What is Cinnamon?
Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka and southern India. The main part of the tree used commercially is the dried bark. Processed cinnamon bark products include Ceylon-type cinnamon bark oil, liquid extract, tincture, various aqueous or aqueous-alcoholic dried extracts, and supercritical carbon dioxide (CO2) soft extracts. Cinnamon leaf oil is also used, but to a lesser extent.
Part of cinnamon’s commercial popularity lies in its ability to both enhance and suppress flavor. When added to foods containing sugar, cinnamon exerts a synergistic effect and its aroma enhances the sweetness. Alternatively, cinnamon can help mask undesirable flavors and odors in foods and drugs.
Benefits & Medical Uses of Cinnamon
- Expectorant properties
- Treating bad breath
- Gastric distress
- Typhoid fever
- Nausea and vomiting
Cinnamon bark oil is:
- An antioxidant
Cinnamon has been employed for several millennia in traditional Eastern and Western medicine for:
- Dyspepsia with nausea
- Flatulent colic
- Spastic conditions of the gastrointestinal tract
Cinnamon is commonly used in Western Medicine to aid the blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. It is used specifically in improving metabolic measures. It also has a glucose-lowering and blood sugar regulating effect.
Cinnamon displays numerous beneficial effects (and no toxicity), including promoting glycemic control, healthy fat parameters, reduction of insulin resistance, potentiation of the action of insulin, and amelioration of common complications associated with diabetes.
Some suggests that cinnamon has the ability to even out the caffeine absorption in the body. Instead of getting a high peak and a sudden drop from the caffeine, cinnamon is said to even it out to a longer and more balanced effect.
Cinnamon in Folk Remedy
This spice has been used in folk remedies for a wide range of conditions: “amenorrhea, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, cancer, cholera, coronary problems, cough, diarrhea, dysentery, dyspepsia, fever, fistula, lumbago, lungs, menorrhagia, nephritis, phthisis [pulmonary tuberculosis or other disease that causes wasting of the body], prolapse, proctosis, psoriasis, spasms, tumors, vaginitis, warts, and wens. Additional folk medicine uses include dyspnoea (shortness of breath or labored breathing caused by serious disease of the airways, heart, or lungs), eye inflammation, “frigidity,” impotence, neuralgia, rheumatism, toothache, and wounds. It also has been used to alleviate tongue paralysis, as well as externally to relieve poisonous insect stings and acne.
Uses of Cinnamon in Other Cultures
Ayurvedic medicine use cinnamon bark oil as a single drug to treat flatulence, impaired digestion and metabolism, intestinal tract inflammation, peptic ulcer, vomiting, hemorrhoids, failure of penile erection, worm infestation, dryness of mouth, thirst, rhinitis/sinusitis, acute pain of nervine origin, blood disorders, tubercular ulcers, scorpion bite, and toothache. Cinnamon leaf oil has been used externally for rheumatism and inflammation.
Also in the Ayurvedic system of medicine, the powdered inner bark (tvak) is indicated for treating throat and mouth diseases, dryness of mouth, thirst, urinary bladder diseases, hemorrhoids, worm infestation, rhinitis/sinusitis, and heart disease.
In Siddha medicine, the powdered inner stem bark is used for treating all types of poisons and toxins, dysentery, painful gastrointestinal disorders with indigestion, flatulence, and wheezing. In Unani medicine, the dried inner bark is used for complete suppression of urine formation and excretion, sexual debility, bad breath and asthma.
Foods With Cinnamon
Cinnamon is used in curry and tea blends, baked goods, beverages, canned fruit, confections, desserts, pickles, liqueurs, marinades, meats, sauces, soups, and chewing gum. In Spanish-speaking countries cinnamon (canela) is popular in chocolate. Cinnamon Is also used in making mulled wine which is often used as an apéritif to aid digestion. Furthermore, cinnamon bark essential oil is used in the food industry, and has replaced ground cinnamon in large part, as it can provide a uniform flavor to confectionery, meat, and other processed foods.
Cinnamon bark essential oil is used in the perfume, and pharmaceutical industries. Due to its irritant and skin-sensitizing properties, cinnamon bark oil is used minimally in the perfume industry to add a musky, woody undertone. It is also a fragrance ingredient in soaps, toothpastes, and mouthwashes. Cinnamon leaf oil is also employed as a fragrance and germicidal ingredient in soaps.
Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa
- 1 cup 1% low fat milk (organic)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup quinoa (organic, hs note: rinse quinoa)
- 2 cups blackberries (fresh, organic preferred)
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/3 cup chopped pecans (toasted*)
- 4 tsps agave nectar (organic, such as Madhava brand)
- 1 cup quinoa (dry, yields approximately 3 cups cooked)
- 13/4 cups water (or stock)
- sea salt
Combine milk, water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes or until most of the liquid is absorbed. Turn off heat; let stand covered 5 minutes. Stir in blackberries and cinnamon; transfer to four bowls and top with pecans. Drizzle 1 teaspoon agave nectar over each serving.
*While the quinoa cooks, roast the pecans in a 175C degree toaster oven for 5 to 6 minutes or in a dry skillet over medium heat for about 3 minutes.
Upside-Down Apple-Cinnamon Pie
- ¾ cup sugar – alternatively 5 drops of stevia extract / 1 tbs agave syrup / 1 tbs honey
- 8 medium sweet-tart apples, such as Braeburn, peeled and cut into 12 wedges each (1.8kg)
- 2 Tbs. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- Refrigerated pastry for 1-crust pie, or 1 Perfect Every Time Piecrust
- Preheat oven to 175˚C. Spread sugar in even layer over bottom of 10-inch cast-iron or ovenproof skillet (not nonstick), and heat over medium-low heat. Cook 12 to 15 minutes, or until sugar has caramelized to a pale amber color, stirring often with wooden spoon. Remove from heat.
- Toss apple wedges with lemon juice and cinnamon in bowl. Arrange apple wedges flat-side down in concentric circles in skillet over caramel.
- Roll crust into 10-inch disc. Place dough over apples, folding edges inward to make a rim but covering apples completely. Make 2 to 3 small slits in dough to let steam escape while baking. Bake 1 hour 45 minutes to 2 hours, or until crust is golden brown.
- Cool 15 minutes on wire rack. Run knife around edges, then place large cake plate over skillet, and invert pie onto cake plate. Transfer any apples remaining in skillet into pie and smooth with knife
Nutritional Values in Cinnamon
|Nutrient||Value pr 100g|
|Vitamin C||3.8 mg|
|Vitamin B6||0.16 mg|
|Vitamin A, RAE||15 µg|
|Vitamin A, IU||295 IU|
|Vitamin E||2.3 mg|
|Vitamin K||31.2 µg|
|Saturated fat||0.4 g|