We’ve all seen images of creamy hot chocolate cups, with a swirly cinnamon stick dipped into it. The dipping of cinnamon isn’t a mindless ritual, it’s warming, delicious and loaded with health benefits!
The rolls of cinnamon are extracted from the bark of the cinnamon tree. The stems are cut, the outer bark is scraped off and beaten with a hammer to loosen the inner bark. Another common variety of cinnamon is cassia, which has a more intense flavour and a more reddish color.
The characteristic aroma of cinnamon is due to its essential oil. Cinnamon is used in baked goods, beverages and savoury dishes.
5 Home Remedies Using Cinnamon
Here’re five home remedies for your everyday problems using cinnamon:
1. Cinnamon Honey Acne Mask
Cinnamon and honey both contain anti-microbial properties that can heal acne or skin allergies and improve skin health.
2. Homemade Cinnamon Toothpaste
While the cinnamon improves overall dental health, baking soda can remove stains, while the coconut oil prevents tooth decay.
3. Cinnamon Tea for Cold
Honey offers natural relief for cough and cold, and the cinnamon hastens the healing process.
4. Cinnamon Apple Cider Tonic
This tonic helps ease all kinds of digestive distress like cramps, diarrhoea, flatulence and bloating.
5. DIY Cinnamon Stick Candle
This candle will give out a lovely aroma that’ll boost brain health and improve focus and concentration while relieving stress.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
Here’re some health benefits of cinnamon:
1. Provides Several Antioxidants
In a study of 26 spices, cinnamon was found to have the most antioxidants of all, even more than garlic. Experts have found at least 41 different compounds including polyphenols phenolic acid and flavonoids. These antioxidants fight oxidative stress and reduce free radicals, thus protecting against premature ageing and chronic illnesses.
2. Boosts Brain Function
Cinnamon is known to increase neurotrophic factors, which help maintaining the health of existing neurons while encouraging the growth of new ones. Compounds in cinnamon also inhibit the buildup of damaging proteins, which help protect against neurological illnesses like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. Studies have also shown that cinnamon improves the body’s reaction to stress.
3. Relieves Inflammation
Inflammation is a normal part of the functioning of the human body, but it is also associated with all kinds of health issues from skin problems to cancer. Cinnamon’s antioxidants like flavonoids help fighting inflammation, keeping these illnesses at bay.
4. Fights Infection
Cinnamon fights infection with many natural properties – it is antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. The compound cinnamaldehyde fights bacteria like salmonella and listeria, as well as yeast like candida albicans, which is responsible for candida overgrowth. Cinnamon also boosts immunity with antioxidant polyphenols and proanthocyanidins.
5. Improves Oral Health
The infection fighting properties of cinnamon also help in maintaining oral health. Cinnamon can fight tooth decay, cavities, bad breath as well as mouth sores. Due to this reason, it is often used as an ingredient in many natural or herbal toothpastes.
6. Reduces Pain
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon is helpful in managing pain, whether its muscle soreness, menstrual pain, allergic reactions or joint pain. Cinnamon also reduces swelling and boosts blood circulation which offers more relief.
7. Acts as a Natural Preservative
With its anti-bacterial properties, cinnamon is an excellent natural alternative to other preservatives, particularly for fruit. Cinnamon can help delay the rotting of fruit and its anti-tyrosinase properties prevent discoloration of fruit on exposure to air.
Tips to Buy and Store Cinnamon
Cinnamon is available both in powder and rolls. True cinnamon rolls can be powdered at home, but cassia rolls are hard and can even damage the grinder. Whole cinnamon can be differentiated by the appearance and aroma. True cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon is thin and paper-like with many rolls, while cassia is thick with a few layers. Ceylon cinnamon has a ‘sweeter’ aroma, while cassia is more pungent. It is recommended to choose Ceylon cinnamon wherever possible, especially if organic versions are available.
Cinnamon in whole or powdered form should be stored in air tight containers in cool, dark and dry places, away from heat, humidity or sunlight. Rather than the refrigerator, freezing cinnamon helps to keep it fresh. When stored properly, whole cinnamon can last for 4-5 years while powdered cinnamon can last for 2-3 years.
It is important to note that all the health benefits of cinnamon as mentioned above apply with the use of true cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon. Over use of cassia can have harmful effects, due to the large amount of coumarin present in it. Too much coumarin can damage the liver and kidneys and also affect blood coagulation. It is recommended to use cinnamon sparingly for pregnant or breastfeeding women, or those with heavy menstrual bleeding.
(Pratibha spent her childhood in idyllic places only fauji kids would have heard of. When she's not rooting for eco-living or whipping up some DIY recipes to share with her readers, Pratibha is creating magic with social media. You can view her blog at www.pratsmusings.com or reach to her on Twitter at @myepica.)
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