Essential Herbs & Spices… Lets talk Cinnamon!

Cinnamon

Facts ,history and what its good for.

Definition:

Is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods. While Cinnamomum verum is sometimes considered to be “true cinnamon”, most cinnamon in international commerce is derived from related species, which are also referred to as “cassia” to distinguish them from “true cinnamon” [1]

Origin:

Siri Lanka :

Cinnamomum verum (“True cinnamon”, Sri Lanka cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon

Uses:

Cinnamon bark is widely used as a spice. It is principally employed in cookery as a condiment and flavouring material. It is used in the preparation of chocolate, especially in Mexico, which is the main importer of cinnamon.[32] It is also used in many dessert recipes, such as apple pie, doughnuts, and cinnamon buns as well as spicy candies, tea, hot cocoa, and liqueurs. True cinnamon, rather than cassia, is more suitable for use in sweet dishes. In the Middle East, it is often used in savoury dishes of chicken and lamb. In the United States, cinnamon and sugar are often used to flavour cereals, bread-based dishes, and fruits, especially apples; a cinnamon-sugar mixture is even sold separately for such purposes. Cinnamon can also be used in pickling. Cinnamon bark is one of the few spices that can be consumed directly. Cinnamon powder has long been an important spice in Persian cuisine, used in a variety of thick soups, drinks, and sweets. It is often mixed with rosewater or other spices to make a cinnamon-based curry powder for stews or just sprinkled on sweet treats (most notably Shole-zard, Persian شله زرد). It is also used in sambar powder or BisiBelebath powder in Karnataka, which gives it a rich aroma and tastes unique. It is also used in Turkish cuisine for both sweet and savoury dishes.

Cinnamon has been proposed for use as an insect repellent, although it remains untested.[33] Cinnamon leaf oil has been found to be very effective in killing mosquito larvae.[34] Of the compounds found in the essential oil from cinnamon leaves, cinnamyl acetate, eugenol, and anethole, and in particular cinnamaldehyde, were found to have the highest effectiveness against mosquito larvae.

Medical Reasearch:

In a 2000 study,[35] it was shown that of the 69 plant species screened, 16 were effective in vitro against HIV-1 and four were against both HIV-1 and HIV-2. The most effective extracts against HIV-1 and HIV-2 were respectively Cinnamomum cassia (bark) and Cardiospermum helicacabum (shoot + fruit).

The compound eugenol, a major component of the essential oil from the leaves of the cinnamon tree, has antiviral properties in vitro, specifically against both the HSV-1 and HSV-2 (Oral and Genital Herpes) viruses according to a 2000 study.[36]

A 2003 study shows benefits of cinnamon in diet of type 2 diabetics: “Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes”.[37]

A study conducted in 2007 suggests that specific plant terpenoids contained within cinnamon have potent antiviral properties.[38]

Pharmacological experiments suggest that the cinnamon-derived dietary factor cinnamic aldehyde (cinnamaldehyde) activates the Nrf2-dependent antioxidant response in human epithelial colon cells and may therefore represent an experimental chemopreventive dietary factor targeting colorectal carcinogenesis.[39] Recent research documents anti-melanoma activity of cinnamic aldehyde observed in cell culture and a mouse model of human melanoma.[40]

Cinnamon bark, a component of the traditional Japanese medicine Mao-to, has been shown in a 2008 study published in the Journal of General Virology to have an antiviral therapeutic effect.[41]

A 2011 study isolated a substance (CEppt) in the cinnamon plant that inhibits development of Alzheimer’s in mice.[42] CEppt, an extract of cinnamon bark, seems to treat a mouse model of Alzheimer’s disease.[43]

A 2012 study suggested that cinnamon supplementation is able to significantly improve blood glucose control in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes.

Health Benefits of Cinnamon:

1. anti-clotting and anti-inflammatory properties,

which help prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets. And, it may help boost brain function.

2. Cinnamon is an anti-microbial food that can stop the growth of bacteria, fungi and yeast.

A study in the August 2003 International Journal of Food Microbiology also found that a few drops of cinnamon essential oil added to carrot broth was able to effectively preserve the food and fight pathogenic organisms–all while improving the flavor of the broth.

3.People with diabetes should also take note that cinnamon is a useful tool to help control blood sugar.

A study in the December 2003 Diabetes Care found that eating one to six grams of cinnamon daily significantly reduced blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. Meanwhile, it also reduced their triglyceride levels, LDL (bad) cholesterol and total cholesterol levels. Plus, a study in the February 2004 Hormone Metabolism Research found that this tasty spice appears to prevent insulin resistance even in animals eating a high-fructose diet.

4. Cinnamon is a powerful antioxidant.

A study in the Journal of Nutrition found that out of all spices, cinnamon is one of the richest sources of disease-fighting antioxidants.

5. Cinnamon Temporarily BOOSTS your metabolism!

Cinnamon and Metabolism

Cinnamon may temporarily raise your metabolism, but it’s not as effective as exercise or other dietary changes, such as eating a high-fiber diet, limiting alcohol or consuming caffeine for boosting your metabolic rate. A “New York Times” article from 2006 states that “spicy foods can increase metabolism, though only to a minor extent.” But cinnamon may have other important health benefits, including the ability to help you lose weight and prevent or help control type 2 diabetes and fight :

Recipe:

http://loseweightbyeating.com/2012/04/01/apple-cinnamon-day-spa-water-0-calories/

This recipe is pretty good. I find that breaking the Cinnamon stick helps release the flavor. Its pretty yummy and filling. Use sweet apples and slice as thin as possible to release the flavor.

Sources used:

(Wikipedia , http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinnamon”)

http://www.livestrong.com/article/491512-does-cinnamon-increase-metabolism/#ixzz2HzGQ2Xft

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