Cinnamon, obtained from the inner bark of the tree called ‘cinnamomum’, has long been used in cooking for its distinct taste and flavor. However, it is the therapeutic usage of cinnamon, which makes it even more popular. From Ayurveda to the traditional Chinese medicine, the highly powerful and delicious spice has been prized everywhere for its incredible medicinal properties. Find below 12 heath benefits offered by cinnamon backed by evidence:
How Cinnamon tree looks like?: It is an evergreen tree that is moderate sized. The fruits are purple and ovoid shaped. The bark of the tree is soft, brown, reddish in color and has warts.
What parts of the tree is used for medicinal purposes: The bark of the tree is used for medicinal purposes. It can be used in raw form or oil(essential oil) is extracted out of it.
Medicinal Values: Bark – Carminative, astringent, acrid, febrifuge, diuretic and aphrodisiac
Effective Health Benefits Of Cinnamon
1. Offers Antioxidant Benefits
Cinnamon contains almost 41 types of highly potent antioxidant compounds including polyphenols, flavonoids, and phenolic acid. It is even higher in antioxidant than many other super foods like garlic, oregano, thyme, rosemary, berries, dark chocolate, red wine, and so forth. These powerful antioxidants in cinnamon work directly on the harmful free radicals present in our body and combat many forms of oxidative stress. As a result, we can stay away from a multitude of symptoms, complex health conditions, and fatal ailments upon aging. In short, cinnamon can prevent a whole lot of disorders and diseases, which can even lead to death over time.
2. Works As A Pain Reliever
Being loaded with antioxidants, cinnamon works as a highly effective anti-inflammatory agent too. It comprises as many as 7 types of flavonoid compounds, which help in reducing the levels of both systemic and specific inflammation throughout the body. While chronic systemic inflammation increases the risk of developing deadly diseases, specific inflammation leads to severe pain, ache, and soreness. These include headaches, arthritis pain, Raynaud’s syndrome, PMS pain, muscle soreness, and so on. Regular consumption of cinnamon can reduce the symptoms by improving blood circulation in the trouble areas and reducing swelling and inflammation.
3. Regulates Blood Cholesterol
From hereditary cholesterol issues to sudden increase in cholesterol levels, cinnamon can offer significant help in both situations. It raises the level of high-density lipoproteins (HDLs) or ‘good cholesterol’ in our bloodstream and lowers the level of low-density lipoproteins (LDLs) or ‘bad cholesterol’. Moreover, the spice plays a major role in bringing down the levels of triglycerides as well as the total cholesterol in our blood, which is essential for optimal regulation of cholesterol.
4. Protects Cardiovascular System
Cinnamon keeps the entire cardiovascular system healthy, thereby cutting the risk of heart diseases to a huge extent. According to scientists, the spice is capable of improving a number of common cardiac risk factors, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure. While we have already discussed the cholesterol-regulating ability of cinnamon, it has also been found to stabilize high blood pressure effectively. Besides, it enhances blood circulation through the heart and enables damaged heart tissue to repair and regenerate itself. Both of these help in protecting us from heart attacks, strokes, and other cardiac disorders.
A study was conducted by professors at University Joseph Fourier, France on cinnamon compounds. As per the study, liquid soluble cinnamon compounds have the property to reduce risk factors related to cardiovascular disease and diabetes. [Link]
5. Improves Insulin Sensitivity
Insulin is one of the key hormones found in human body and resistance to it can lead to a number of serious medical conditions including metabolic syndrome. Cinnamon reduces insulin resistance drastically and makes us sensitive to it. This is immensely helpful for regulating bodily metabolism and channelizing energy the right way. In addition, it facilitates the transportation of blood sugar to body cells.
6. Fights Against Diabetes
Regular intake of cinnamon can lower fasting blood sugar levels by increasing sensitivity to the hormone insulin. It also restricts the secretion of a group of digestive enzymes called ‘alanines’, which improves glycemic control and limits the amount of glucose entering the bloodstream. These have great positive impact on people suffering from type 2 diabetes. The spice can also work on our muscle cells to convert blood sugar into energy, which contributes to its anti-diabetic properties too.
Doses of 1, 3 or 6g of cinnamon daily are effective are effective in lowering glucose level while fasting. It was also seen that additionally it was effective in lowering of LDL cholesterol, triglyceride levels and total cholesterol in people suffering from type 2 diabetes. [Link]
7. Prevents Cognitive Decline
The antioxidant properties of cinnamon help in keeping our brain healthy by protecting it from aging and maintaining cognitive functionalities. It basically activates neuro protective proteins, which prevent the mutation of brain cells and puts a stop to the undergoing damages. By reducing the risk of cognitive decline, cinnamon also averts a whole lot of age-related neuro degenerative diseases including Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.
8. Lowers The Risk Of Cancer
Being loaded with protective antioxidants, the cinnamon extract is known to be extremely effective in lowering the risk of cancer. The cinnamaldehyde content of cinnamon contributes to its anti-carcinogenic properties to a large extent. The spice can inhibit the uncontrolled growth of cancerous tumor cells by preventing DNA damage, restricting cell mutation, and encouraging ‘apoptosis’ (self-destruction of cancerous cells).
A study conducted by UA College of Pharmacy and University of Arizona Cancer Center found the herb to be beneficial for cancer. It is primarily beneficial and is a potent inhibitor of cancer that begins in the rectum or colon and is primarily called as Colorectal Cancer. [Link]
9. Combats AIDS Efficiently
Nowadays, AIDS has become one of deadliest diseases around the globe and cinnamon can help fight against it successfully. The natural remedy works directly on the HIV virus that breaks down the immune system in humans, thereby leading to AIDS slowly. It mainly acts upon HIV-1, which is the most common type of strain known to infect human cells.
10. Keeps Infections At Bay
Cinnamon has amazing antibacterial, anti fungal, and antiviral properties that help in keeping all sorts of infections at bay. From common flu to serious lung infections, this spice can defend a number of illnesses by simply boosting our immunity. However, the use of cinnamon is mostly appreciated for treating digestive as well as respiratory tract infections.
11. Takes Care Of Oral Health
Cinnamon not only freshens up the mouth but also takes good care of it. According to studies, the extract of the spice can kill the oral microflora i.e. the bacteria living inside our mouth. As a result, we can get rid of a number of other oral problems including cavities, toothaches, tooth decay, infections, mouth sores, etc. naturally. This eventually treats the issue of bad breath too.
12. Helps Manage PCOS Symptoms
Polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS is one of the most serious health issues in today’s women and cinnamon can help manage its symptoms naturally. Weight gain is a common symptom of PCOS and cinnamon can manage it effectively due to its capability of reducing insulin resistance. The spice can also help ease heavy menstrual bleeding that is often associated with PCOS.
However, make sure that you find the right variety of cinnamon (‘ceylon’ has been found to be the healthiest one) and do not take more than 6gm of it a day to enjoy the optimal benefits.
Other Names for Cinnamon
Latin: Cinnamomum Zeylanicum
Hindi: Dalchini (दालचीनी)
Telugu: Dalchini Chekka (దాల్చిన చెక్క)
Kannada: Dalchini (ದಾಲ್ಚಿನ್ನಿ)