Cinnamon is the queen of the kitchen as it is a very versatile spice. Beyond cinnamon tea or being used in desserts such as rice pudding or sweets such as cinnamon rolls, many countries such as India, Mexico, the Middle East, and North Africa also use it for to flavor savory dishes such as meat stews, curry dishes, burritos and even to enhance the taste of the wine.
Known as the exotic spice par excellence, cinnamon became much more valuable than gold itself in ancient times, hence the famous expression “this is cinnamon stick”. But cinnamon can offer us much more than a mildly sweet and woody flavor thanks to the amount of nutritional properties it possesses, which are very beneficial for our body. Many people doubt its healing power and think it is a myth, but we trust blindly in its properties and medicinal benefits, so much so that we will tell you about them in the following lines.
How is cinnamon obtained?
This spice comes from the cinnamon tree, also called cinnamon tree or Cinnamomum zeylanicum, a tropical evergreen tree, which can reach 10 meters in height, and is very common in the area of Sri Lanka and India, but also is grown in warm countries with cold winters such as Brazil, Burma, Indonesia and on islands in the Pacific Ocean.
The most surprising thing is that cinnamon is extracted from the inner bark of this tree, which is so beneficial because it gives off a very nutritious resin and is rich in iron. To obtain cinnamon, this inner bark is extracted every two years and left to ferment for 24 hours. Once this time has passed, the outer part is scraped off, and the remaining amount, which is where its antiseptic and digestive compounds are, is rolled up, giving it the cinnamon stick shape we all know and left to dry in the sun. Once dried in the sun, these cinnamon sticks can be ground into cinnamon powder.
First of all, it should be pointed out that cinnamon is 100% edible and that you can find it both in stick and powder form, and that it does not matter in which state you consume it; both forms maintain all their medicinal properties. The most outstanding feature of cinnamon is its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant power, so much so that it can be used as a natural preservative, as was done in ancient times with meat to inhibit the bacteria responsible for putrefaction.
Besides anti-inflammatory and antioxidant, other miraculous powers of cinnamon are healing, antibacterial, antiviral, probiotic, antifungal, anesthetic, and antispasmodic. It also stimulates appetite and has an invigorating effect. Are there still people who doubt its medicinal properties with all it can do for our health? Because we don’t doubt your magic!
All its miraculous powers are found in its components. Cinnamon comprises 65-70% cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol, cinnamic alcohol, and aromatic essential oil. In addition, it also contains hydroxycinnamic aldehyde, trans-cinnamic acid, o-methoxy cinnamic aldehyde, cinnamic acetate, and terpenes linalool and diterpene. It also has high percentages of coumarins, tannins, beta-carotenes, mucilage, proanthocyanidins, minerals, iron, calcium, fiber, selenium, and vitamins A, C, and B. Does anyone give more?
Remember that, although cinnamon is safe and healthy food, it is best not to abuse its consumption, as is the case with other foods as it could be counterproductive and, in some cases, be toxic if taken in large quantities.
Benefits of cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice widely used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine. Chinese medicine has also been using it for centuries to treat digestive problems, gynecological problems, and colds. As you can see, cinnamon has numerous benefits for our body and has been used for thousands of years to treat all kinds of ailments. Here are its most important benefits:
1. Improves digestion
Cinnamon, in small quantities, improves salivation and is therefore very good for combating gastrointestinal disorders such as gas, nausea, or dyspepsia. It also regulates intestinal flora and digestion and, thanks to its astringent effect, helps to stop diarrhea.
2. Lowers blood glucose
The consumption of this food is highly recommended for people with diabetes since there are scientific studies that show that cinnamon can improve the sensitivity of cells to insulin, which translates into a lowering of blood glucose levels.
3. Helps to lose weight
When a person wants to lose weight, the first thing recommended is to reduce sugar intake and even try to cut sugar consumption at the root. The problem is that their palate is so accustomed to sweetness that it is very difficult for them to give up 100% sugar. But that’s what cinnamon is for, to act as a substitute for sugar thanks to its sweet taste. So if you want to lose weight, start by substituting cinnamon for sugar in your desserts, coffee, etc. In addition, cinnamon is not fattening: a small spoonful has only six calories.
4. Reduces blood pressure
Another of its medicinal properties is that cinnamon helps lower blood pressure, which also benefits the reduction of the risk of heart disease. It also plays an important role in activating circulation thanks to its calorific effect and in balancing the levels of bad LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
As you have been able to read, cinnamon is a food that you should start incorporating into your diet if you want to take advantage of all its benefits and medicinal properties, in addition to enjoying all its flavor and sweetness, of course.