Cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices, for the first time is mentioned in 2800 BC in the Old Testament and manuscripts in Sanskrit, while the first note comes from ancient China. In ancient Egypt it was used as a remedy, for flavoring drinks and embalming, and it was more expensive than gold. In the Middle Ages, beside ginger, it was the main ingredient in cooking.
Cinnamon is a spice that is derived from Cinnamonum verum, a small evergreen tree from the family laurels. We distinguish between 50 and 250 species of cinnamon, but two are main types: Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) and Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia). Cassia is the kind that is most commonly found in stores, but Ceylon cinnamon is the one that has all healing properties.
Today the largest exporter of Ceylon cinnamon is Mexico, where it is used in drinks such as coffee, hot chocolate or tea.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
The healing properties of cinnamon come primarily from essential oils found in its bark: Cinnamaldehyde, Cinnamyl acetate,Cinnamyl alcohol, and others.
It helps in people with diabetes type-2. US researchers have revealed that just half a teaspoon of cinnamon daily, significantly reduce blood sugar levels thanks to its active ingredients of the complex catechin and epicatechin oligomers which trigger insulin and interact with it.
Experimentally is proven that cinnamon lowers blood fats and bad cholesterol, and that it has a fungicidal effect by destroying fungi and preventing their growth.
It contain salicylates that reduce increased body temperature and have analgesic and anti-inflammatory activity. Also it helps with digestive problems (due to the content of thiamine), poor digestion, and revitalize the nerves and blood.
It is confirmed that cinnamon:
1. Improves the brain function – recent research claims that the smell and taste of cinnamon stimulates activity in the brain and improves concentration, memory and reaction speed.
2. Improves digestion – Cinnamon is an excellent source of manganese, fiber, iron and calcium. The connection of calcium and fiber favorably affect the digestive tract because this combination binds to bile salts and helps in their excretion out of the body. That way you are protected against colon cancer and high cholesterol.
3. Strengthens hair – Antioxidants in cinnamon excellently regenerate hair and nourish the scalp.
4. It helps in fighting extra pounds – Daily consumption prevents accumulation of fat in the body, and in addition its antioxidants stabilize the level of sugar in the blood and reduce the need for carbohydrates.
5. Effective against fungal infections – Cinnamon has an amazing effect on fungal infections, which in most cases are resistant to drugs. It contains active substances: eugenol and cinamaldehid that are effective against Escherichia coli.
6. Lowers blood sugar level in people with diabetes type 2 – Cinnamon maintain metabolic balance between glucose and insulin in the blood.