Everyone knows cinnamon as the Pinterest spice. The spice in lattes and apple pies all over the world. However, for many thousands of years, extracts from the bark of the cinnamon tree have also been used as a medicine all over the world. Today, we are exploring cinnamon as a medicine. We all know it tastes great on a latte, but is there any truth behind its use in the medical world? We explore all of this cinnamony goodness and more below. So, grab your cinnamon latte and take a seat, while we explore the miracle spice.
The Origin of Cinnamon
The first mention of cinnamon dates back to 2,800 B.C. and is found in Chinese writings although the origin of cinnamon is actually Sri Lanka. Over the years, many ancient people used cinnamon in vastly different ways. For example, the Egyptians used it in their embalming process as a fragrance.
Pliny the Elder (perhaps the best resource for knowledge of the ancient world) wrote of cinnamon and said that 350 grams of cinnamon equalled the value of 5kgs of silver. That is how expensive cinnamon used to be, so ancient people certainly weren’t using cinnamon in lattes!
In fact, many people throughout history valued cinnamon for its medical properties. Medieval doctors used cinnamon to treat sore throats and coughing. While other people took advantage of its preservative qualities. Cinnamon was used to preserve meat because, as we now know, it inhibits the growth of bacteria that spoil meat. Plus, the strong aroma from cinnamon also masked the stench of aged meats allowing people to stomach old meat a little better.
Many people have battled over cinnamon throughout history including the Dutch and English. Its expensive price tag meant that every country in the world wanted a piece of the cinnamon pie. However, as other countries around the world started producing cinnamon, the price was lowered, and the warring for cinnamon ended. Nowadays, cinnamon is plentiful, which is a great thing because it has so much to offer the world!
How Cinnamon Was Used
As we briefly mentioned above, cinnamon has had a wide range of uses throughout history, from making the dead smell nice to keeping meat fresh and making old meat smell better. However, people have also used cinnamon to treat coughs, colds, sore throats and loads more. It shouldn’t be a surprise that cinnamon has been used for almost anything you can imagine. It was an expensive commodity and people wanted to get the most of it!
How Cinnamon Is Used Today
Nowadays people use cinnamon to flavour a bunch of food and drink. However, many people all over the world also use cinnamon to treat a variety of diseases. From high blood sugar and diabetes to yeast infections and inflammation, cinnamon is used for it all.
Why Is Cinnamon So Popular?
Of course, we all know why cinnamon is popular in food and drink today, it is delicious! But cinnamon is just as popular in medicine as it was in history. The health benefits of cinnamon are still widely debated, but tests have shown that cinnamon has some interesting properties that can be beneficial to our health.
Lab tests have shown that cinnamon has antioxidant effects, this is probably why it was used to treat sore throats in the medieval period. Other tests have shown that cinnamon can fight bacteria. Bacteria isn’t something that the ancients knew much about, but they did use cinnamon to help keep meat fresh and bacteria-free, so they knew about this property of cinnamon, they just didn’t know how it was keeping the meat fresh. Other recent tests of cinnamon have found that it may reduce inflammation. We couldn’t find any historical uses of cinnamon for inflammation, but if they knew about it, chances are battlefields were littered with cinnamon-filled dressings!
What Is Cinnamon Actually Doing In Your Body?
Cinnamon can help to fight infections in the body and repair tissue damage. As it promotes lower blood sugar levels and lowers cholesterol, cinnamon basically makes the blood healthier. This means that it can travel around the body quicker and stop infections and inflammation in its tracks. So, cinnamon keeps your blood healthy and flowing properly, this, in turn, keeps your body healthy.
Can You Have Too Much?
Currently, there is no established dose of cinnamon. However, between 1-6 grams of cinnamon a day is a common dosage for people who use cinnamon for its medical properties. Very high doses of cinnamon might be toxic so be careful because cinnamon is an additive in many foods.
Always check the ingredients in the food you are eating and then adjust your cinnamon intake accordingly. There are also two types of cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon (grown in Sri Lanka and also called “true” cinnamon) and the darker coloured Cassia cinnamon (grown all over the world). Each type of cinnamon has different properties and different health benefits. Ceylon cinnamon is thought to be less effective for diabetes, for example.
Cinnamons Greatest Health Benefits
Cinnamon Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties
As shown throughout this article, cinnamon has great anti-inflammatory properties. It can be used to treat sore throats, fight infections and even repair damaged tissue cells.
Cinnamon Reduces The Risk of Heart Disease
In animal studies, cinnamon has reduced blood pressure; it has also reduced cholesterol levels in humans and increased good cholesterol levels too. If you combine all of this, your risk of heart disease drops dramatically.
Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar Levels
Cinnamons ability to lower blood sugar levels is well-known. Tests have shown that cinnamon can reduce the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream making your blood healthier. It does this by interacting with digestive enzymes and slowing down the breakdown of carbohydrates.
Cinnamon Can Mimic Insulin
A compound in cinnamon mimics insulin which is why it is used as a diabetes treatment. This compound improves glucose uptake by cells, but it acts far slower than insulin. However, people using cinnamon to treat diabetes still may need to adjust their intake of insulin when using cinnamon as well.
We hope this look at cinnamon has been helpful. This powerful spice has so many wonderful health benefits to the human body, and this is why it is one of the twelve superfoods included in our Super Lean Vegan Protein!
To find out more about other natural spices, flowers, plants and herbs that can keep you healthy, please explore our website further.
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