Cinnamon is a spice that comes from the branches of wild trees that belong to the genus “Cinnamomum” – native to the Caribbean, South America, and Southeast Asia.
There are two main types of cinnamon:
Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon cinnamon), most commonly used in the Western world
Cinnamomum aromaticum (Cassia cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon), which originates from southern China, is typically less expensive than Ceylon cinnamon.
Cinnamon has been consumed since 2000 BC in Ancient Egypt, where it was very highly prized (almost considered to be a panacea). In medieval times doctors used cinnamon to treat conditions such as coughing, arthritis and sore throats.
Modern research indicates that this spice may have some very beneficial properties.
Cinnamon may lower blood sugar in people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes, according to Diabetes UK.1 However high quality research supporting the claim remains scarce.
Fungal infections – according to the National Institutes of Health2, cinnamaldehyde – a chemical found in Cassia cinnamon – can help fight against bacterial and fungal infections.
Cinnamon sticks or quills.
Diabetes – cinnamon may help improve glucose and lipids levels3 in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to a study published in Diabetics Care.
The study authors concluded that consuming up to 6 grams of cinnamon per day “reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes.” and that “the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”
In addition, a certain cinnamon extract can reduce fasting blood sugar levels in patients, researchers reported in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Alzheimer’s disease – Tel Aviv University researchers discovered that cinnamon may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease. According to Prof. Michael Ovadia, of the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University, an extract found in cinnamon bark, called CEppt, contains properties that can inhibit the development of the disease.
HIV – a study of Indian medicinal plants revealed that cinnamon may potentially be effective against HIV4. According to the study authors, “the most effective extracts against HIV-1 and HIV-2 are respectively Cinnamomum cassia (bark) and Cardiospermum helicacabum (shoot + fruit).”
Multiple Sclerosis – cinnamon may help stop the destructive process of multiple sclerosis (MS), according to a neurological scientist at Rush University Medical Center. Cinnamon could help eliminate the need to take some expensive and unpleasant drugs.
Lower the negative effects of high fat meals – Penn State researchers revealed that diets rich in cinnamon can help reduce the body’s negative responses to eating high-fat meals.
Some people who are sensitive to cinnamon may be at an increased risk of liver damage after consuming cinnamon-flavored foods, drinks and food supplements.
This is likely due to the fact that cinnamon contains coumarin, which has been linked to liver damage. Ceylon cinnamon contains less coumarin than Cassia cinnamon.