Cinnamon :: What are the Health Benefit of this Blood-Sugar Lowering Exotic Spice

What are the Medical Properties of Cinnamon?

  1. Antifungal
  2. Antibacterial
  3. Anti-clotting
  4. Anti-inflammatory

cinnamon Like several other spices, cinnamon can help to cure many health complaints. It can help to cure a yeast infection (candida), it can stop the growth of other (often fatal) bacteria in the body like E. Coli and is a anti-inflammatory that can assist in relieving arthritic pain, when mixed with honey.

So, is cinnamon good for you? Absolutely. So much so, I add a teaspoon of cinnamon extract powder to my home made muesli every morning.

I have to admit though, if you don’t mix it in well enough, it can taste rather powdery and spoil your breakfast!

NOTE: You can use our table of contents to scroll down to any part of this article.

What is an Antifungal?

An antifungal medicine or remedy is one that is used to treat fungal infections like athletes foot, or more serious infections such as meningitis. They kill fungal cells or organisms in our bodies, but they are quite unique because a fungal cell is almost identical to one of ‘our’ bodies make up of cells, and they can tell the difference between the two.

They leave the normal cells alone, but attack and kill off the cells of a fungal infection.

What is an Antibacterial?

Whereas an antifungal kills the fungal growth, an antibacterial kills off bacteria. An antibacterial is what we typically know as an ‘antibiotic’, which we obtain from a pharmacy. Cinnamon also contains some of the same properties as antibiotics. I’m not suggesting that the next time you get a really sore throat, that you chug down a tablespoon of cinnamon powder!

bacteria You should always talk to your doctor. You can’t beat that yellow bottle of penicillin to get rid of tonsillitis! But, what I am saying is that cinnamon could help with the relief. Or, if used in your diet regularly it could act as a barrier to bacteria, hopefully preventing any future infections.

What Does Anti-Clotting Mean?

Blood clots can develop for many reasons. Some surgical operations can cause them to happen, or they can happen when you don’t move for a significantly long period of time, such as on an aeroplane. In these cases, deep vein thrombosis (DVT) can occur which if left untreated, can be fatal.

So ‘anti-clotting’ simply means an agent or organic compound that you ingest (or inject) like warfarin, which stops the clotting process in your body.

What Does Anti-Inflammatory Mean?

An anti-inflammatory simply means to stop an ‘inflammation’. That could be an inflammation of a joint (in worse cases, arthritis), a muscle tear or a sore throat. Here are some other types of inflammation.

  • Dermatitis – inflammation of the skin (eczema and psoriasis)
  • Enteritis – inflammation of the small intestine
  • Laryngitis – inflammation of the larynx
  • Neuritis – inflammation of the nervous system
  • Sinusitis – inflammation of the sinuses
  • Tonsillitis – inflammation of the tonsils

What Are Natural Properties of Cinnamon That Makes it Such a Good Healer?

  1. Coumarin (although high doses are harmful – more on this later)
  2. Calcium
  3. Manganese
  4. Vitamin C

Nature provides us with some incredible organic remedies that we can use to ward of many mild ailments, and serious health conditions. Cinnamon is no stranger to most kitchen cupboards, but the properties that make it up do more than just add flavor to your apple pie or French toast.

Anti-inflammatory foods are widely found in the natural world. By far the best source is raw ginger root, but cinnamon does rank not far behind it. As I said at the beginning of this article, I use it every day but this hasn’t been for its health benefits.

Cinnamon Lowers Your Blood Sugar

When you eat a meal that contains a lot of carbohydrates, for example – home made muesli (wheat flakes, oatmeal, mixed nuts, raisins, goji berries and pumpkin seeds – the ingredients of mine), your blood sugar is sent skyward. This gives your body with a sharp influx of energy, when your body is low on energy.

And this means that there will be spikes and troughs in your blood sugar/energy levels throughout the day (when you don’t eat, you get a trough or low level of energy). By adding cinnamon to your diet, it lowers your blood sugar, thus slowing down the release of energy which your body receives.

