Naturally sweet cinnamon (cinnamomum verum) revives our senses with its wonderful aroma and can boost our health with its medicinal properties. Cinnamon was first used in China (2700 B.C.) to treat fever, digestive, and menstrual problems, and Indian healers used cinnamon to treat gastrointestinal complaints, as well as sore throat and cough. Today, modern herbalists continue to use the herb for digestive issues, chest congestion and colds/flu, but they've also discovered it helps ease arthritis pain, as well as manage blood sugar levels.
Because cinnamon reduces the rate at which glucose enters the bloodstream, it can help prevent blood sugar spikes. This is hopeful news for some people with Type 2 diabetes, but more studies need to be done around this issue. It appears that cinnamon may work better in people whose diabetes is poorly managed as compared to those who have good management of their condition. As a medicinal supplement, different people respond to different amounts -- it's not just a matter of sprinkling a teaspoon on your oatmeal. Cinnamon may also change the way some medications work, so it's important to talk to your doc before adding cinnamon to your supplement regimen.
Cinnamon is available ground, in capsule form, and as a tea and there are many species of cinnamon. Be aware that typical grocery store cinnamon (‘the cassia cinnamons') contains coumarin, which, in high amounts, can be harmful to the liver. Ceylon Cinnamon has lower levels of coumarin, which makes it a better choice for most people, and regardless of species, I recommend buying organic cinnamon only.
If you're someone like me who likes some sweetness in their coffee or tea, try using less sugar and adding some cinnamon. You may be surprised at how satisfying and naturally sweet it it.
- Cleveland Clinic: Cinnamon. Accessed 2 Dec 2016: http://www.clevelandclinicwellness.com/Features/Pages/cinnamon-pro-con.aspx
- Examine.com: Cinnamon Essential Benefits, Effects & Information. Accessed 2 Dec 2016: https://examine.com/supplements/cinnamon/
- World's Healthiest Foods: Cinnamon (ground) http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?dbid=68&tname=foodspice
- Johannes, L. Little bit of Spice for Health, but Which One? The Wall Street Journal (online, 2014, Oct.) Accessed 4 Dec 2016: http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052702303376904579135502891970942
- Hlebowicz, J. et al., 'Effect of cinnamon on postprandial blood glucose, gastric emptying, and satiety in healthy subjects.' Am J Clin Nutr. (2007 Jun) 85:6,1552-6. Accessed 4 Dec 2016: http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/85/6/1552.long (full text)
- Qin B, Nagasaki M, Ren M, et al., 'Cinnamon extract prevents the insulin resistance induced by a high-fructose diet.' Horm Metab Res.(2004 Feb), 36:2:119-25.. PMID:15002064. Accessed 4 Dec 2016: http://beauty-review.nl/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/Cinnamon-extract-prevents-the-insulin-resistance-induced-by-a-high-fructose-diet.pdf (full text)
- Khan A., Safdar M., Ali Khan M., et al., 'Cinnamon improves glucose and lipids of people with type 2 diabetes. Diabetes Care. (2003 Dec) 26(12) 3215-8. Accessed 4 Dec 2016: http://care.diabetesjournals.org/content/26/12/3215