Cinnamon is a spice which is present in almost every household. But wait do we know the benefits of cinnamon or we are using it like that only. In this article we will discuss some researched proof benefits of cinnamon. So that one can utilize this medicinal spice in correct way and gain 100% benefits of this spice.
Before starting with the benefits of this spice. I want to discuss the types of cinnamon on the basis of their origin:
#1: Ceylon cinnamon:
It is also known as true cinnamon. It is majorly found in Sri lanka and southern part of India. It’s made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree. Ceylon cinnamon is a high-quality spice. Between 50–63% of its oil is cinnamaldehyde, which explains its mild flavor. It’s having a delicate and mildly sweet flavor suitable for desserts.
#2: Cassia cinnamon:
It is originated in southern China, also known as chinese cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon comes from the Cinnamomum cassia tree, also called Cinnamomum aromaticum. Cassia cinnamon is the most common variety. It has a stronger flavor than Ceylon and 95% of its oil is cinnamaldehyde. Cassia cinnamon is of lower quality. It is cheap and is most commonly consumed around the world. Cinnamon found in supermarkets is of cassia variety.
Now, the question may arise in your mind that which one is better between both of them. Ceylon and cassia have slightly different health properties. This is because of their essential oil ratios are somewhat different. However, no research has compared the health benefits of ceylon and cassia cinnamon.
Cassia contains coumarin which can be harmful if taken in large doses. In rodents, coumarin is known to cause kidney, liver and lung damage. It may even cause cancer. In humans, there are isolated incidents of similar effects (1, 2)
Cassia contains about 1% coumarin, while Ceylon contains only 0.004%, or we can say 250 times less. This is so low that it’s often undetectable. Exceeding the upper limit for coumarin is easily possible if you are taking a lot of cassia cinnamon. In many cases, just 1-2 teaspoons could bring someone over the daily limit.
Now, as we have discussed types of cinnamon and according to your case which one should you choose to take is now easy after the above explanation. we will now discuss the benefits of cinnamon. Which everyone should know to reap the benefits of this spice.
#1: Cinnamon contains Antioxidants:
In a study, that compared the activity of 26 spices, in that study Cinnamon was a clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano (6).
#2: Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory in nature:
Inflammation is important to our body. It helps the body to fight infection and repair tissue damage. However, it can become a problem if it is chronic and directed against your body’s own tissues.
#3: It May cut the risk of cardiovascular disease:
Cinnamon is linked to reduce the risk of heart disease. Heart disease is the world’s most common cause of premature death.
Currently, a big review study concluded that a cinnamon dose of just 120 mg per day can have these effects. In this study, cinnamon increased “good” HDL cholesterol levels 10 . In animal study, cinnamon has shown the reduction in blood pressure (11).
On combining, all these factors may drastically cut your risk of heart disease.
#4: Cinnamon can increase sensitivity to Insulin:
Insulin is one of the important hormone that regulate metabolism and energy use.
It’s also helpful in transporting blood sugar from our blood stream to cells. But some people are resistant to the effects of insulin. This condition is insulin resistance, a sign of serious condition like Metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.
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#5: Cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels:
Cinnamon is well known for its blood sugar lowering properties.
Cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters our bloodstream after a meal. It is possible due to the interference of cinnamon with digestive enzymes, as a result, slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in our digestive tract (14, 15)
The effective dose is 1-6 gms of cinnamon per day.
#6: Cinnamon is beneficial in Neurodegenerative Disease:
Neurodegenerative diseases can be define as the progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells. Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are two of the most common types.
In a study, Mice with Parkinson’s disease, cinnamon helped protect neurons, normalized neurotransmitter levels and improved motor function (24).
No hesitation to say that these results need to be studied further on humans.
#7: May protect against cancer:
Cancer is a serious disease which is characterized as a uncontrolled growth of cells.
It works by reducing the growth of cancer cells and the formation of blood vessels in tumors and appears to be toxic to cancer cells, causing cell death.
In a study performed over mice, suffering with colon cancer, revealed that cinnamon is a potent activator of detoxifying enzymes in the colon, protecting against further cancer growth (30)
But all these researches are either performed on animals or test tube. It still need further more research on humans.
#8: Helps fighting in Bacterial and Fungal Infection:
Cinnamaldehyde is one of the major component present in cinnamon. It is considered that it may help you to fight various kind of Infections.
It can inhibit the growth of certain bacteria including Listeria and Salmonella. However, the evidence is limited and it has not been shown to reduce the infection elsewhere on the body.
These are some of the major benefits of cinnamon. These benefits simply depends on the person to person and the quality of cinnamon, which I have discussed above i.e cassia and ceylon cinnamon. Eating the cassia version in too much quantity may cause health issues as this cassia version of cinnamon contains a compound called, coumarin.
Side Effects of Eating Too Much Cinnamon:
Excess of everything is bad. Same is applicable on cinnamon as we have discussed that cassia cinnamon contains the compound called, coumarin, and studies have proved that taking it in excess quantity can cause health issues. Some of them are defined below :
#1: May cause liver damage:
Cassia cinnamon is rich source of coumarin. while ceylon cinnamon contains traces amounts of coumarin.
The safe daily limit of coumarin is approximately .05mg/pound (i.e 0.1mg/kg ) of body weight. In other words we can say that just 1 teaspoon of Cassia cinnamon could put you over the daily limit (1)
Unfortunately, eating too much coumarin may cause liver toxicity and damage (31)
#2: May increase the risk of cancer:
As we have discussed above, eating too much coumarin, which is abundant in cassia cinnamon, may increase the risk of certain cancers (1)
Studies in rodents have found that eating too much coumarin can cause cancerous tumors to develop in the lungs, liver, and kidneys. But the way in which coumarin causes tumor is unclear.
However, some scientists says that coumarin causes DNA damage over time, increasing the risk of cancer (32).
Hence, animal studies shows that taking too much coumarin may increase the risk of certain cancers. But, further more studies is needed whether this also applies to human.
#3: May Cause low blood sugar levels:
If an individual is eating a bit of cinnamon, may help lower your blood sugar, eating too much may cause it to fall too low. This is called hypoglycemia. It can lead to tiredness, dizziness, and possibly fainting.
Although, we have tried to discuss every thing about cinnamon. But it is always recommended to take these kind of medicinal herbs and spices with your doctors recommendations Because cinnamon is a very powerful spice in terms of its medicinal properties. So, if you are taking any medications of any disease like diabetes, heart disease, liver disease etc. This is because cinnamon may interact with those medications, either enhancing their effects or intensifying their side effects.
As cinnamon is generally present in powdered form in super markets. So, it should not be consumed in dry form without water because it can be very dangerous. If cinnamon reaches your lungs, it can’t be broken down and may cause an infection and permanent lung damage. So, before taking cinnamon next time this point should be kept in your mind.
THE BOTTOM LINE:
Cinnamon is delicious spice, which possess many health benefits. Eating small to moderate amount of cinnamon is safe but eating too much may cause side effects. This happens with ‘cassia’ or ‘regular‘ cinnamon only as it contains a compound called ‘coumarin‘ in high quantity.
On the other hand, ‘ceylon‘ or ‘true’ cinnamon contains trace amounts of coumarin.
Eating cinnamon in high quantity may cause health problems. It is healthy spice if consumed in small to moderate amount. Eating less than the tolerable daily intake is more than enough to provide you with its health benefits.
STAY HEALTHY AND STAY WEALTHY