The use of Cinnamon as a spice and as a medicine dates back to
2000 BC. There are two types of Cinnamon which are known to as
Chinese Cinnamon and Ceylon Cinnamon. While they have a similar
flavor, Ceylon Cinnamon is a bit sweeter and is considered be of
a more refined and higher quality.
Just half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day significantly reduces
blood sugar levels in diabetics, a new study has found. The
effect, which can be produced even by soaking a cinnamon stick
your tea, could also benefit millions of non-diabetics who have
blood sugar problem but are unaware of it.
The discovery was initially made by accident, by Richard
Anderson at the US Department of Agriculture's Human Nutrition
Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland. "We were looking at the
effects of common foods on blood sugar; one was the American
favorite, apple pie, which is usually spiced with cinnamon. We
expected it to be bad. But it helped," he says.
The active ingredient in cinnamon turned out to be a
water-soluble polyphenol compound called MHCP. In test tube
experiments, MHCP mimics insulin, activates its receptor, and
works synergistically with insulin in cells.
To see if it would work in people, Alam Khan, who was a
postdoctoral fellow in Anderson's lab, organized a study in
Pakistan. Volunteers with Type 2 diabetes were given one, three
or six grams of cinnamon powder a day, in capsules after meals.
All responded within weeks, with blood sugar levels that were on
average 20 per cent lower than a control group. Some even
achieved normal blood sugar levels. Tellingly, blood sugar
started creeping up again after the diabetics stopped taking
In the volunteers, the Cinnamon also lowered blood levels of
fats and "bad" cholesterol, which are also partly controlled by
insulin. And in test tube experiments it neutralized free
radicals, damaging chemicals which are elevated in diabetics.
Cinnamon's essential oils also qualify it as an "anti-microbial"
food, and cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop
the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly
problematic yeast Candida.
In a study, published in the August 2003 issue of the
International Journal of Food Microbiology, the addition of just
a few drops of cinnamon essential oil to approximately 3 ounces
of carrot broth, which was then refrigerated, inhibited the
growth of the food borne pathogenic Bacillus cereus for at least
60 days. When the broth was refrigerated without the addition of
cinnamon oil, the pathogenic B. cereus flourished despite the
cold temperature. In addition, researchers noted that the
addition of cinnamon not only acted as an effective preservative
but improved the flavor of the broth.
Research led by Dr. P. Zoladz and presented April 24, 2004, at
the annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception
Sciences, in Sarasota, FL, found that chewing cinnamon flavored
gum or just smelling cinnamon enhanced study participants'
cognitive processing. Specifically, cinnamon improved
participants' scores on attention related processes, virtual
recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor speed while
working on a computer-based program.
(Hint: simmer a few cinnamon sticks in water while your kids are
doing their homework – this will also serve as wonderful yet
non-toxic air freshener for your home)
In addition to the active components in its essential oils and
its nutrient composition, cinnamon has also been valued in
energy-based medical systems, such as Traditional Chinese
Medicine, for its warming qualities. In these traditions,
cinnamon has been used to provide relief when faced with the
onset of a cold or flu, especially when mixed in a tea with some
You will find Ceylon Cinnamon used in many of your favorite
Wholefood Farmacy foods including Phi Plus, DetoxiPhi, Joule and