Plants & People: Cinnamon- (Richard Komakech)

Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamonum in plant family Lauraceae. 

There are a number of species which are often sold as cinnamon including. C. tamale (Indian Cinnamon), C. verum (Sri Lanka Cinnamon), C. loureiroi (Vietnamese cinnamon), C. cassia (Chinese Cinnamon), C. burmannii (Indonesian cinnamon), and C. citriodorum (Malabar Cinnamon). Cinnamon is used in both sweet and savoury foods as a special spice. The use of the plant in foods was so highly prized in the ancient times that it was only reserved as a special offer to the royals. This is probably because of its enormous health benefits including blood sugar control, weight loss, alertness, and cancer prevention among others.

Fortunately, today the use of cinnamon is spread throughout the world. In Uganda, just like in most countries, cinnamon products are found all over most supermarkets thus making it highly accessible. Cinnamon has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years. Here below we take a look at some of the compelling health benefits of this wonder plant species.

Cinnamon has properties that help those with insulin resistance. In people with type 2 diabetes, regular taking of regulated quantity of cinnamon has great beneficial effects and also ability to reduce blood pressure.

Cinnamon is a perfect weight reducer as It has the effect of thinning your blood thereby increasing blood circulation. Increased blood flow generally boosts your metabolism hence resulting in your weight loss. This blood thinning property of cinnamon also acts as an anti-clotting agent, beneficial especially for those suffering from heart diseases. Cinnamon can be used to prevent cancer in our body. For example, in its various forms, it has two chemical constituents called Cinnamaldehyde and Eugenol. These phytochemicals are effective in fighting human colon cancer cells.

Cinnamon contains large quantities of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants. This further explains why this plant is very good in cancer prevention due to the fact that it reduces the formation of
” free radicals” that cause cancer. In fact, the antioxidant level is so powerful that cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative.

Not only can Cinnamon contribute to the prevention of cancer, but also contains anti-inflammatory properties, which can ease swelling, help fight infections and repair tissue damage.

Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells. Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are two of the most common types. Regular taking of cinnamon is crucial in preventing these diseases.

Cinnamaldehyde, the main active component of cinnamon, is important in fighting various kinds of microbial infections and this explains why it is effective in treating respiratory tract infections caused by fungi and in inhibiting growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella. The anti-bacterial properties of Cinnamon play a crucial role in getting rid of harmful bacteria without damaging your teeth or gums. It’s one of the reasons why Cinnamon oil is often used in chewing gums, mouthwashes, toothpaste and breath mints.

Cinnamon oil is one of the major oils used in massage therapy due to its well-known body warming effects. It is highly effective in relaxing and relieving muscle pain. A few oil drops of Cinnamon can also be put in water bath to relax and to sooth tired and aching muscles. Considering all the benefits mentioned above, cinnamon is actually one of those “feel-good foods” that you ought to be looking out for!

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