Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years for its versatility as both a spice and a medicinal herb. It’s been cultivated from Egypt all the way through India. People have relied on cinnamon’s efficacy as an antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, immune booster - even an aphrodisiac - for almost as long as we’ve consumed the plant. Here at The Tea Can Company we offer several teas with cinnamon - Apple Cider, Rooibos Chai, Cinnamon Apple Blossom, Orange Almond, and Sicilian Marsala.
While cinnamon has been reputed for thousands of years to be a miracle plant, only recently have these claims been proven. Science has allowed us to study the benefits of cinnamon through double-blind, evidence based studies. Here’s a whole bunch of reasons why you should make sure you keep some cinnamon stocked in your kitchen.
1. Cinnamon is jam-packed with antioxidants
In the last few years, there has been an astounding amount of research dedicated to realizing the antioxidant potential of cinnamon. It’s been touted for thousands of years as almost a panacea - a herb that can cure a ton of different ailments. Well, one of the reasons it can do this is because of the huge amount of antioxidants present in cinnamon.
Antioxidants have been hugely popular in recent years. It’s been shown that oxidation of certain organic compounds can create free radicals. Free radicals are, in essence, the cause of cancer. A free radical is an atom missing an electron in the outer shell. They are largely responsible for aging - gradual oxidization causes free radicals, and in turn, we grow old. Antioxidants can prevent - or at least greatly slow - this process.
Cinnamon, when pitted against other vegetables and spices noted for their antioxidant content (ginger, nutmeg, vanilla,) cinnamon proved to have stronger antioxidant power than any of them. Cinnamon hinders oxidization better than nearly every other herb available on the market.
2. Cinnamon is a strong antifungal agent
Cinnamon has been studied for its efficacy as an anti-fungal agent. In tests comparing cinnamon essential oil extracts to fluconazole, a common medical antifungal ointment, cinnamon was just as effective in nearly all cases.
This means that cinnamon extracts can be used to prevent fungal infections - such as yeast infections. One of the most powerful uses for cinnamon is its ability to prevent Candida.
When tested against three different strains of Candida - Candida albicans, Candida tropicalis, and Candida krusei - it was effective in preventing the further growth of the fungus. After 72 hours, the cells responsible for the Candida virus had been damaged by cinnamon’s antifungal agents. They were unable to flourish afterwards.
Cinnamon’s anti-fungal effects are so potent that they can be observed by subjects simply smelling cinnamon. Cinnamon extracts were tested against certain types of fungi. Subjects would inhale the smell of cinnamon essential oil extracts. The frequency and ability of fungi to reproduce was significantly diminished in most cases.
3. Cinnamon can be used as a preservative
Because of its strong action as an anti-microbial agent, cinnamon can be used as a preservative. By preventing the growth of microbes, cinnamon helps food maintain its integrity for as long as traditional preservatives. A study done in August of 2003 showed that cinnamon extract - as little as three drops - stopped the growth and development of various pathogenic fungi in carrot broth. It proved to be just as effective as a number of other essential oil extracts.
When studied on its ability to prevent the growth of pathogens on rice cakes, Cinnamon was tested against mugwort and garlic powder, and proved more efficient than either of them. Cinnamon’s potent enough that a solution of 1% cinnamon extract was just as effective as a solution of 3% - indicating that minute amounts of cinnamon can have powerful effects.
4. Cinnamon can help fight against neurodegenerative disease
Cinnamon has implications for therapeutic use to fight against certain neurodegenerative diseases. It’s known to stimulate the brain to produce certain neuro-protective proteins. When produced in sufficient amounts, these proteins help protect the brain from diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
This, when combined with its general antioxidant capacity, makes cinnamon an amazing medicinal herb. Not only can it prevent the development of such diseases, but it can also help repair damage done to neurons. Maintaining a good amount of cinnamon in your diet might help your neurons learn to communicate more effectively, leading to better working memory and intelligence.
5. Cinnamon can improve your cognitive function
Cinnamon doesn’t just protect you from neurodegenerative diseases. It can straight up boost your brain function. Interestingly, it’s not just the nutrients in cinnamon that do this. A study led by Dr. Zoladz shows that all that’s required to boost brain function is the smell of cinnamon.
People were studied while either chewing cinnamon flavoured gum, or smelling the fresh spice. It’s interesting to note that smell is a huge factor in our ability to taste. When we chew, the same particles we recognize as scent when inhaled are released in our mouth. These particles are absorbed in the olfactory epithelium, where an impulse is sent to our brain that tells us what the flavour is.
