The Many Characteristics of Cinnamon


I have fond memories of mother buying cinnamon bread topped with frosting as a treat. We kids also sprinkled cinnamon powder and sugar on our toast as a topping. All our homemade bread now contains a teaspoon of cinnamon. People notice and compliment its flavor

The use of cinnamon goes far back in history. Ancient books, including the Bible, contain cinnamon in recipes, especially because of its aroma. Chinese writings talk of cinnamon nearly five thousand years ago. In Ancient Egypt and Rome, cinnamon was part of the embalming process. The Egyptians also used cinnamon for medicine and flavoring. In the Middle Ages, cinnamon was only affordable by the rich. By the Middle Ages, only the rich could afford these spices. In fact, a person’s rank was announced by how many spices he owned.

The word ‘cinnamon’ comes from the Greek word kinnamomon and this comes from the name Ceylon. Cinnamon is actually the bark of the tree. A rolled up piece of bark we call a cinnamon stick is officially called a quill. You can purchase cinnamon in this form or as a powder. Cinnamaldehyde is the chemical in cinnamon that gives it the fragrant flavor and taste.

Genuine cinnamon only comes from Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), where over 11,000 tons is exported each year. That amount would fill a hundred and fifty million large spice bottles! But if you buy cinnamon powder in the US you are probably buying cassia, also called Chinese cinnamon. The sweeter Sri Lankan cinnamon is probably only available in spice shops.

You probably think of cinnamon as just a nice spice, but it also has health benefits. For example, ½ teaspoon of cinnamon daily can lower harmful cholesterol. It may also help to regulate blood sugar, a great benefit to those with Type 2 diabetes.

The January 17th, 1995 issue of Weekly World News contained a list of 21 health problems or diseases that can be cured or at least helped by honey and cinnamon as researched by western scientists. These include heart disease, insect bites, arthritis, bladder infections, toothache, and common colds.

Cinnamon reduces the spread of some cancer cells such as leukemia and lymphoma, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Maryland. Cinnamon also has an anti-clotting effect on the blood. For some, cinnamon has even reduced arthritic pain. Cinnamon inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.

Cinnamon helps fight E. coli bacteria and is a boost to brain functions. It is a source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium, and can remove bile, preventing colon cancer. Fiber in cinnamon can also help with the relief of constipation and irritable bowel syndrome.

Cinnamon contains antiparasitic, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It helps in fighting off yeast infections in the mouth and vagina, and reduces the risk of stomach ulcers and head lice. This remarkable list of health benefits is due to its three basic types of essential oils

How about trying the cinnamon based ‘thieves’ oil’ so named because grave robbers sanitized themselves from the ‘demons’ of bubonic plague by washing in it. It is made from equal amounts of cinnamon bark, eucalyptus, lemon, and clove with rosemary therapeutic grade essential oils You make it mixing equal amounts of rosemary therapeutic grade essential oils and eucalyptus, cinnamon bark, lemon, and clove. Mix them with jojoba or olive oil as a carrier.

Besides its health and seasoning qualities, cinnamon has also been used for warming. Cinnamon provides relief when faced with the onset of a cold or flu, especially when mixed in a tea with some fresh ginger. This drink also is reported to provide relief from menstrual problems.

Don’t overuse cinnamon since large doses could be toxic. Neither should you let cinnamon replace medications you are taking. Cinnamon should be stored in glass containers in a dark, dry, cool place. The continued sweet smell tells you it is still fresh.

Don’t overuse cinnamon since large doses could be toxic. Cinnamon does not replace needed medications either. Cinnamon should be stored in glass containers in a dark, dry, cool place. The continued sweet smell tells you it is still fresh.

Cinnamon acts as a tonic to the entire body. Just make sure you purchase cinnamon powder from a store that sells bulk herbs so as to receive the full benefit this amazing spice has to offer.


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