Learn the many practical benefits of this ancient ingredient.
Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known to man. It’s mentioned in the Bible and was used in ancient Egypt as medicine, beverage flavoring and as an embalming agent. In some cultures, it was considered more precious than gold. It also became one of the first commodities regularly traded between the Near East and Europe.
What is it?
Cinnamon is the inner bark of the cinnamon tree. When dried, it rolls into a tubular form known as a quill or cinnamon stick. It is also sold as a ground powder and as a supplement in capsules.
Cinnamon’s benefits come from three basic components found in its bark — cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl alcohol. There are several types of cinnamon, the most common being Cinnamomum burmannii, or Indonesian cinnamon. Other popular types include Cinnamomum cassia (Chinese cinnamon) and Cinnamomum loureiroi (Vietnamese cinnamon).
What’s in it?
Two teaspoons contain high-levels of manganese, fiber, potassium and calcium. It is also considered a strong antioxidant.
What does it do?
The cinnamaldehyde may help in the prevention of blood clots and also acts as an anti-inflammatory. Seasoning foods that are high in carbohydrates with cinnamon helps reduce the impact those foods have on blood sugar levels.
A study by the U.S. Agricultural Research Service also noted cinnamon’s ability to help those suffering from Type 2 diabetes reduce blood sugar levels and aid in processing insulin. Research from Wheeling Jesuit University shows cinnamon can boost brain activity, remove nervous tension and improve memory.
Cinnamon is also touted as:
- A breath freshener
- An aid for respiratory problems
- A boost in secretion for lactating mothers