Cinnamon may boost brain function, help with weight loss, and helps with blood sugar control
The warming spice cinnamon has been valued for its culinary, medicinal, and natural preservative powers since ancient times. First described by Shen Nung, the father of Chinese Medicine, circa 2800 BC, ancient Egyptians used cinnamon as part of the mummification process.
In the first century CE, Europeans treasured the spice so much that they paid 15 times more for it than silver.
Cinnamon is actually the brown bark of the cinnamon tree. It can be found in quill form (the dried “stick” variety) or ground as a fine powder.
Rich in essential oil, cinnamon contains active components including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, which account for some of its many therapeutic benefits.
7 Surprising Reasons to Eat More Cinnamon
There’s good reason to use cinnamon for far more than just a dash in your morning coffee or tea. Cinnamon is known to enhance your antioxidant defenses, and it’s been found to kill E. coli and many other bacteria. Its anti-inflammatory compounds help relieve pain and stiffness of muscles and joints due to arthritis.
It also helps prevent urinary tract infections, tooth decay, and gum disease, and helps with blood sugar control.
Specifically, seven top reasons to add more cinnamon to your diet include:
1. Calm Inflammation
Cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory, in part due to its cinnamaldehyde content.
According to research published in the journal Molecular Biology, chronic inflammation plays a major role in the development of various neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain tumor, and meningitis.
The study suggests that cinnamon (and other spices like turmeric, red pepper, black pepper, licorice, clove, ginger, garlic, and coriander) target inflammatory pathways, thereby potentially helping to prevent neurodegenerative diseases.
2. Boost Brain Function
Participants who smelled cinnamon (or chewed cinnamon-flavored gum) had improved scores on tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed. The scent of cinnamon worked better than both peppermint and jasmine at enhancing cognitive function.
3. Support Weight Loss
Cinnamon reduces blood glucose concentration and enhances insulin sensitivity. In obese and healthy-weight individuals, cinnamon is also effective in moderating postprandial glucose response (or the amount of sugar in your blood after a meal).
4. Soothe Sore Throat or Cough
By soaking cinnamon sticks in water, you create cinnamon water with a water-soluble fiber called mucilage. This helps to coat and soothe your throat.
Cinnamon also has antibacterial properties that may help certain sore throats, and its warming properties increase blood flow and blood oxygen levels to help fight infection. According to traditional Chinese medicine, cinnamon is useful for phlegmy coughs.
5. Anti-Cancer Properties
The cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon appears to suppress colon cancer cells and may also be effective against human liver cancer cells. As reported by the George Mateljan Foundation
6. Relieve Symptoms of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)
Children with ADHD who received cinnamon aromatherapy along with rehabilitation had significantly reduced symptoms.
For starters, cinnamon has been shown to enhance motivation and performance, while decreasing frustration and anxiety while driving,15 which may explain some of its beneficial effects on ADHD symptoms.
7. Diabetes Support
Cinnamon is known to help improve glycemic status, including levels of fasting blood glucose, among people with type 2 diabetes. Another study found that the spice increased glucose metabolism by about 20 times, which would significantly improve your ability to regulate blood sugar.
Also in the Ayurvedic system of medicine, the powdered inner bark… is indicated for treating throat and mouth diseases, dryness of mouth, thirst, urinary bladder diseases, hemorrhoids, worm infestation, rhinitis/sinusitis, and heart disease. In Siddha medicine, the powdered inner stem bark… is used for treating all types of poisons and toxins, dysentery, painful gastrointestinal disorders with indigestion, flatulence, and wheezing.
In Indian Ayurvedic and Unani medicine, cinnamon bark oil is used as a single drug to treat flatulence, impaired digestion and metabolism, intestinal tract inflammation, peptic ulcer, vomiting, hemorrhoids, failure of penile erection, worm infestation, dryness of mouth, thirst, rhinitis/sinusitis, acute pain of nervine origin, blood disorders, tubercular ulcers, scorpion bite, and toothache. Cinnamon leaf oil has been used externally for rheumatism and inflammation