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Alternative medicine: Cinnamon
Tue, 30 Oct 2007 06:59:50
By Patricia Khashayar MD., Press TV, Tehran
Cinnamon usually combined with other medicines, has various therapeutic effects and is
prescribed in the form of powder and tisane.
Botanical: Cinnamomum Zeylanicum (NEES.)
Family: N.O. Lauraceae
Synonym: Laurus Cinnamomum.
Cinnamon is the inner bark of a 10-15 meters tall tropical evergreen tree, belonging to the
family Lauraceae, native to Sri Lanka and South India.
It grows plentifully in Malabar, Cochin-China, Sumatra and the Eastern Islands. It has also
been cultivated in Brazil, Mauritius, India, Jamaica, etc.
Cinnamon is the brown bark of the cinnamon tree, which when dried, rolls into a tubular form
known as a quill. Cinnamon is available in either its whole quill form (cinnamon sticks) or as
While there are approximately one hundred varieties of Cinnamonum verum (the scientific
name for cinnamon), Cinnamonum zeylanicum (Ceylon cinnamon) and Cinnamomun
aromaticum (Chinese cinnamon) are the leading varieties consumed. Ceylon cinnamon is also
referred to as 'true cinnamon', while the Chinese variety is known as 'cassia'.
The bark is widely used as a spice due to its distinct odor. The leaves are ovate-oblong in
shape, 7-18 cm long. The flowers, which are arranged in panicles, have a greenish color, and
have a distinct odor. The fruit is a purple one-centimeter berry containing a single seed.
Leaves, when bruised, smell spicy and have a hot taste; the berry tastes not unlike Juniper
and has a terebine smell; when ripe, bruised and boiled it gives off an oily matter which when
cool solidifies and is called cinnamon suet.
Cinnamon has a fragrant perfume, taste aromatic and sweet; when distilled it only gives a
very small quantity of oil, with a delicious flavor.
Bark. The commercial Cinnamon bark is the dried inner bark of the shoots.
Cinnamon is an excellent source of manganese and a very good source of dietary fiber,
calcium and iron.
0 to 10 per cent of volatile oil, tannin, mucilage and sugar.
Chemical components of the essential oil include ethyl cinnamate, eugenol, cinnamaldehyde,
beta-caryophyllene, linalool and methyl chavicol.
Cinnamon's unique healing abilities come from three basic types of components in the
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essential oils found in its bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde,
cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances.
In medicine, cinnamon acts like other volatile oils and once had a reputation as a cure for
Cinnamon is believed to be effective in treating arthritis and low back pain. It also
used as a sedative agent and to treat psoriasis. It stops vomiting, relieves flatulence, treats
anal fistula and rectal prolapse; given with chalk and astringents is useful for diarrhea and
Cinnamon has high antioxidant activities. The essential oil of cinnamon also has antimicrobial
properties, which aid in the preservation of certain foods.
Cinnamon is also used as an insect repellent.
Cinnamon may improve blood glucose, triglycerides and LDL cholesterol levels in individuals
with Type 2 diabetes.
The active ingredient in cinnamon turned out to be a water-soluble polyphenol compound
called MHCP. In test tube experiments, MHCP mimics insulin, activates its receptor, and works
synergistically with insulin in cells.
It is believed that including cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce
risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Seasoning a high-carb food with cinnamon can help lessen its impact on the blood sugar
levels. Cinnamon slows the rate at which the stomach empties after meals, reducing the rise
in blood sugar after eating.
Not only does consuming cinnamon improve the body's ability to utilize blood sugar, but also
just smelling the wonderful odor of this sweet spice boosts brain activity.
Chewing cinnamon flavored gum or just smelling cinnamon enhanced study participants'
cognitive processing. Specifically, cinnamon improved participants' scores on tasks requiring
concentration, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor speed while
working on a computer-based program.
Cinnamaldehyde (also called cinnamic aldehyde) has been well-researched for its effects on
blood platelets. It helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets.
