Cinnamon and Its Health Benefits
Ah, cinnamon. Your favorite bread has it, your favorite coffee has it, and your favorite cough patch has it, as well. Why? Here's why.
Research on cinnamon is still ongoing, and while preliminary research is promising, more well-designed human trials still need to be completed. There are, however, a few health benefits that seem particularly promising (and it certainly doesn't hurt to season up your food with this spice). From diabetes to pain management, an extra dash of cinnamon may be part of a plan to fight these common problems.
Cinnamon has been used as a medicine in traditional Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine for centuries. Known for its benefits linked to digestion and gastrointestinal complaints, cinnamon has long been used as a home remedy for heartburn, indigestion, and nausea.
Look, scientific research is complex and constantly changing. To prove the benefits of any supplement, medicine, or food, researchers undertake a process that can go on for years, testing first in lab conditions followed by in animals.
But what makes cinnamon so great and warrants the spice healthy effects? Many of cinnamon’s fantastic properties come from one substance, something called cinnamaldehyde, which is naturally present in cinnamon. Cinnamaldehyde is the source many of the antifungal and antibacterial properties that make cinnamon such a great addition to your diet.
Perhaps the most promising research pointing to the health benefits of cinnamon is linked to type 2 diabetes. While there is certainly no cure for this metabolic disease, cinnamon can be an important tool in managing its symptoms.
“It can reduce blood pressure and have a positive effect on blood markers for those with Type 2 diabetes," Lori Kenyon Farley, a Certified Nutrition Consultant specializing in wellness, fitness and anti-aging and one of the experts behind Project Juice, explains. Cinnamon can also reduce insulin resistance, which, Farley explains, “has been shown to lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 29%, which can reduce the instance of Type 2 diabetes.”
The spice works directly on the muscle cells to force them to remove sugar from the bloodstream, where it is converted to energy. The key is in increasing insulin sensitivity in the body, a sensitivity that, while present at birth for those without type 1 diabetes, slowly decreases as we age and consume more sugar.
As a result, sugar floats around in the blood, causing diabetes and other health problems. Cinnamon, which is completely non-toxic, repairs the receptors so they are once again responsive to insulin.
And even if you do not suffer from diabetes or metabolic syndrome, you may want to include cinnamon in your diet for many of the same reasons as those who do.
Also, did you know that cinnamon has antimicrobial properties?
Cinnamon has been proven to fight fungal, bacterial, and viral elements in foods. But these properties of cinnamon do not extend merely to the foods cinnamon seasons. Consumers of cinnamon can benefit from these properties as well, according to our experts, who say cinnamon can be used as part of a treatment for anything from lung problems to the common cold.
Denise Baron, a wellness educator and director of Ayurveda for Modern Living explains that cinnamon can help with all sorts of lung congestion issues. “It helps clear up mucus and encourages circulation,” she explains, thus lending its powers to everything from a simple seasonal cough to bronchitis, when used in tandem with other remedies.
These benefits were highlighted in a research review, which pointed to evidence that cinnamon can inhibit bacteria by damaging cell membranes and altering their lipid profile, among other means. But while preliminary results are promising, more well-designed trials are necessary before conclusive benefits can be proven.
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties.
It is possible that the consumption of cinnamon could reduce both systemic and specific inflammation, though more human trials are needed in order to render these possible benefits conclusive. The former is particularly important in the Western world. Systemic inflammation is a prominent problem that has led to the rise in chronic disease. By adding cinnamon to a regular diet, this systemic inflammation can be reduced significantly.
Specific inflammation reduction means that consumption of cinnamon could help treat certain types of pain and headaches, as well as arthritis pain. It plays a double role in this particular type of pain, according to Baron, as cinnamon can also boost circulation. With circulation problems such as Raynaud’s syndrome or arthritis, this helps stimulate and push circulation to the joints.
Cinnamon is also a natural insect repellent.
Anecdotal evidence points to cinnamon as a natural insect repellent, and a 2013 study in the Journal of Medicinal Entomology found that cinnamon essential oil, in addition to eucalyptus and star anise, could indeed be natural insect repellents, specifically with regards to certain mites.
It’s possible we’re just brushing the surface here. After all, Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have long revered cinnamon for its near superpowers, using it to treat things such as colds, indigestion and cramps, not to mention for its anti-clotting properties as well as attributes for cognitive function and memory. These societies also believed cinnamon could improve energy, vitality and circulation. It’s no wonder we’ve dubbed it a superfood! And it is not hard to see why our trusted and loved organic cough relief patch, opted to harness the power of cinnamon along with other ingredients to provide nature's answer to cough and discomfort! Get yours here!