Cinnamon: Properties and Benefits

Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice with marked therapeutic properties, many of its health benefits are confirmed by scientific research, let’s see what they are


The cinnamon plants from which the precious spice is obtained are 2. Both evergreens and belonging to the Lauraceae family: the Cinnamomum zeylanicun and the Cinnamomum cassia. The first is also Cannella regina, it is native to Sri Lanka and is the most valuable. The second is also called called Cinnamon of China, as its name suggests, China is its country of origin and is the least prized.

Overall, around 250 species have been identified in the cinnamon genus with scattered trees in all parts of the world.

Cinnamon: properties and benefits
Cinnamon: properties and benefits

The cinnamon, as opposed to other spices that are derived from the leaves and flowers of the plants, is obtained directly from the branches or from small tree trunks. In fact, only the inner part of the bark is used.

The parts of bark, once cut, are dried. During drying, the external part in excess is eliminated until the classic tube appearance that we know is obtained.

The quality of cinnamon depends exclusively on the age of the branches from which it is obtained. A younger age corresponds to a better quality.

The cinnamon is mainly used in industries of aromas and essences thanks to its fragrance and its organoleptic properties. The spice can be easily incorporated into different varieties of food, perfumes and medicines. ( 1 )

Index

The cinnamon has been used for centuries for therapeutic purposes in folk medicine throughout the world. Thanks to its benefits, many of which are recognized by science, the spice is still used today in many countries for therapeutic purposes.

According to the studies of the University of Hong Kong in China, the spice occupies the first places among those with the highest content of antioxidants. ( 2 )

According to the researchers, it is possible to benefit from the properties of cinnamon in different ways: from the bark, from the essential oil, from the ground spice and its extract. These benefits  according to scientific research are due to its phenolic compounds, flavonoids and antioxidants.

Studies suggest that this plant has a very high potential in terms of properties therapeutic. Its activity in fact ranges from the prevention of heart disease and cancer and from diabetes to the antimicrobial effects. ( 3 )

The most important constituents of cinnamon are the Cinnamaldehyde and the trans cinnamaldehyde. These are present in the essential oil and contribute to the fragrance and the various biological activities observed in the spice. ( 4 )

The spice consists of a variety of resinous compounds, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamate, cinnamic acid and numerous essential oils. ( 5 ) With aging it darkens and improves the resinous compound properties. ( 6 )

Chemical Composition

Chemical composition for 100 g of cinnamon powder
Water g 10,6
Protein g 4
Carbohydrates g 80,6
Fat g 1,2
Fibers g 53,1
Sugars g 2,2
Ashes g 3,6
Omega 3 mg 11
Omega 6 mg 44
Minerals
Calcium mg 1002
Iron mg 8,3
Magnesium mg 60
Phosphorus mg 64
Potassium mg 431
Sodium mg 10
Zinc  mg 1,8
Copper mg 0,3
Manganese mg 17,5
Selenium mcg 3,1
Vitamins
Vitamin A IU 295
B1 mg 0,02
B2 mg 0,04
B3 mg 1,3
B5 mg 0,4
B6 mg 0,2
Vitamin C mg 3,8
Vitamin E mg 2,3
Vitamin J mg 11
Vitamin K mcg 31,2
Beta Carotene mcg 127
Lutein Zeaxanthin mcg 218
Folate mcg 6

Source: Nutritiondata

Amino acidsaspartic acid and glutamic acid, alanine, arginine, cystine, glycine, phenylalanine, histidine, isoleucine, leucine, lysine, proline, methionine, serine, tyrosine, tryptophan, valine and threonine.

Calories

100 grams of cinnamon  have a caloric yield of 247 kcal

Cinnamon: Properties and Benefits

Recall that only the cinnamon queen ( Cinnamomum zeylanicun) has healing properties and not the lower quality Chinese one.

Antioxidant Compounds

One of the salient features of this spice is its antioxidant properties. In fact, cinnamon is one of the main foods with the highest antioxidant power. ( 7 )

The antioxidants protect against the activity of free radicals and slow down cellular aging. To date, studies have identified 41 different compounds with therapeutic activity within the plant.

