I didn’t. Not until about a week ago, when my mom and I were talking about natural remedies and she mentioned one with cinnamon. But not just any kind of cinnamon. No.
Ceylon Cinnamon. Cinnamomum Verum. Sweet Cinnamon.
(In case you’re like me and don’t know how to pronounce ‘Ceylon’, it’s said like ‘sill-on’. Thank you Webster Online. Now go impress your friends.)
The difference between Ceylon Cinnamon (true cinnamon) and Saigon/Chinese Cinnamon (cassia) goes beyond the price. Yes, Ceylon Cinnamon is pricier but it is well worth it. Cassia, the less expensive and typical store cinnamon, is high in a chemical compound called coumarin. Eating too much cassia cinnamon can result in liver damage from the coumarin. What’s interesting is how much is considered ‘too much’. A child eating 1/2 tsp. on his oatmeal 3 times a week exceeds what authorities consider safe levels of coumarin. And according to a 2010 study reported in an article from the American Chemical Society, coumarin can be up to 63x’s higher in cassia than true cinnamon. Yikes!
This is pretty important to me because I LOVE cinnamon. I put this spice on everything – including in our smoothies, our yogurt, our desserts, on ice cream, etc. So, I feel pretty good about paying a little extra money for a whole lot less of a toxic chemical.
As much as I thought I loved cinnamon, I have to say – I think the Ceylon Cinnamon tastes even better! It’s sweeter and seems to have a more ‘true’ cinnamon flavor. I’ve been going to town with it and I’m pretty sure I’ll be ordering more sooner than later. As much as it pains me to waste food, I’ll be dumping my giant Sam’s Club cinnamon out and replacing it with the good stuff.
Some of the associated benefits of cinnamon include:
- Healthy Bones and Connective Tissue – According to the World’s Healthiest Foods, cinnamon is an excellent source of the mineral manganese. Manganese is necessary for proper health and growth of bone structure. It is especially important for post-menopausal women who can tend to have manganese deficiency. Getting proper amounts can help to slow down osteoporosis.
- Anti-Inflammatory – Many people believe that cinnamon can be used as part of the treatment for many inflammatory diseases, such as: Arthritis, heart disease, cancer, Alzheimer’s, stroke and multiple sclerosis. (There haven’t been any conclusive studies proving cinnamon to be a cure but many people believe that its anti-inflammatory nature can help prevent/repair damage from these diseases.)
- Anti-oxidant – Cinnamon is one of the top anti-oxidant foods you can eat. Anti-oxidants help repair damaged cells in all parts of your body.
- Anti-bacterial/Anti-fungal – there’s a reason Cinnamon essential oil is one of the oils used in the Thieves oil blend. It is a powerful anti-bacterial that can help fight infections. This includes easing cold and flu symptoms, sore throat, healing Candida (yeast) infections, urinary tract infections, staph infections, SARS-associated infections, E. coli, and more.
- Eases Stomach Upset – Due to its anti-bacterial and carminative qualities, cinnamon is great for settling upset stomachs and easing nausea from the stomach virus. It can also help with IBS symptoms, ulcers, bloating and stomach cramps.
- Excellent source of Fiber – provides relief to sufferers of constipation and diarrhea.
- Blood Sugar Control – while this isn’t proven to be an effective treatment for those with diabetes, it can help metabolize sugars in the body. Eating a high-carb food? To keep your blood sugar from spiking afterwards – just add cinnamon to it.
- Anti-clotting – The chemical, cinnamaldehyde, in cinnamon thins blood and helps it to flow faster. This can be helpful to those with heart disease. Just make sure not to combine this with pharmaceutical blood thinners! Also, faster flowing blood boosts the metabolism and can help with weight loss.
All of these benefits coupled with a great taste makes cinnamon one of my favorite healing herbs/spices. If you’d like to read up a little more about it, here are some of the resources I found:
American Chemical Society – http://www.acs.org/content/acs/en/pressroom/presspacs/2010/acs-presspac-november-3-2010/levels-of-coumarin-in-cassia-cinnamon-vary-greatly-even-in-bark-from-the-same-tree.html
Cinnamon Vogue – http://cinnamonvogue.com/cinnamoncommonuses.html
Herb Wisdom – http://www.herbwisdom.com/herb-cinnamon.html
Livestrong – http://www.livestrong.com/article/22014-cinnamon-health-benefits/
Mountain Rose Herbs – https://www.mountainroseherbs.com/bulkherb/c.php#h_c_s_cinp
Organic Facts – http://www.organicfacts.net/health-benefits/minerals/health-benefits-of-manganese.html
World’s Healthiest Foods – http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=foodspice&dbid=68#healthbenefits