Cinnamon's ability to lower the release of acid from cell membranes also puts it in the
category of an 'anti-inflammatory' food that can be helpful in lessening inflammation.
Cinnamon's essential oils also qualify it as an 'anti-microbial' food, and cinnamon has been
studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the
commonly trouble-making yeast Candida.
The combination of calcium and fiber in cinnamon is important and can be helpful for the
prevention of several different conditions.
Both calcium and fibers can bind to bile salts and help remove them from the body. By
removing bile, fibers help to prevent the damage that certain bile salts can cause to colon
cells, thereby reducing the risk of colon cancer.
In addition, when bile is removed by fibers, the body must break down cholesterol in order to
make new bile. This process can help to lower high cholesterol levels, which can be helpful in
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preventing atherosclerosis and heart disease.
For irritable bowel syndrome sufferers, the fiber in cinnamon may also provide relief from
constipation or diarrhea.
In addition to the active components in its essential oils and its nutrient composition,
cinnamon has also been valued in energy-based medical systems.
Cinnamon has been used to provide relief when faced with the onset of a cold or flu,
especially when mixed in a tea with some fresh ginger.
It is found that a mixture of honey and cinnamon cures most of the diseases, including:
- Heart diseases:
Regular application of a paste of honey and cinnamon powder on bread, chappati, or other
bread, instead of jelly and jam for breakfast, reduces the cholesterol in the arteries and saves
the patient from heart attack. Also those who already had an attack, if they do this process
daily, they are kept miles away from the next attack.
Regular use of the above prescription relieves the shortness of breath and strengthens the
heartbeat. It also revitalizes the arteries and veins.
- Insect bites:
Massaging the paste constituted from adding a small teaspoon of cinnamon powder and one
part honey to two parts of lukewarm water on the itching part will reduce the pain within a
minute or two.
Daily and regular use of one cup of hot water with two spoons of honey and one small
teaspoon of cinnamon powder may cure chronic arthritis.
- Hair loss:
Those suffering from hair loss or baldness, may apply a paste of hot olive oil, one tablespoon
of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder before bath and keep it for approx. 15 min.
and then wash the hair. It was found to be effective even if kept on for 5 minutes.
- Bladder infections:
Consuming two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of
lukewarm water destroys the germs in the bladder.
Applying the paste of one teaspoon of cinnamon powder and five teaspoons of honey and
apply on the aching tooth 3 times a day, reliefs the toothache.
Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of
tea water reduce the cholesterol level by 10% within 2 hours.
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Consuming a tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for 3 days
will cure most chronic cough and clear the sinuses.
Women who cannot conceive may also take a pinch of cinnamon powder in half teaspoon of
honey and apply it on the gums frequently throughout the day, so that it slowly mixes with
the saliva and enters the body.
- Upset stomach:
Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomachache and also uproots stomach ulcers.
Taking honey with cinnamon powder helps relieve the stomach gas.
- Immune system:
Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the
body from bacteria and viral attacks. Constant use of the paste strengthens the white blood
corpuscles to fight bacteria and viral diseases.
Cinnamon powder sprinkled on two tablespoons of honey taken before food, relieves acidity
and digests the heaviest of meals.
Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly arrests the ravages of old
age. Take 4 spoons of honey, 1 spoon of cinnamon powder and 3 cups of water and boil to
make like tea. Drink 1/4 cup, 3 to 4 times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests
Applying the paste made of three tablespoons of Honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon
powder on the pimples before sleeping and washing it next morning with warm water for two
weeks, removes pimples from the root.
- Skin infections:
Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema,
ringworm and all types of skin infections.
- Weight loss:
Drinking honey and cinnamon powder boiled in one-cup water, daily in the morning 1/2 hour
before breakfast on an empty stomach and at night before sleeping, helps reduce weight.
Also, drinking the mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body.
Taking honey and cinnamon power in equal parts may help individuals become more alert and