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Cinnamon health benefits and therapeutic value

cinnamon health benefits

Commonly simply called cinnamon or “true cinnamon”, the Ceylon cinnamon is the inside bark of a tree belonging to the Lauraceae family. This tree, the Ceylon cinnamon tree, grows on the island of Ceylon, which is the former name of Sri Lanka.

Discovered over 4,500 years ago, it is among the most-sold spices in the world. It is essentially grown in India, Sri Lanka, China and Madagascar for its essential oil.

Unlike the China cinnamon that is often used in cooking in North America, Ceylon cinnamon is more common in European cooking, and it also bears many therapeutic benefits.

Which are these benefits  and health results on the human body? How should cinnamon be used for effective results? Are there any contraindications in using cinnamon? Let’s have a look around…

Ceylan cinnamon, a short story

The word cinnamon comes from Latin “canna which means “reed”. It is actually the bark of the Ceylon cinnamon tree, with scientific denomination Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum zeylanicum.

This tree is a very ancient plant, grown in tropical areas and its bark is sought after by many different native peoples.

Used even in the 3rd century before Christ to embalm the dead, ancient Romans and Greeks discovered various properties that it could exert: tonic, aphrodisiac, antiseptic and diuretic.

Use of Ceylan cinnamon slowly spread: bark, essential oil, powder, etc. are appreciated both in cooking and in herbal medicine.

Ceylan cinnamon description

Ceylan cinnamon health benefitsCeylan cinnamon is a spice that is a cousin to China cinnamon. Collected from trees (the Ceylon cinnamon tree), it is dried for later use. Light-colored cinnamon harvested from younger shoots seems better and more effective.

Once this young bark is collected in thin strips, it is scrubbed and dried. The slivers then curl into rolls naturally as they dry, and take on a distinctive elongated shape: these are the cinnamon sticks. Sticks can be ground into powder before use, or processed to extract their essential oil which is very effective for natural healing.

Herbalists and scientists have discovered many active compounds that have a beneficial impact on the human body: immune, digestive, respiratory, uro-genital and cutaneous system benefits.

Cinnamon health benefits and therapeutic properties

Ceylan cinnamon contains cinnamic aldehyde and eugenol that imparts its special flavor.

Thanks to its many properties, Ceylan cinnamon is said to have beneficial properties for the entire human body. Not only does it have an activity similar to that of insulin for diabetic persons, it also fluidizes the blood flow thus enhancing blood circulation towards the hands and feet. It also capable of lowering cholesterol rates in the blood.

cinnamon benefitsStill further along this medicinal list, essential oil extracted from this bark can be used to treat infections. With antifungal, antiparasite, antibacterial and antiviral activity, it is very effective against most germs.

It is stimulating to the immune system, and generally invigorates the body overall and is effective in fighting against tiredness. In case of digestive disorders, especially infectious diarrhea, Ceylan cinnamon essential oil has been proven to be an excellent intestinal antiseptic. It is also called for in the treatment of bloating, constipation, aerophagia, colitis, diarrhea, troubled digestion, lack of appetite, etc.

For ENT, Ceylan cinnamon essential oil is a good idea when confronted with bronchitis, colds and flu.

Dosing and using cinnamon

To benefit most from using Ceylan cinnamon, therapists recommend taking it as follows:

  • in the form of powder, 1 teaspoon a day to lower blood sugar levels (diabetic persons).
  • through ingestion: an adult should ingest 1 drop essential oil mixed in with another plant-based oil, 3 times a day, during 5 days.
  • for topical application or massage: to best avail of its immune-supporting, digestive, respiratory and uro-genital activity, always dilute essential oil with plant-based oil before applying it or massaging it on the abdomen (digestive disorders), on the backbone, feet and insole or arch of the foot (ENT) and on the back, feet and insole (immune disorders). Also treat warts by applying pure essential oil directly on the wart, without touching the healthy skin around it.

For uro-genital treatments, it is critical to follow the advice of a therapist when using cinnamon through oral intake.

  • To dig deeper, therapists have affirmed that Ceylan cinnamon essential oil has specific tonic activity regarding the nervous system. To avail of it, it is recommended to inhale it in vapor baths when treating anxiety, physical and/or psychic asthenia, borderline depression, drowsiness and mental inhibition.

Even in cases of frigidity or impotence, Ceylan cinnamon essential oil can pull you through: inhalation or massage on the lower back after dissolving it in plant-based oil.

Advice/useful tips about cinnamon

Ingesting Ceylan cinnamon essential oil must absolutely be prescribed by a specialist (dosage, use).

As for topical application or massage, it is highly advised to never use the product pure. Always dilute it in enough plant-based oil, because it can cause skin to peel.

Ceylan cinnamon is contraindicated for children under 12 years of age, pregnant women, nursing women, and persons afflicted with skin intolerance. Essential oil is prohibited in bath water, inhalation and diffusers.

Image credits (edits Gaspard Lorthiois):
Pixabay: Andreas, Ilona, Explorer Bob
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