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Cinnamon – Benefits, Side Effects

The variety of cinnamon benefits not just encompasses cooking purposes but medicinal applications as well. Cinnamon is one of the most renowned spices used since the ancient times. It is well-liked due to its aromatic smell and flavor which is why it is used in many dishes and concoctions. But apart from enhancing the flavor of food preparations, cinnamon has likewise been found to be very effective in treating various illnesses. However, it is unsafe if taken in large doses.

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Cinnamon can be found in stick or in powder form. Cinnamonaldehyde is what gives cinnamon its aromatic and delightful flavor. Cassia and Ceylon are the most common varieties of cinnamon. Of the two, Ceylon is more expensive because it is referred to as the true cinnamon due to its sweet taste. Meanwhile, most supermarkets and grocery stores sell Cassia cinnamon which is less expensive and has a darker color than Ceylon cinnamon.

 

History of Cinnamon

Cinnamon benefits had been known since the historic times when the Egyptians started to employ cinnamon for flavoring beverages, medicinal purposes and as an embalming agent. It was so highly regarded at the time that it was viewed as more valuable than gold. The Chinese also took note of the benefits of cinnamon as mentioned in Chinese botanical medicines dating back to 2,700 B.C.

Indeed, the benefits that cinnamon offers have become known worldwide as the spice became largely used in winery, perfumes and fragrances, in the culinary as well as medical communities. Due to the high demand for cinnamon, it is among the important commodities traded regularly. China, Indonesia and Vietnam are the top producers of Cassia cinnamon; while the Caribbean, Brazil, Madagascar, Sri Lanka and India provide the Ceylon variety.

Cinnamon health benefits

Cinnamon not only makes foods more delightful, it also brings some health benefits.

  • The cinnamon’s aromatic scent boosts the brain function, thereby, improving performance and memory.
  • Cinnamon’s anti-parasitic, antibacterial and antifungal properties make it an effective remedy for different kinds of infections such as head lice, stomach ulcers as well as vaginal and oral yeast infections.
  • The anti-inflammatory properties found in cinnamon also help reduce inflammation in organs or tissues. It is a good ally for preventing heart disease as well.
  • Cinnamon effectively regulates the level of sugar in the blood, making it beneficial for Type 2 diabetes patients. It is also good for people with high cholesterol as it helps lower the bad cholesterol, triglycerides and total cholesterol levels.
  • Calcium, iron, manganese and dietary fiber, which are also found in cinnamon, help treat irritable bowel syndrome and constipation as well as prevent colon cancer.

Side Effects of Cinnamon

Cinnamon benefits cannot be fully achieved if taken in large doses. When this happens, the individual can suffer from a number of side effects, such as:

  • Toxicity

Cinnamon is extremely toxic when ingested excessively.  This is characterized by the inflammation of the upper airway or mouth, shortness of breath, upset stomach, allergic reactions, loose stools, flushing of the face and rapid heart rate.

  • Interactions with medications or hot herbs

This is often distinguished by hot flashes, diarrhea, flushing, dizziness, light-headedness, high fever, high blood pressure and bleeding disorders.

  • Cassia cinnamon

This cinnamon variety contains huge amounts of coumarin which causes a number of side effects like stomach irritation, uterine contractions, blood thinning, liver and kidney problems, skin irritation and rapid heartbeat.

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