Studies suggest that antioxidants can also help limit the build-up of nitric oxide in the blood and prevent blood peroxidation. Both of these factors can increase the risk of brain disorders, cancers and heart disease. ( 8 )

Cinnamon contains polyphenols which are powerful antioxidant compounds. In a 2005 study that compared the antioxidant activity of  26 different spices, cinnamon was the first. In the tests this spice has even passed the garlic. ( 9 )

A Japanese study suggests that different flavonoids isolated from cinnamon have anti-free radical activity and antioxidant properties. ( 10 )

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Natural Antiseptic

It is a natural antiseptic that can fight and eliminate fungi, viruses and bacteria. For this reason in recent years there are toothpastes, mouthwashes and such products based on this precious spice.

Diabetes

The cinnamon helps to reduce the percentage of sugar in the blood. This is what emerged from recent studies whose results have been published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition. ( 11 )

Its consumption interferes with different digestive enzymes. This causes the digestion of carbohydrates in the digestive tract to be slowed down. ( 1213 )

Another of its properties is to contain a compound that acts by imitating insulin. This is what has been suggested by some studies, one from 2001 and the other from 1998. This makes it possible to improve the absorption of sugars at the cellular level. ( 1415 )

Finally, there are studies that testify to the effectiveness of this spice against diabetes. These studies show that its regular intake can reduce blood sugar in percentages ranging from 10 to 29%. ( 1617 )

Other studies confirm that cinnamon not only reduces glucose levels but also cholesterol levels. ( 18 ) According to an American study, cinnamon enhances the effect of insulin 20 times better than other spices. ( 19 )

The recommended dose is 1 to 6 grams per day.

Fungicide and Antibacterial

To date, various antibacterial activities of the plant and its oils have been reported in various studies. ( 2021 )

A study conducted in Germany has instead shown how cinnamon possesses aggressive properties against the fungus Candida albicans and the bacterium called Escherichia coli. Both are responsible for urinary tract infections. It is antiseptic for the respiratory tract and brings benefits in case of colds and halitosis.

As an antibacterial, cinnamon reduces problems related to digestion, especially swelling. It kills bacteria and eliminates infections of the gastrointestinal tract facilitating the work of gastric juices. ( 2223 )

Scientific research reports that cinnamon oil has beneficial effects against various bacterial strains ( Pediococcus halophilus  and  Staphylococcus aureus), fungi (Aspergillus flavus, Mucor plumbeus, Penicillium roqueforti,  and  Eurotium sp.), and yeast species ( Candida lipolytica, membranaefaciens Pichia, Debaryomyces hansenii  and  rouxii Zygosaccharomyces ). ( 24 )

Cancer

An American study suggests that cinnamon could potentially be used in cancer prevention. ( 25 )

Studies conducted in South Korea claim that thanks to its antioxidant properties, cinnamon protects against cell mutation and tumor growth. According to the study, these benefits would derive from a compound called cinnamaldehyde which is able to prevent DNA damage and inhibit cell growth by inducing tumor cell death by apoptosis. ( 25 )

A study conducted in India on animals has shown that this plant has useful properties to protect the colon from tumors. ( 26 )

Another South Korean study confirms that the spice has an anti-tumor potential. ( 27 )

Disinfectant

In case of wounds on the skin, after having cleaned them, they can be sprinkled with cinnamon powder. The anti-glycemic properties of this spice, help to appease hunger stimuli between meals.

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Multiple Sclerosis

Instead, at Rush University Medical Center, researchers claim that the properties of cinnamon they can block the degenerative process of multiple sclerosis. In this way patients could be prevented from taking expensive and dangerous medicines for side effects. However, we await confirmation of this application.

Alzheimer’s

A study conducted at the University of Tel Aviv instead claims that it has useful properties to cure the Alzheimer’s disease. Two compounds found in the spice seem to inhibit the accumulation of a protein called tau in the brain. This is indeed one of the typical signs of Alzheimer ‘s disease. To learn more about the subject you can consult these studies in English. ( 272829 )

Cerebral Function

According to studies, thanks to its abundance of antioxidantscinnamon could enhance brain function with benefits in terms of protection against disorders such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. ( 30 )

An in vitro California study shows that the spice helps block the accumulation of a certain protein in the brain involved in Alzheimer’s disease. ( 31 )

An animal study has also shown that the plant has a protective effect on neurons. This property prevents oxidative stress and reduces the risk of inflammation and cell damage thus preserving brain health and preventing cognitive decline. ( 32 )

Anti-inflammatory

As we know, inflammation is a very important process for our health. In fact it helps fight infections and repair damaged tissues. However, when inflammation becomes chronic it can become a serious problem.