When smelling and chewing cinnamon, subject’s working memory, spatial awareness, and visual memory. They were exposed to various scents - peppermint and jasmine were two other contenders - but cinnamon was the only scent to repeatedly produce brain-boosting results.
6. Cinnamon is proven to be effective at fighting diabetes
While the most common suggestion for those suffering from diabetes is to make changes to lifestyles, doctors are looking into supplementing with cinnamon. Cinnamon has been shown to eliminate or maintain a number of things that can contribute to diabetes - oxidative stress, inflammation, and their glycemic index. Cinnamon’s diverse antioxidant and nutrient profile allows it to combat all of these symptoms.
While cinnamon’s effects are still undergoing investigation for the general population, it’s been proven to lower blood sugar in the obese. The effects are less obvious in a healthy population.
Cinnamon makes the body more receptive to insulin. Insulin is a peptide hormone that’s produced by the pancreas, which helps to regulate the amount of sugar produced during carbohydrate metabolism. Diabetics often suffer from a lack of insulin, hence their constant high blood pressure. Supplementation of cinnamon can cause the body’s insulin response to rise, allowing for a level of blood sugar that’s easier to maintain.
7. Cinnamon is effective at fighting bad breath
Cinnamon’s very effective at fighting halitosis. Cinnamon can be used as an ingredient in chewing gum, where some of its antimicrobial effects kill germs that cause bad breath. This can give an immediate end to short-term bad breath.
One of the cool things about cinnamon is that it can be used for oral health without displeasure. The flavour of cinnamon means it can be used in toothpastes, oral anesthetics, and chewing gum. This allows it to offer all the benefit of its bad breath reduction, without having to take unpleasant medicine.
Aside from killing the bacteria, cinnamon just smells great. It’s used in a lot of soaps and shampoos for its pleasant odor. Not only will you be eliminating bad breath, but you’ll be making your breath smell good.
8. Cinnamon keeps your skin looking healthy
Cinnamon boosts the body’s ability to produce collagen. Collagen is a hormone that keeps our skin looking fresh and young - it’s what is responsible for the ‘glow’ people talk about in healthy skin. Collagen production slows as people age, and is hugely responsible for the look of ‘aged’ skin - with less collagen, skin loses some of its elasticity and colour. This is what gives it the telltale look of aging.
Making sure that your body produces enough collagen is crucial in fighting aging skin. Cinnamon is one of the most potent plants in terms of its ability to stimulate the biosynthesis of collagen. With its antioxidant ability, it also prevents oxidization and free radical production in the skin - another benefit for those looking to stay healthy and look young.
9. Cinnamon might play a role in fighting cancer
Another amazing potential benefit - cinnamon might play an important role in fighting cancer. It’s been shown to prevent tumor cells from reproducing. Antioxidants play a huge role in fighting cancer. When a free radical - that’s an atom that’s missing an electron in its outer shell, remember - takes an electron from a neighbouring atom, it turns that one into a free radical. This process continues in a violent chain of atoms stealing electrons from each other, which, in turn, can become a cancer.
Cinnamon also helps the colon in maintaining a proper production of bile, which can prevent colon cancer from occurring.
10. Cinnamon can help maintain colon health
Cinnamon is a good source of calcium, manganese and fibre - three things which are essential for the maintenance of a healthy colon. Calcium and fiber are two nutrients capable of binding to bile salts. This helps the body excrete unnecessary things. Ensuring that the proper amount of bile is produced and disposed of is crucial to having a healthy colon.
11. Cinnamon helps the body break down cholesterol
While the nutrients in cinnamon are breaking down bile, the body must make more. The only way the body can produce more is by breaking down cholesterol. If you have an excess of cholesterol, you may want to consider supplementing with cinnamon - in diabetics, total cholesterol levels were shown to be reduced by up to 26% by daily supplementation. The cinnamon was certainly the cause for this - the study group given a placebo saw no change in cholesterol levels.
12. Cinnamon is fantastic at maintaining blood sugar
Even for those who don’t suffer from diabetes, cinnamon is a fantastic blood sugar modulator. If you spice up a carbohydrate rich meal with some cinnamon, it can counter the blood sugar spike.
