|Benefits of cinnamon
Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.
Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially
beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.
In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.
In a study published by researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, cinnamon reduced the
proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood.
In a study at Copenhagen University, patients given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one
tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and
could walk without pain within one month.
When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
One study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.
Researchers at Kansas State University found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.
10. It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.
You may already know that cinnamon is good for you, but did you know there is a mythological creature called
the Cinnamon Bird? Here are some interesting facts and trivia about this extraordinary spice.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is a tree belonging to the Lauraceae family. The bark of the tree is what is
used as a spice.
True cinnamon, or Ceylon cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon).
Cassia, a related spice, is sometimes sold as cinnamon but it is not "true cinnamon." Cassia is sometimes
called "Indonesian cinnamon" or "Chinese cinnamon." In fact, most powdered cinnamon sold in the United
States is actually cassia. It is harder to find true Ceylon cinnamon.
Cinnamon gets is scent and flavor from a chemical compound called cinnamaldehyde.
The word cinnamon comes from the Greek kinnamomon.
Cinnamon is mentioned in Chinese writings as far back as 2800 BC.
In the book of Exodus, God instructs Moses to make a holy anointing oil out of cinnamon, cassia, olive oil,
myrrh, and hemp. (Exodus 30: 22-33).
There was an ancient belief in something called the Cinnamon Bird that supposedly lived in Arabia and used
cinnamon to build its nests. Herodotus wrote that these birds flew to an unknown land to collect the cinnamon
and took it back with them to Arabia. The Arabians got the cinnamon from the birds by tempting them with
large chunks of raw meat. The birds took the heavy pieces of meat back to their nests, which caused the nests
to fall and the cinnamon to rain down and be collected by the people.
Pliny the Elder wrote that the Cinnamon Bird did not exist and was a tale invented to raise the price of
Pliny also wrote that 350 grams of cinnamon were equal in value to five kilograms of silver.
In Ancient Egypt, cinnamon was used in the embalming process.
The Egyptians also used cinnamon medicinally and as a flavoring in food and beverages.
Cinnamon was used on funeral pyres in Ancient Rome. In 65 AD, Nero burned a year's supply of cinnamon at
his second wife Poppaea Sabina's funeral in order to show the depth of his grief.
In the Middle Ages, cinnamon was only affordable by the wealthy elite of society. A person's social rank could
be determined by the number of spices they could afford.
From the 16th to the 19th centuries, there were power struggles among European nations over who would
control Ceylon and the very lucrative cinnamon industry. In 1833, other countries began growing cinnamon
and the need to control Ceylon diminished.
Hypocras is a famous centuries-old spiced wine that is spiced with cinnamon. It is named after Greek physician
Hippocrates, who was believed to have invented it in the 5th century BC, though the exact origin is unclear.
Hypocras is generally not produced commercially anymore, though it is still produced in small amounts in some
regions of France.
Cinnamon has many health benefits. It has shown promise in the treatment of diabetes, arthritis, high
cholesterol, memory function, and even leukemia and lymphoma.
Two teaspoons of cinnamon has about 12 calories.
I recently wrote about the benefits of cinnamon. One of those benefits was a regulatory effect on blood sugar,
which makes it great for people with Type 2 diabetes. Yesterday there was a news story about the latest study
on cinnamon and diabetes:
In one lab study, the team said it found that cinnamon contains polyphenols, or antioxidants, that boost
proteins that are important in activating insulin, transporting glucose and responding to inflammation, Web site
The second study extracted proanthocyanidin, a type of polyphenol in the commonly used spice that
researchers say may have insulin-like properties.
It's amazing how something we all have in our kitchens and take for granted can have such a big impact upon
our health. I'm sure over the next few years researchers will uncover even more health benefits of cinnamon. In
the meantime, I plan to use it whenever I get a chance.