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Spices - Spices 2012
Written by Frank Mangano   
Wednesday, 14 March 2012 02:30

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The fragrance of cinnamon never fails to evoke a feeling of warmth, calmness and serenity. Its wooden, musky and earthy is so distinct that it can only be associated with cinnamon alone.

Cinnamon is a staple in the kitchen, but did you know that long ago, wars were fought over it? Centuries and centuries ago, cinnamon was more valuable than silver. Yes, you read that right. Ceylon, now called Sri Lanka, was the only grower that time and cinnamon was considered to be a very rare commodity. England and France fought over who would control Ceylon because of its vast supply of the valuable spice. Cinnamon was also used by medieval physicians in the treatment of sore throats, hoarseness of the voice and cough. Furthermore, the spice was useful in the process of preserving meats. Fortunately for us, other countries are also growing cinnamon these days – Guyana, Mauritius, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Brazil, Egypt, Vietnam, the West Indies and South America are only some in the list.

To make the cinnamon spice, they dry the cinnamon tree’s bark and then rolled into little tubes or little sticks which they call as quills. But cinnamon may also be dried and the pounded to turn it into a powder. Are you remembering the cinnamon’s distinctive aroma as you are reading this? Well, the smell is actually from the cinnamonaldehyde, an essential oil coming from the bark of the cinnamon tree.

The Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Aside from cinnamon being used in the kitchen for cooking purposes, more and more studies have shown that cinnamon also provides health benefits for the human body. Here are some of the reasons why you should not fail to put a dash of cinnamon in your daily meals:

  • It Relieves Cough and Colds

    Cough and colds causes great discomfort. They can cause you to miss work, miss school or miss an important event. They can also give you sleepless nights, with the coughing which prevents you from having a good sleep, and the chest congestions that simply wouldn’t go away.

    Chinese medicine had been using cinnamon as a form of natural remedy for colds and cough for the longest time. Because the common cold and cough have been associated with sore throats, there is a really simple yet effective remedy for it with the use of cinnamon. In a pot of boiling water, add a stick of cinnamon then allow it to boil some more for another two minutes. After that, you may get the cinnamon stick from the pot and use the cinnamon water when making tea – any kind of tea actually. Now consume this cinnamon water infused tea twice in a day.

  • It Prevents Blood Clotting

    Blood clotting is essential especially if you have a wound. This would help stop the bleeding. But the development of blood clots inside the blood vessels is not a good thing at all. It can cause an obstruction in the normal flow of blood and when this happens, the cells, tissues and organs that are being supplied by that particular artery will not be anymore receiving their blood supply – and they need blood to live. Blood carries oxygen and essential nutrients that are required for normal functioning.

    Cinnamon’s active ingredient is called coumarin which is actually a blood thinner. When the blood is thin, blood clots cannot develop, thereby preventing unnecessary blood vessel blockages. However, you must exercise caution when dealing with blood thinners such as cinnamon. People with bleeding disorders and pregnant women are advised to consult their doctors before consuming cinnamon.

  • It Acts as an Anti-microbial agent

    Microbes are everywhere, and we encounter them every single day. Because we do not live in a sterile environment, the presence of bacteria, fungus and yeast cannot be denied, and the problem starts when it causes us to become ill.

    The essential oils found in cinnamon had been regarded as the ones responsible for the spice’s anti-microbial activity. Cinnamon has been subjected to different laboratory tests in order to further study its ability to halt bacterial, yeast and fungal growth. This might explain why back in the medieval times, cinnamon was used as a meat preservative. Also, animal studies have seen that cinnamon is active against H. pylori, bacteria that cause stomach ulcers, and Candida albicans, a type of fungus that is responsible for thrush and yeast infections.

  • It Helps with Blood Sugar Control

    Blood sugar control is essential, especially for people who are diagnosed with diabetes, or those who are at risk of developing diabetes. In the medical journal Diabetes Care, the results of a human study conducted by a team of researchers revealed that people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes and who were given cinnamon pills for a period of 40 days exhibited a reduction in their blood glucose levels by up to 29 percent. Not only that, they also showed a reduction in their triglycerides, LDL and total cholesterol levels.

    Researchers from the Agricultural Research Service of the United States also back the health claims of cinnamon regarding its ability to reduce blood glucose levels. They say that ½ a teaspoon of cinnamon each day is enough to help your body regulate the levels of sugar in your blood. This is because the compounds found in cinnamon help in the stimulation of insulin receptors and it also exerts an inhibitory effect on an enzyme that inactivates these receptors thereby significantly improving the cells’ ability to utilize glucose.

  • It Helps Relieve Arthritic Pain, Headaches and Migraines

    Cinnamon has shown significant potential as a pain killer because of its ability to inhibit the activity of the prostaglandin. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that mediate the information of pain. Once prostaglandin is inhibited, its ability to relay pain perception is also inhibited. When this happens, pain is not perceived by the person.

  • It Boosts Cognition and Memory

    According to the results of a research study conducted by Dr. P. Zoladz and his team, chewing gum with a cinnamon flavor, or simply smelling the spice, helped enhance the cognitive processes of the study participants. It also improved their visual-motor speed, memory, and attention.


Sources

altmedicine.about.com
healthdiaries.com
monumentalmassage.com
naturalnews.com
herbwisdom.com

  

 

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