According to recent studies, the antioxidant compounds present in the spice have a powerful anti-inflammatory activity. ( 33 )

Heart Diseases

The consumption of this spice has been associated with a reduced risk of developing heart disease. The latter are the main cause of deaths in the world. Studies have shown that its regular consumption reduces bad cholesterol levels and triglycerides. ( 34 )

A study latest suggests that a dose of cinnamon to 120 mg may produce the effects mentioned above. Another animal study has shown that this spice can also reduce blood pressure. ( 35 , 36 )

These properties combined together can therefore drastically reduce the risk of disease heart.

A recent study reported instead the potential effects of two compounds, cinnamic aldehyde and cinnamic acid, against myocardial ischemia. ( 37 )

HIV virus

HIV is a virus that attacks and destroys the immune system. If untreated it can lead to AIDS. There are several studies that suggest that cinnamon extracted from the C. cassia variety helps fight HIV-1.

A laboratory study of HIV-1 infected cells showed that among all the medicinal plants, cinnamon was the most effective. ( 38 )

Cinnamon Herbal Tea

In addition to being used to flavor foods, it also has digestive properties as it is able to promote the breakdown of fats. This happens thanks to the stimulation of a digestive enzyme called trispina.

In order to allow this to happen, you can take advantage of the preparation of a simple herbal tea  that can be prepared in this way:

take a teaspoon of cinnamon powder and immerse it in a cup of boiling water, leaving it to infuse for about 10-12 minutes. Filter and drink after meals keeping in mind not to drink more than 3 cups in a day.

Contraindications

As with all foods, be careful not to overdo it. The ideal dose of this spice is represented by 3 grams per day. In this quantity, the spice is able to decrease the blood sugar level and to stimulate a hormone that regulates appetite.

As we know, substances that are able to bring benefits to our body, if taken in exaggerated doses, can cause damage. Do not administer to children under the age of two years.

Curiosity

Cinnamon: Properties and Benefits

The cinnamon was known by the peoples of ancient times, considering that it is mentioned already in the Bible, specifically the book of Exodus. The ancient Greeks already used it as a digestive and the Egyptians used it to embalm the dead.

The name derives from the Latin canna that is precisely to indicate its particular rounded shape.

In the form of sticks it can be kept for a long time. However, it must be placed in tightly closed glass containers and away from sources of light and heat.

The cinnamon is sold in both powder and sticks. The latter are to be preferred as they better preserve the properties and aroma.

Both cinnamon plants live in tropical areas . For this reason they cannot be grown in temperate climate regions except in greenhouses.

The plant  belongs to the same family ( Lauraceae ) to which the laurel and nutmeg belong.

Helps to clean and make teeth white. In the absence of a toothbrush, you can avoid chewing a cinnamon stick.

Other studies claim that one can benefit from some  properties of cinnamon not only through its consumption but also by only smelling its aromas. It seems that it is sufficient to smell it to see the brain activity increase.

Some experiments carried out on volunteers have shown that smelling cinnamon increases memory and concentration when studying.

Maybe not Everyone Knows That

In case of headache you can calm the pain with small massages at the temples with cinnamon oil, this is the preparation:

get 4  cinnamon sticks and crush them in a mortar. Then transfer them to a cup and cover them with olive oil, which is then left to infuse for 10 days.

After this period, strain and place in a glass bottle.

It was recently discovered that oil extracted from cinnamon leaves was able to kill mosquito larvae even better than current pesticides. This discovery, in addition to paving the way towards the invention of the first biological pesticide, could be used to make lotions with repellent effects on mosquitoes.

According to the US National Library of Medicine it  has therapeutic properties useful for other different types of ailments and diseases. For example vomiting, muscle spasms, infections, diarrhea and erectile dysfunction.

In addition to being used as a spice and flavoring agent, it is also added to the taste of chewing gum due to its refreshing effects on the mouth and the ability to remove halitosis.

Organic Sri Lankan cinnamon sticks buy here.

Cinnamon: Properties and Benefits

Italian language version

Disclaimer:

This is not a medical newspaper, the information provided by this site is for informational purposes only and is of a general nature, it cannot in any way replace the prescriptions of a doctor or other health professionals authorized by law. The notions of dosage, medical procedures and product descriptions on this site have an illustrative purpose and do not allow to acquire the necessary experience and manual skills for their practice or their use. If you have been prescribed medical care I urge you not to interrupt or modify them, because all the suggestions you find on www.mr-loto.it  must always and in any case be compared with the opinion of your doctor.

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