I love spices and spice mixes. In our house, they are a must!
When I was searching through the spice cabinet the other day, I came across a container of cinnamon. I used to use cinnamon a lot back when I was eating oatmeal regularly. It has also been an ingredient in a couple skin care products I have bought and homemade face mask recipes I have made.
Since I love a good ole’ Google crawl, I decided to dig more into cinnamon and its uses for this post.
Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees. There are four different types of cinnamon. Following is a list of their names and information about them:
- Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Verum)- This type of cinnamon is called, “true.” It is native to Sri Lanka and is more expensive than the other types. In ancient times it was considered to be very profitable and valuable. It is very fragrant with a mild spicy-sweet flavor.
- Chinese Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Cassia)- This type is native to China and is mainly used as medicine. It has a mildly bitter flavor.
- Saigon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Loureiroi)- This type is native to Southeast Asia. It has a very intense bitter and peppery flavor.
- Indonesian Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Burmannii)- This type is native to Indonesia and it is the most commonly sold one in stores. It has a mildly sweet flavor to it.
Each type of cinnamon contains a substance called, coumarin. This is used as a flavoring agent and it also has anticoagulant(blood thinning) properties. Because of the coumarin content, it can be very dangerous if too much cinnamon is ingested.
The types of cinnamon contain different amounts of coumarin. Here are rough estimates of the percentage of the substance found in each type:
- Ceylon Cinnamon- .004% coumarin
- Chinese Cinnamon- .03% coumarin
- Saigon Cinnamon- .7-1% coumarin
- Indonesian Cinnamon- .2% coumarin
As you can see by the estimates, Saigon cinnamon contains a good amount more coumarin than the other types. This means you have to be careful how much you use of it if you decide to buy it.
It is recommended to not go above an intake of 1.5 teaspoons a day. Even just one teaspoon may cause some harm to your body.
Cinnamon also contains some trace nutrients. These include carbs, fiber, potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.
You can find cinnamon in the form of ground powder, sticks, capsules, essential oil and liquid extract.
The alleged benefits of cinnamon
There are some things that cinnamon is touted as being of use for when ingested on a daily basis. The following is a list of them:
- Inflammation- Could help with swelling and joint pain.
- Neurological issues- Could enhance cognition.
- Antidiabetic- Could help lower blood sugar.
- Heart health
- Lower bad cholesterol levels.
- Boosting the immune system
- May help symptoms of colds and flu viruses
- PCOS management- Could help to decrease insulin resistance and regulate periods. The latter may be due to the possibility of it being able to stabilize estrogen.
- May ease IBS and GI issues. These include nausea, indigestion, gas, bloating and diarrhea.
Cinnamon is also said to be of benefit topically. The following is a list of what it may be able to do when used this way:
- Treat acne- It may have anti-fungal and antibacterial properties.
- Add a glow to skin- It may be able to stimulate blood vessels which can lead to a healthy looking complexion.
- Hair growth- It may stimulate circulation of the scalp which in turn may cause growth of the hair.
- Treat scalp conditions- It may help for issues of the scalp due to its antibacterial and antifungal properties.
- Lip plumping- It is said to help plump up lips due to the blood vessel stimulating properties it may have.
It is important to note that applying something with cinnamon in it topically, may cause irritation.
Another thing to remember is that the scientific research done on cinnamon is not showing definitive answers as to whether cinnamon has the benefits listed above. It does show some promise in these areas and there also is a lot of anecdotal evidence.
There are different ways that cinnamon can be used in your daily life. The following is a list of some of them:
- Taking it in capsule form: There are a supplement brands that sell capsules of cinnamon for an easy way to get benefits that cinnamon may have.
- In food: Of course! This is the way most people use cinnamon. It is put in lot of desserts, fruits, savory meals and ethnic cuisine (Chinese, Vietnamese, Mexican, Indian and Middle Eastern). Here is an example of a great looking recipe using cinnamon: https://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/cinnamon-laced-chili
- Tea and other hot drinks: Cinnamon can be added to tea and other hot drinks (ex. hot cocoa) for a soothing, complex taste. It may help soothe cold and flu symptoms, too.
- Breathed in: Cinnamon can be bought in the form of essential oil. It could be added to a bowl of boiling water to put your head over or you can just breath it in straight from the bottle. This could soothe symptoms from colds/flus and could provide the cognition enhancing benefit (remember, the jury is out on these benefits!). Here is one cinnamon essential oil product: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DVSYCB5/ref=sspa_dk_detail_5?psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyUEtOQUJZMlBBMUs0JmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMDY5Mjg3MzRQS0dGQlpMNzY2OCZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwOTU1MDg5MVM0TTFXQlUwWFQ3MyZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2RldGFpbDImYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl
- Hair care: Cinnamon may help with hair growth and the reduction of scalp conditions. You could apply a hair mask weekly that combines cinnamon (oil or powder), honey and oil. Cinnamon oil combines well with rosemary essential oil which also may help with hair growth. Here is an example of a hair mask recipe using cinnamon: https://alluringsoul.com/cinnamon-hair-mask-strong-gorgeous-hair/
- Skin care: Cinnamon may help with acne and/or add a glow to your skin. If you are interested in seeing if it works, you could mix it with honey and use as a face mask. Here is an example of a product that has cinnamon in it already: https://www.makeupartistschoice.com/products/acne-pore-minimizer-w-sepicontrol-a5?_pos=2&_sid=98449476b&_ss=r Here is a face mask recipe: https://stylesatlife.com/articles/cinnamon-face-mask/
- Lip plumping: Some people have found that cinnamon can plump up their lips. If you are interested in seeing if this works, mix some cinnamon with Vaseline and apply it to your lips. Here is a lip scrub recipe that may have some plumping effect: https://sofabfood.com/diy-honey-and-cinnamon-plumping-lip-scrub/
I will be using it again!
I am not going to have high hopes that cinnamon will help with my health, but I do love the flavor of it. My plan is to use it regularly in my anti-inflammatory “hot toddies” and I also want to try out some recipes that have it as an ingredient (like this Little House On The Prairie recipe: https://www.food.com/recipe/cinnamon-chicken-183262).
I also might consider using cinnamon in my hair masks too. Since I am a PCOS sufferer, I get worried about the possibility of losing my hair or having it thin out. If cinnamon could possibly help prevent that from happening, then I am all for it as a hair care ingredient.
Do you have cinnamon in your cabinet, too?
If you are interested in the flavors cinnamon can bring to food/drinks and the possible health benefits it has, you should consider using that container you have of it up! Remember to make sure and not use too much as a little goes a long way.
What do you like to use cinnamon on/in? What is your favorite spice?
Thanks for reading!
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