This is really helpful to people who are trying to lose weight, because they do not get those ‘troughs’ which make them hungry. Cinnamon smoothes out these spikes and valleys in their energy levels, which should prevent them from grabbing a snack to dowse their hunger when they get the ‘urge’.

Is Cinnamon a Diabetes Treatment?

Diabetes When a person has diabetes (referring to type II) it means that they do not have normal control over the amount of insulin their pancreas creates, which means their blood sugar levels can fluctuate quite dramatically. When their blood sugar goes down, they have a hypoglycemic attack. They experience an increase of glucose in their blood, which the body cannot sustain, thus it is flushed away in their urine.

The symptoms of a hypoglycemic or rather, the low sugar levels leading up to an attack are nausea, sweats, shaking, anxiety, increased heart rate and confusion or they could even get a level of irritability that makes anyone with them quite ‘wary’ of their current situation or surroundings. I was working with someone once when they had an attack.

It was a very surreal experience to say the least. I noticed my friend starting to get a little confused about where we were and was asking me ridiculous questions about things that I knew nothing about (one of his own experiences). Well, as soon as his words started to get a little ‘sharp’, I realized what was going on – a hypoglycemic attack.

Fortunately I knew to get some food into his system (because he’d previously told me what to do), so I fetched him a hot (really) sugary coffee and got him some fried chicken and chips. We were working late at night and the local KFC was the only place where I could get any food from!

So, Can Cinnamon Help Someone Who Has Type II Diabetes?

Cinnamon is not a cure, lets make that perfectly clear. But this spice taken from the bark of an Asian tree does have biological properties which ‘copy’ the effect of insulin. And it has been proven to increase glucose and glycogen activity in diabetic test subjects.

However, clinical trials have produced conflicting results in this area as printed in an article in ‘Diabetes Care’ (a medical journal) who concluded that “patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes receiving cinnamon did not demonstrate statistically or clinically significant changes” when compared with other test subjects who were given a placebo.

But that report does go on to say that the duration of the study was not long enough to be conclusive, and that they would “expect” a diabetic patient to benefit from using cinnamon in the long term because insulin levels did increase in those test subjects (who were given cinnamon supplements).

However, they then went on to say they did not have “confidence” in cinnamons glycemic ability over a long period of time. Is it me, or is this report very confusing? Read it and let me know what you think. I’m not a doctor, but I am a pretty intelligent person and I really don’t understand why studies of this nature are not followed through to fruition no matter how long it takes. And then give us a definitive answer – yes, cinnamon can help diabetics or no, it cannot.

There seems to be a lot of studies (worldwide) done on the health benefits of cinnamon, as there have been on the health benefits of another amazing spice, ginger. But there is a broad disagreement about their actual benefits to the human body. And bearing in mind that we know that ginger has been used for centuries in Chinese medicine to help people with many mild and serious conditions – so how can evidence be ‘inconclusive’? The mind boggles.

So if you do have diabetes and want to give cinnamon a go, what should you do?

Always talk to your doctor first, but if YOU believe cinnamon could help your condition then it probably will. I am a firm believer in what you think about, you bring about. And that includes your health.

Can Cinnamon Help Your Circulation?

Do you get cold feet or fingers? Cinnamon may help.

Because of its ability to balance blood sugar, this sweet tasting spice could help your extremities stay warmer for longer. Many times over the last few decades, I have seen my fingers go white when I’ve been out doors for not even long periods in the cold months (I don’t know about my toes, because I wasn’t brave enough to take off my socks)!

But since I’ve started consuming many more different types of fruits, vegetables, spices and herbs over the last few years – I have noticed that I very rarely get white fingers any more. I cannot say for definite that it is because of the cinnamon I add to my fresh muesli each morning, but I do believe it helps and I will always use it.

