10 Reasons Cinnamon is Good for your Health

10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Health Benefits of Cinnamon
10 Reasons Cinnamon is Good for your Health

By: Arlene Gentallan

        Cinnamon doesn't just make amazing teas and delicious cinnamon rolls, it's also packed with health benefits. In fact, this popular spice has been used as an alternative medicine since the ancient times.

        So the next time you indulge yourself with this treat, you know you're taking full advantage not only of it's flavour and fragrance

A word of caution

        But before you indulge on cinnamon, a word of caution, cinnamon contains coumarin, a fat-soluble anticoagulant compound which our body stores. High doses of coumarin in the body can damage kidneys and liver!

High doses of cinnamon is toxic to the body

        Avoid cinnamon cassia since it contains larger amount of coumarin. Cinnamon cassia is ironically the most widely available type of cinnamon in the market.

        It is recommended to use ceylon cinnamon (also known as "true" cinnamon) instead which contains lesser coumarin.

        Buying unlabeled cinnamon is risky. Keep in mind that you may not always find quality cinnamon from supermarkets and groceries. Buy only from credible sources, such as stores specialized in selling fresh organic products.

What is the recommended intake of cinnamon

        Although there is no standard daily intake for cinnamon, it is recommended to only consume about 1 teaspoon or 4 grams per day.

10 Health Benefits of Cinnamon

1. Cancer & Tumor

        In an in vitro study by Ho-Keun Kwon, Ji-Sun Hwang, Jae-Seon So, et al., water soluble cinnamon cassia extract promotes natural death of cancer cells and prevents tumor growth. Cinnamon's antioxidant property also decreases risk of developing cancer.

2. Antioxidant

        Cinnamon contains antioxidants which defends the body from the damaging effect of free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules either produced by the body or obtained from the environment (eg. smoking, pollution, radiation etc). Excessive accumulation of free radicals in the body can cause "oxidative stress" leading to mutation and cell damage, possibly leading to health problems like premature aging, memory loss and cancer.

3. Diabetes

        Studies have revealed that cinnamon lowers blood sugar and fasting gluclose level among people suffering from type 2 diabetes.

4. Hyperlipedemia

        Studies in rats shows that it can lower "bad" cholesterol LDL, triglycerides, and total cholesterol, which decreases risk of cardiovascular disease.

5. Alzheimer's disease
        Studies have shown that ceylon cinnamon may benefit people with alzheimer's disease, by preventing the protein "tau" from forming tangles in the brain.

        Memories are stored in the basic building block of the central nervous system which are called nerve cells or neurons. In alzheimer's disease memory is progressively lost because of formation of amyloid plaques and tau tangles in the brain. Connections between nerve cells disappear. Eventually nerve cells  die.

6. Parkinson's disease

        Currently, Parkinson's disease has no cure. Studies has shown that cinnamon improves movement among those afflicted with Parkinson's disease and protects nerce cells that produce dopamine.

        Parkinson's disease is characterized by a  deficiency of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain.  Dopamine helps regulate our movement, sleep, and learning. Consequently, loss of it leads to symptoms of Parkinson's disease such as uncontrollable tremors of limbs, slow movement, slurring of speech, and stooped posture.

7. Bad breath & Oral Health

        Having bad breath or halitosis can cause embarrasment and strain close relationships. One of the most common cause of this unpleasant odor is bacterial breakdown of food particles.

        Cinnamon illuminates the root cause of this problem by killing odor-causing bacteria.

        Related article: DIY: Cinnamon Mouthwash to get rid of Bad Breath

        Did you know that cinnamon flavored chewing gum are available in the market? Also, you can add cinnamon to your home-made toothpase!

...But a word of caution: Cinnamon may trigger hypersensitivity reaction to some people. Constant use of cinnamon, like chewing cinnamon flavored chewing gum and cinnamon home-made toothpaste can result in oral mucous irritation. If you are sensitive to cinnamon, stop cinnamon use immediately.

8. Toothache emergency reliever!

        Almost all of us has experienced toothache. If the pain struck you at an untimely hour, you know you've got to do something about it. But instead of heading to the medicine cabinet, why not go to your kitchen for some good ol' cinnamon. That's right! Cinnamon is a home remedy to relieve toothache.

        For better taste, mix 1 pinch cinnamon powder with 1 teaspoon honey, then apply it directly to your aching teeth.

        Do remember that toothache is a common symptom of an underlying dental problem like dental carries so don't forget to go to your dentist to determine and treat the root cause of your toothache.

9. Natural insect repellent

        Mosquito is the leading cause of vector-borne disease. You can protect yourself and your family's health with cinnamon. Simply add 1 drop of cinnamon essential oil to 5ml of distilled water. Shake well and store in a spray bottle. Spray on your skin whenever needed.

        a word of caution: Do not exceed 1 drop per 5ml since it may cause skin irritation.

10. Blood thinner

        The coumarin content of cinnamon is a potent anticoagulant. Platelet coagulation is necessary to prevent mico and excessive bleeding, however it can also lead to formation of deadly blod clots that can clog arteries leading to lack of blood supply in the blocked area of the body.

        A word of caution: Consult your doctor if you are taking an anticoagulant medicine since it's synergystic effect with cinnamon may predispose your to hemorrhage.

        Take note the cinnamon cassia contains a larger amount of coumarin (anticoagulant agent) so you should avoid this. Instead, use cinnamon ceynon.

  • There are compounds in cinnamon that can accumulate in our body to the point of toxic. Avoid this by scheduling periods when you'll skip taking cinnamon. For example, every 6 weeks, stop taking cinnamon for 7 days.
  • Choose cinnamon ceynon. Avoid cinnamon cassia.
  • Use water-based extract of cinnamon. That's because the liver damaging compound coumarin is fat soluble.
  • Do not take more than 1 teaspoon or 4 grams cinnamon per day.