India has variety of spices that adds fragrant aroma and flavors to a variety of cuisines. This is why spices have always had a good importexport business. Spices like Cloves, Black Pepper, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, etc. are known of its good flavor as well as for their medicinal properties. Among all other spices, Cinnamon is considered the first ancient spice used in medieval era. As early as 2000 BCE, cinnamon were brought to Egypt and were used as a preservative for meat. This spice is available in quills as these are the bark of western evergreen trees.
Cinnamon is an energy giving spice rich in carbohydrates, sugar and fiber with fewer amounts of fat and proteins. It is the bark of Asian plant which is brown in color. While there are many varieties of cinnamon available, the most common of them are Cassia Cinnamon and Ceylon Cinnamon. Cassia Cinnamon, which is from China, Vietnam, and Indonesia, has red brownish thick bark used for baking purpose. It is very spicy and has avery intense taste. Ceylon Cinnamon is found in Sri Lanka, India, Brazil, and Caribbean. It is mellow and sweet in taste from the upper part of the bark which naturally turns into quills.
Cinnamon is used to flavor both sweet and savory dishes. It is used in soups, cereals, baked goods like bread, pie, cakes and cookies. Cinnamon is used to spice up tea and coffee. It is used in many snacks and curries like Chole Bhature, Palak Paneer, and it is one of the main ingredients in Garam Masala and Tea Masala.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon:
Lower’s Cholesteroland Blood Sugar Levels: Studies have found that regular intake of cinnamon helps in lower the LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and increases theHDL cholesterol. It also regulates blood sugar level and decrease the risk of heart attack for people with diabetes. Cinnamon has no adverse effects on people with high diabetes but cinnamon powder or supplement should be taken in moderation. It can be used as a popular home remedy to control sugar levels.
Helps in Toothache: Cinnamon consists of antibacterial properties which is useful to keep your mouth free from bacteria. Only two drops of Cinnamon oil is applied on the tooth and surrounding area to get rid of tooth problems.This is also one of the key ingredients used in mouthwash, toothpastes, chewing gums, and mints.
Helpful in Weight Loss:It is useful in thinning blood and regulates the blood circulation properly which increases the metabolism of the body and reduces weight.
Used for Common Cold and Cough:Cinnamon helps clear the sinuses and fight the congestion by clearing the mucus and boosts circulation. It is one of the ingredients used in homemade hot Kadha (concoction)to treat cold and cough. Also strong cinnamon tea is used to treat sore throat, cough and sneezing.
Ease the Premenstrual Syndrome:Cinnamon is rich in manganeseand has an anti-inflammatory and antispasmodic property which eases the PMS pain or pre-menstrual cramps.
Useful in Homemade facial scrub: Cinnamon has antiseptic and anti-microbial properties which fights pimples and acne. Cinnamon powder when used in homemade scrubscleanses the skin pores and exfoliates your skin by removing dry and dead skin cells. It will also improve the blood circulationwhen gently massaged onto your skin. Cinnamon can cause burning sensation so should be used with great care.
Muscles pain: Cinnamon essential oil is used in body massage to get relief from muscles pain and muscles cramp. The anti-inflammatory property of cinnamon helps reduce the inflammation and enhances blood circulation. It helps relax the muscles reducing the pain and stiffness. This oil may cause skin irritation.
Food poisoning: Cinnamon soothes down the person suffering from food poisoning by killing the bacteria, fungus and microbes affecting the body.
Arthritis/Osteoporosis: Deficiency of minerals like manganese causes Arthritis and Osteoporosis. Cinnamon is rich in manganese so it helps in building bones, blood and other connective tissues. Massaging with Cinnamon oil or consuming Cinnamon tea would be helpful in Arthritis/Osteoporosis.
Ways to use Cinnamon:
Cinnamon Tea: Take 2 cup of boiling water and add ½ teaspoon of regular tea and cinnamon powder into it and let it boil for 5 minutes. Strain the tea in the cup and add one teaspoon of honey into it. Cinnamon tea is ready to serve. You can squeeze lemon into it for taste.
Cinnamon and Honey:Take equal quantities of cinnamon powder and honey and make a paste. This paste when taken in the morning half an hour before breakfast helps in digestion and losing weight.
Cinnamon in Soups and Coffee: Sprinkling of ½teaspoon of cinnamon powder in your soup, coffee, or tea will give relief from seasonal allergies caused due to sudden climate change.
Cinnamon and Lemon: Cinnamon and lemon mixed with honey becomes a facemask whichhelps cleanse your skin.
Note: Cinnamon should be taken in moderate quantity not exceeding than 1 teaspoon per day. Please consult your physician before taking cinnamon in any form, powder or supplements, as overdose can be toxic. Pregnant women should avoid taking cinnamon in any form.