Cinnamon and Blood Thinning Medication

Low blood sugar level We discussed blood clotting a little earlier in the article, but it is definitely worth mentioning again because of cinnamons ability to thin the blood. We should also mention that there are a few types of cinnamon, of which these are the most common:

  1. Cassia cinnamon
  2. Ceylon cinnamon

These two types are typically found in your local grocery store, either in dried bark or powdered form. And it is cassia cinnamon that has been found to the contain blood thinning property of coumarin. Coumarin is also found in celery, parsley and chamomile.

If you are taking blood thinning/anti-clotting prescription medication such as warfarin, you should not use cinnamon in any great quantity. And always talk to your doctor beforehand.

Also, if you suffer with nose bleeds, you should also refrain from using cinnamon in your diet.

In India, cinnamon has been added to tea (along with other spices like cloves, pepper, cardamom and ginger) to make Chai. This tea gets brewed with the desired spices, along with milk and sugar (which brings out the spices real flavors) and has been used as an antioxidant according to  Ayurvedic (ancient Indian) history.

Cinnamon and Lowering Your Cholesterol Levels

Again, there is conflicting evidence about this exotic spices ability to lower your cholesterol. Some studies suggest that it can, while others say it ‘might’. So lets decide for ourselves, pushing aside the research! I’m not a doctor, but I am a realist, and someone who can easily, how shall we say ‘read between the lines’!

Does cinnamon lower your blood sugar? Yes.

Does cinnamon help your ‘blood to flow easier around your body’? Yes.

Has it been used in ancient Chinese and Indian medicine for its health benefits? Yes.

So bearing in mind there are millions of people native to Asia who have used cinnamon and have done for centuries, and that it does slow down the release of carbohydrates into your system (which helps to stop you picking and snacking on food which you should not), I am going to believe that YES, cinnamon is probably helping me to keep my cholesterol levels low.

What are you going to believe?

Does Cinnamon Help Your Concentration and Improve Your Memory?

Research has been carried out on the effects of cinnamon, on Alzheimer’s patients and has been shown to inhibit the growth of certain factors in those patients. This is a great result for Alzheimer’s and Dementia suffers, but is also good news for the ordinary person taking cinnamon as part of their nutrition plan.

Other research has concluded that cinnamon helps you to concentrate and boost your cognitive function. And all you need to do is ‘smell’ it, you don’t even have to eat it.

Are There Any Risks Associated With Taking Cinnamon?

Yes. When consumed in large quantities, cassia can be toxic to your liver as well as cause other side effects. So don’t start sprinkling every meal with your powdered exotic bark.

It does depend on the individual, but some people have reported irritations to the back of the throat as well as the mouth and skin. There is no recommended dose, so take care and stop using cinnamon if you think you may be allergic.

What Should You Do Now That You Know All About Cinnamons Incredible Ability to Keep You Healthy?

If you’ve read any of our other articles at length, then you will know that I am a firm advocate of naturally occurring, pure products and consume them as part of my diet every day. However, I also believe that you need certain nutrients, vitamins and minerals every day to lead a perfectly healthy life, and that you cannot get all the nutrients you need from food.

Not least because it can be expensive if you end up leaving half of your fruit, vegetable or herbs and spices at the end of the week because they’ve past their ‘eat by’ date. We don’t always have the available time to visit the grocery store several times per week to replace food items, so you may need to have a supplement cupboard!

Fortunately, cinnamon is one of those food items that will last for several months so all you need to add to your cupboard is a jar of powdered cinnamon and you use it at will.

You may want to use it for it’s carbohydrate release time-delay and as an aid for your circulation, as I do. Or if you have children, you may want to use it sparingly in their food to help fight off antibacterial infections (you don’t want to use too much, as it could put them off it).

But remember, if you are not sure or do not believe in cinnamons amazing power to help you and your family to stay healthy, then talk to your doctor. If you are sure, then I’ll see you at the spice counter in the supermarket!

About Andy

I have a huge interest in keeping the digestive system in a very healthy condition, because I know from my own personal experience that when you do have problems with your digestion, it can also have many adverse affects on your overall health. You can subscribe to my free daily news paper at Improve Your Digestion and follow me on Facebook or on Twitter.

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