Saturday, December 7, 2013


Cinnamon bark is a commonly used spice that is obtained from the Cinnamon verum tree found in Sri Lanka and India. The cinnamon bark spice is known to be available throughout the year and is most ideal to be consumed as a tea especially during winter as it has a warm and sweet taste and is also very aromatic. The two main varieties of cinnamon bark are Ceylon and Chinese of which the Ceylon variety is more refined and sweeter as compared to the Chinese variety.

Some of the other names of cinnamon bark are cinnamon, cassia, cinnamon twig , cassia aromaticum and cassia bark.

The useful part of the cinnamon tree is the outer bark which is commonly used as a spice and for various natural medicinal treatments. However the inner bark of the cinnamon tree is known to have more medicinal effects and also contains more essential oil.

Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine. In fact in ancient times, this spice was so highly treasured that it was considered more precious than gold. It is made from the brown bark of the cinnamon tree and is available in a dried tubular form (known as a quills or sticks) or as a ground powder. Cinnamon has a nice fragrance and a sweet, warm taste. There are approximately one hundred varieties of cinnamon.

Key health benefits come from the essential oils found in the bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl alcohol.

Cinnamon also contains powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, anti-infectious and anticlotting properties. It is an exceptional source of antioxidants, polyphenols and minerals such as calcium, manganese, iron and dietary fiber – all essential nutrients that help keep your body healthy. In addition, it is a natural source of sugars, carbohydrates, fatty acids and amino acids.

Health Benefits and Nutritional Properties of Cinnamon:

Cinnamon is known to be a very good source of iron, calcium and dietary fiber as well as manganese. There are various nutrients present in cinnamon such as sodium, carbohydrates, sugar, fatty acids, amino acids and so on.

Health Benefits and Therapeutic Uses

The health benefits of cinnamon bark are mostly on account of the three main components found in cinnamon bark namely cinnamyl alcohol, cinnamaldehyde and cinnamyl acetate.

Controls Blood Sugar:
Cinnamon bark is also effective for those suffering from type2 diabetes as it improves the ability of the individual to respond to insulin thereby normalizing the blood sugar levels of the person. In fact cinnamon bark is found to also inhibit the enzyme that inactivates the insulin receptors.

Cinnamon bark is known to have anti-clotting properties that help in preventing the unwanted clumping of the blood platelets. Platelets are basically the constituents of blood that are required to clump or clot the blood in case of an injury so as to minimize and eventually stop the bleeding. Sometimes if the platelets clump together too much then they may restrict the flow of blood. This is taken care of naturally by consuming the cinnamon bark as a herbal treatment.

Improves Colon Functioning:
One of the most important health benefits of cinnamon bark is that helps in improving the health of the colon and the heart. Such conditions are known to be life threatening medical conditions. Cinnamon bark is a very good source of iron, calcium, trace mineral manganese and dietary fiber which tend to bind the bile salts and help in their elimination from the body. The combination of calcium and fiber can improve the functionality of the colon. Both calcium and fiber bind to bile salts and help remove them from the body. By removing bile, fiber helps prevent damage that certain bile salts can cause to colon cells, thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer. The dietary fiber also is very useful in relieving symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome including diarrhea and constipation.

Boosts Brain Function:
Another one of the health benefits of cinnamon bark is on account of its aroma which tends to boost brain activity and also uplifts one's mood thereby acting as a natural treatment for depression and anxiety.Cinnamon has been shown to greatly improve mental alertness. Just smelling the wonderful odor of this sweet spice boosts brain activity! The fragrance can enhance cognitive processing and greatly improve brain functioning related to attention, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor speed while working on a computer-based program. People who suffer from exam anxiety or nervousness can drink cinnamon tea for its soothing properties that actually calm the mind.

Protects Against Heart Disease:
Cinnamon bark also helps in lowering the levels of bad cholesterol and hence is also effective in preventing heart disease and arteriosclerosis. Due to its various anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon is very effective in safeguarding the heart and surrounding arteries from damage and infection. The many fatty foods that people snack on nowadays contain cholesterol and unhealthy fats that are known to clogarteries. The plaque and toxins that eventually build up can lead to cardiovascular disease and various other threats to the heart. Cinnamon helps fight the ‘bad’ cholesterol, significantly lowering total cholesterol levels. Its anti-inflammatory properties also help heal inflammation in internal tissues and reduce the risk of heart attacks and disease.

Reduces Bad Cholesterol:
Cinnamon can significantly reduce the level of triglycerides and LDL (“bad cholesterol”) in your blood, thereby lowering your risk for cardiovascular disease. The active ingredient, methylhydroxychalcone polymers, present in cinnamon also can increase your cells’ ability to metabolize sugar by up to 20 times. To help control your cholesterol level, just sprinkle a bit of cinnamon powder into your coffee or on your oatmeal once a day.

Improves Blood Circulation:
Cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin that has blood thinning properties. This helps improve blood circulation throughout the body. However, it is important to bear in mind that too much coumarin may lead to liver damage and malfunctioning, dilation of the blood vessels as well as changes in your breathing, so it is best to consume cinnamon in small amounts.

Treats Neuro-degenerative Diseases:
Cinnamon has powerful anti-inflammatory properties that reduce constant inflammation of the internal tissues of the brain, thereby protecting it from numerous neurological disorders. Cinnamon’s powerful and natural ingredient also may curb or delay the onset of a variety of neurodegenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, brain tumors and meningitis.

Prevents Cancer:
Studies have shown that cinnamon may reduce the proliferation of cancer cells, holding promise for cancer prevention and sufferers of the disease. According to research done at the University of Texas, cinnamon may minimize the increase in cancerous cells in the body and, when included regularly in the diet, it can help prevent cancer. Cinnamon also helps reduce the growth rate of leukemia and lymphoma cancerous cells.

Reduces Arthritis Pain
Cinnamon has been shown in studies to reduce cytokines linked to arthritic pain. Patients given one-half 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.

In addition to its various medicinal uses the essential oil from the cinnamon bark is also used in mouthwashes, toothpastes, soaps, lotions, detergents, liniments, pharmaceutical products as well as certain cosmetics. With regards to its culinary uses, cinnamon bark is also used as a flavoring agent in certain beverages and also as a spice.

Although cinnamon is very beneficial to your health, don’t overdo it thinking you’ll get more benefits by consuming large doses at a time. In fact, large quantities of cinnamon may be poisonous and damage your liver. Nursing and pregnant mothers should also be cautious when consuming cinnamon.

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