Cinnamon
Not Just a Spice



Cinnamon has been of value and so highly prized among ancient nations that it was regarded as a gift fit for monarchs and kings as early as 2600 BC.

It is one of the oldest spices known. It was mentioned in the Bible and used in ancient Egypt not only as a beverage flavoring and medicine, but also as an embalming agent.

So highly treasured, it was considered more precious than gold and became one of the most relied upon spices in Medieval Europe and one of the first commodities traded regularly between the Near East and Europe.

In addition to the active components in its essential oils and its nutrient composition, it has also been valued in energy-based medical systems, such as Traditional Chinese Medicine, for its warming qualities.

cinnamon-sticks

Although available throughout the year, the fragrant, sweet and warm taste of cinnamon is a perfect spice to use during the winter months.

Its unique healing abilities come from three basic types of components in the essential oils found on its bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaidehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances.

Some of its health benefits include:

  • Anti-clotting actions: Cinnamaldehyde has been well-researched for its effect on blood platelets. The cinnaldehyde helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets.
  • Anti-inflammatory: It has the ability to lower the release of arachidonic acid from cell membranes lessening inflammation.
  • Anti-microbial activity: Its essential oils can help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the problematic yeast candida. Its anti-microbial properties are so effective that recent research demonstrates this spice can be used as an alternative to traditional food preservatives.
  • Blood sugar control: seasoning a high carb food with cinnamon can help lessen its impact on your blood sugar levels. It may significantly help people with type 2 diabetes improve their ability to respond to insulin, thus normalizing their blood sugar levels.
  • Boosts brain function: Research led by Dr. P. Zoladz presented April 24, 2004 at the annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception sciences, in Sarasota, Fl., found that chewing flavored gum or just smelling the scent improved cognitive processing.
  • Cholesterol: Studies have shown that just 1/2 teaspoon per day can lower LDL cholesterol
  • Cancer: In a study published by researchers at the U. S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland, it was shown to reduce the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells
  • Arthritis: In a study at Copenhagen University, patient when given 1/2 teaspoon combined with 1 tablespoon of honey every day had significant relief in arthritis pain after one week and could walk without pain within one month.

cinnamon-ground

In addition to its unique essential oils, it is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese and a very good source of dietary fiber, iron and calcium.

The combination of calcium and fiber in this spice is important and can be helpful for the prevention of several conditions such as colon cancer.

While the stick form can be stored longer, the ground powder has a stronger flavor.

Shelf life for the ground powder is approximately 6 months. Check for freshness by smelling. If it does not smell sweet, it is no longer fresh and should be discarded.

cinnamon-muffin

Cinnamon is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree, which when dried, rolls into a tubular form known as a quill and widely used as a spice.

It is principally employed in cookery as a condiment and flavoring material, being largely used in the preparation of kinds of desserts, chocolate, spicy candies, hot cocoa, and liqueurs.

In the United States, it is widely used to flavor cereals, bread-baked dishes, and fruits, especially apples.

Although available throughout the year, the fragrant, sweet and warm taste of cinnamon is a perfect spice to use during the winter months.

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