Cinnamon is one of the most popular herbs and spices. Though cinnamon oil has numerous health benefits, it often causes irritations and allergic reactions. Therefore people prefer to use cinnamon directly instead of using the oil. This article, therefore, provides health benefits of cinnamon. The general benefits of cinnamon oil are given at the bottom.
Cinnamon, which has the scientific name Cinnamomum zeylanicum, has originated from tropical Asia, especially Sri Lanka and India. Now the shrub is grown in almost every tropical region of the world. The herb, owing to its vast medicinal uses, had found a prominent position in traditional medicines, especially Ayurveda (the traditional Indian medicinal system). Traditionally cinnamon, due to its medicinal properties, has been used in many cultures for treating a variety of health disorders including diarrhea, arthritis, menstrual cramps, heavy menstruation, yeast infections, colds, flu, and digestive problems.
Now it is being used all over the world for treating a variety of health disorders including respiratory problems, skin infections, blood impurity, menstruation problems, heart disorders, etc. The most widely used part of cinnamon is its bark.
The health benefits of cinnamon can be attributed to its antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, astringent and anti clotting properties. Cinnamon is rich in essential minerals such as manganese, iron and calcium. It is also rich in fiber.
The health benefits of cinnamon include the following:
Brain Tonic: Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and hence acts as a good brain tonic. It helps in removing nervous tension and memory loss. Research at the Wheeling Jesuit University in the US has proved that the scent of cinnamon has the ability to boost brain activity. The team of researchers led by Dr. P. Zoladz found that people who were administered with cinnamon improved their scored on cognitive activities such as attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed.
Blood Purification: Cinnamon helps in removing blood impurities. Therefore it is often recommended for pimples.
Blood Circulation: Cinnamon aids in the circulation of blood due to the presence of a blood thinning compound in it. This blood circulation helps significantly in removing pain. Good blood circulation also ensures oxygen supply to the body cells leading to higher metabolic activity. You significantly reduce the chance of getting a heart attack by regularly consuming cinnamon.
Infections: Due to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties, it is effective on external as well as internal infections. It helps in destroying germs in the gall bladder and bacteria in staph infections.
Healing: Cinnamon helps in stopping bleeding. Therefore it facilitates the healing process.
Pain: Cinnamon is also anti inflammatory. It helps in removing the stiffness of muscles. It relieves pain and stiffness of muscle and joints. Cinnamon is also recommended for arthritis. It also helps in removing headache that is caused by cold.
Diabetes: Cinnamon has the ability to control blood sugar. Diabetics find it very useful as cinnamon aids them in using less insulin. Research has shown that it is particularly very helpful for patients suffering from type2 diabetes. Type2 diabetes patients are not able to use their insulin levels properly. Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland, studied the effect of various food substances including cinnamon on blood sugar. They found that a water-soluble polyphenol compound called MHCP which is abundant in cinnamon synergistically acted with insulin and helped in the better utilization of insulin.
Heart Diseases: It is believed that the calcium and fiber present in cinnamon provides protection against heart diseases. Including a little cinnamon in the food helps those suffering from coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.
Colon Cancer: It also improves the health of colon and thereby reducing the risk to colon cancer.
Mouth freshener: Cinnamon is used in chewing gums as it is a good mouth freshener and removes bad breath.
Perfumes: It has a refreshing aroma and is extensively used in making perfumes.
Indigestion: Cinnamon is added in many ethnic recipes. Apart from adding flavor to the food, it also aids in digestion. Cinnamon is very effective for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and flatulence. Due to its carminative properties, it is very helpful in removing gas from the stomach and intestines. It also removes acidity, diarrhea and morning sickness. It is therefore often referred to as a digestive tonic.
Respiratory problems: Cinnamon helps in cold, flu, influenza, sore throat and congestion.
Menstruation: Cinnamon is effective in providing relief from menstrual discomfort and cramping.
Birth Control: Cinnamon also helps in natural birth control. Regular consumption of cinnamon after child birth delays menstruation and thus helps in avoiding conception.
Breastfeeding: It is also believed that cinnamon aids in the secretion of breast milk.
Cinnamon is diuretic in nature and helps in secretion and discharge of urine. It is also aphrodisiac and is believed to arouse sexual desire.
Benefits of Cinnamon Oil
Cinnamon oil is obtained from the bark and leaves of cinnamon tree. Cinnamon oil does have applications in aromatherapy; however, it is not as popular as other essential oils such as pine essential oil, basil essential oil, rosemary essential oil and lavender essential oil.
The benefits of cinnamon oil include the following:
* Cooking: Some people add cinnamon oil while cooking. Cinnamon oil obtained from the leaves contains a compound named cinnamaldehyde, which is an excellent flavoring agent.
* Room Freshener: The pleasant aroma of cinnamon oil makes it a very effective as a room freshener. It is often added in potpourris.
* Eliminating Mosquitoes: Cinnamon oil is a good mosquito repellent. Research has now proved that cinnamon oil is very effective in killing mosquito larvae. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (a renowned scientific journal) has reported the research conducted at the National Taiwan University. Apart from the leaves of cinnamon, its bark is also a good source of cinnamaldehyde, which is an active mosquito killing agent. This research has paved the way for finding an environmentally solution for solving the global menace problem.
Many companies producing cinnamon oil claim that it is a good antibacterial and antifungal agent making it very effective on infections. It also helps in blood circulation and acts as a sexual stimulant. Research has also proved that cinnamon oil obtained from the leaves and twigs of cinnamon can be used for controlling mites in honey bees.
Being strong in nature, cinnamon oil should be avoided for internal consumption. Further, it can have adverse effects on the skin, if used topically in concentrated form and therefore it should be used in diluted form. Moreover before using cinnamon oil, it should be tested if it suits your skin. Hence apply only a small quantity of cinnamon oil initially and check if you get any allergic reaction. Do not apply cinnamon oil on the face and sensitive areas.
Cinnamon blends well with various essential oils and hence it is added to many aromatherapy preparations. It enhances the effectiveness of other herbs and essential oils and thus speeds up treatment of herbal remedies. Further many herbs have an unpleasant taste. Cinnamon or cinnamon oil is added to herbal preparations to make them taste better. The oil blends well with other essential oils such as lemon essential oil, rosemary essential oil, geranium essential oil, lavender essential oil and cardamom essential oil.