions of the uterus.
Due to its content in coumarin toxin, cinnamon cassia, may have risks in consumption, in excessive doses. But at low doses, *cinnamon is safe.
Therefore, the recommended dose is one or two tablespoons of cassia cinnamon daily. They also recommend the consumption of Ceylon cinnamon, above this other class (cassia), having fewer risks and the same and better benefits.
Nor is it recommended for use in children under two years. It is not recommended for people who are being treated with oral anticoagulants, because together with cinnamon, its effects can be increased.