Cinnamon’s been studied extensively for its potential to help diabetics. This is largely because cinnamon is capable of lowering blood sugar, which has a huge beneficial effect on diabetics. Cinnamon causes the body to become more receptive to insulin. Insulin is the hormone which helps regulate blood sugar when the body metabolizes carbohydrates.
Not only does cinnamon stimulate the receptors that trigger insulin production - it also inhibits the production of an enzyme that deactivates insulin receptors. This has been tested both in vivo and in vitro (in test-tube experiments and in the human body.) Results have been positive in each experiment.
On top of making humans more efficient at using their insulin - cinnamon prevents insulin resistance. This is a problem that can lead to diabetes. Cinnamon’s ability to promote insulin production is so powerful that it can stop insulin resistance from affecting even people who have a diet rich in sugar.
13. Cinnamon can help prevent HIV
Certain components of cinnamon have been shown to have anti-HIV activity.
IND02, one of the polyphenols in cinnamon, has been shown to be a somewhat effective anti-HIV agent. It binds to and can destroy one of the pathogens responsible for the efficiency of the HIV virus. Scientists speculate that, if harnessed properly, a new and effective HIV prevention medicine could result. Extracting this compound and making more potent varieties could help eventually eliminate HIV!
Some of the flavonoids in cinnamon also prevent HIV. They block the entry of HIV-1 and prevent the buildup of the infection. The fact that cinnamon on its own is fairly effective at both preventing and reducing HIV symptoms means that some powerful medicine could be derived from these polyphenols and flavonols.
14. Cinnamon can improve the menstrual cycle
In a study done on women with polycystic ovary syndrome, 45 women were used to test the effects of cinnamon on the disease. Some were given regular cinnamon supplementation, some were given placebo.
Polycystic ovary syndrome is a disease in which the balance of estrogen and progesterone - two of the most important hormones for sexual function - are out of balance. This causes the development of cysts on the ovaries. This causes delays or dysfunctions in the normal menstrual cycle.
While most of the women didn’t complete the study, there were some positive effects noticed. The placebo group saw no improvement on menstrual cycle. The women who were given cinnamon supplementation saw significant increases in the frequency of their menstrual cycle. This helps ease the discomfort caused by polycystic ovary syndrome. This also suggests that women who are having other issues with the regularity of their menstrual cycles could benefit from cinnamon supplementation.
15. Cinnamon can fight against depression
This study links depression with inflammation of the cells. The subjects studied were in great medical health, having no obvious physical cause for their depression. The study drew a link between the frequency of inflamed cells and depression.
Cinnamon’s a potent anti-inflammatory agent. If you’re depressed and not sure why, you might have an excess of inflammation drawing from your mental reserves. You could consider taking cinnamon supplements - even if they don’t kick your depression, they’ll certainly help you out in one way or another.
Aside from depression, if you experience inflammation or muscle soreness on a regular basis, you should start taking cinnamon. It can get rid of your symptoms in just a few days!
16. Cinnamon can help fight against blood clotting
Cinnamaldehyde, one of the components of cinnamon, helps fight blood clotting. It has a potent effect on blood platelets - the parts responsible for causing blood to clot during emergency situations.
If your blood clumps too much, your platelets are likely overactive. Supplementing with cinnamon will help your blood platelets restore their normal activity. Having clotted blood can have an effect on blood flow to the entire body, causing buildups of cholesterol, high blood pressure, and issues with your mental performance.
Cinnamon prevents your body from releasing arachidonic acid. This is the chemical responsible for platelets making their ‘decision’ to form clots. In people with frequent blood clotting, their bodies produce too much arachidonic acid. Since blood clotting can cause a sort of inflammation, this is another reason cinnamon’s a good anti-inflammatory.
17. Cinnamon can be used as an anti-bacterial wound dressing
Cinnamon essential oil extracts can be used to dress wounds. The efficiency of these oils has been tested with success. This suggests that cinnamon may soon be making its way into mainstream, over-the-counter medicines. It can be used as a topical anesthetic as well - for some. Some find the burning sensation to numb the pain, others find it to intensify it.
Cinnamon prevents the growth of pathogens. This has been proved in both in test tube experiments and in the human body. Pathogens are basically the bad bacteria. They can cause infections and lead to quite serious illnesses. Used topically, cinnamon can prevent wounds from becoming infected and prevent serious dangers like blood infections.
- Article by https://www.jenreviews.com/cinnamon/