Known as Asian gold for its color, flavor and price, cinnamon has become one of the most famous spices in the world. Used since ancient times in all kinds of infusions and ointments for its extensive health properties, today it shines in confectionery, gastronomy and, of course, natural medicine.
Cinnamon is a source of protein, iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, selenium, vitamins B6, C, phenols and aldehydes. However, when consumed in small portions, the amounts of these nutrients are not really significant. Beyond this situation, cinnamon offers different health benefits that we will list below.
Health improvements in people with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Different studies have found evidence that cinnamon consumption could help those with type 2 diabetes to balance blood sugar levels, through the inhibition of the enzyme that inactivates insulin receptors.
On the other hand, a study published by the American Diabetes Association showed that the intake of between 1.3 and 6 grams of cinnamon daily could reduce triglycerides, LDL cholesterol and total cholesterol, in addition to reducing the risks associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Improve cholesterol levels
Regular consumption of cinnamon would help reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol, by regulating blood lipid levels and preventing the formation of thrombi that could impede proper blood circulation.
In 2015, researchers concluded that Sri Lankan cinnamon is one of the most powerful anti-inflammatories in the world. For this reason, the intake of cinnamon infusion is usually recommended for those who suffer from muscle problems or menstrual pain, for example. In fact, it could relieve the symptoms of arthritis.
Reduced abdominal swelling
The intake of cinnamon helps the formation of gastric juices that allow food to be dissolved and digested, thus allowing better digestion and therefore, avoiding the formation of annoying gases. Combining cinnamon with ginger, a very effective infusion is achieved to facilitate heavy digestions.
Cinnamon slimming effect
A study in mice showed researchers that the use of cinnamaldehyde, a component of cinnamon, can lead to increased protein production that would aid in lipid metabolism and fat burning.
Cinnamon has antifungal and antibacterial effects that make it a good choice for everything from the common cold to athlete’s foot.
Cinnamon infusion recipe
It is recommended to ingest cinnamon infusion after meals to benefit from its digestive properties.
Ingredients (per cup)
- 250ml of water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- optional: honey
- Bring the water to a boil and when it starts to bubble, add the cinnamon stick. Let it infuse for 10 minutes.
- Serve and add a teaspoon of honey if you wish. You can also chill the cinnamon infusion in the fridge and drink it cold. This option is ideal for the hot months.
In conclusion, we recommend you consult your doctor before starting the intake of this infusion since it is contraindicated in pregnant women, because it could generate uterine contractions, in people with ulcers, since it could generate greater irritation, and in people with problems of heart, due to its tendency to increase the heart rate.
Remember that herbal infusions are a complement to the treatment indicated by your trusted doctor and at no time replace the medical prescription.
Cinnamon is obtained specifically from the bark of the Cinnamonum zeylanicum, a tree from the Lauraceae family. The bark of these trees dries up and the lower layer is removed from it, which is peeled and rolled on itself, obtaining a tube that the Italians call cannella, hence its name in Spanish.
Coming from Asia, specifically from the areas of India, Sri Lanka and China, the cinnamon tree grows well in tropical or subtropical forests with a humid climate (around 2,000 mm of annual rainfall), especially in fertile and sandy soils with good sewer system. For this reason, it is also possible to find it in Brazil, Burma, Indonesia and Madagascar.
Although the usual is the large Cinnamonum zeylanicum, it is also possible to grow it in bush format, through the usual pruning.
Worldwide there are different types of cinnamon, however only four are marketed:
- Cassia cinnamon, the cheapest.
- Ceylon cinnamon, with a mild and fragrant flavor.
- Korintje cinnamon, most similar to Cassia cinnamon.
- Saigon cinnamon, possessing a stronger flavor and aroma.
The reality is that there is numerous evidence of its existence as far back as the 3rd millennium BC. However, the exact origin of cinnamon has disputed origins, arguing that it could come from Sri Lanka, China or the West Indies.
In Ancient Egypt, the so-called Asian gold was already commercialized, while in the Middle East cinnamon was offered to the gods as part of the sacrifices. Throughout Asia there are mentions of cinnamon, either for its health properties or for its aphrodisiac properties.
However, its arrival in the Mediterranean Sea is associated with the Arab and Phoenician merchants who arrived at Roman ports around the 2nd and 4th centuries AD In the Roman Empire, cinnamon was used as a perfume and even on funeral pyres.
However, the story of cinnamon does not end there. It is said that Marco Polo hid the origin of Ceylan cinnamon to maintain the economic advantage of Venice, from where this spice was sold at exorbitant prices. Centuries later, in the 16th century, the Portuguese and then the Dutch would take over its trade. During the Middle Ages, the use of cinnamon would extend not only to gastronomy but also to the creation of cosmetics and health tonics.