Cinnamon can be used to add that special touch to any sweet dish! Cinnamon is more than just tasty. Dating back to Ancient Egypt, people have used this powerful spice that has been used to kill infections, to help inflammation and to maintain digestive health. Just a pinch of cinnamon for dessert or even in a quick bowl of oatmeal could help anyone healthy, even individuals with Type II Diabetes!
1. Health Benefits of Cinnamon
1. Helps kill infections of bacteria and fungi.
Cinnamon oil has been proven to help eliminate fungal infections in the respiratory tract.
Scientific studies have proven that cinnamon oil is effective in killing certain types of fungus that can grow in your respiratory tract. These fungi make it more difficult to breathe and reduce the efficiency of your breathing, which can lower the amount of oxygen you have in your blood stream.
Could help keep teeth from decaying, as well as fight bad breath.
Cinnamon has been used for centuries to help prevent tooth decay. Scientific studies have proven that this is indeed the case as cinnamon helps kill bacteria that cause cavities and bad breath.
Another way that cinnamon helps with bad breath is by masking the odors with its strong smell.
Suppresses growth of certain types of bacteria (Listeria, Salmonella, and E-Coli).
It helps disrupt the growth of a number of food-borne bacteria, helping to guard against food-poisoning. That doesn't mean that you can intentionally eat food that is bad or hasn't been properly stored.
Eliminates toenail fungus and athletes foot.
In studies reported by the National Institute of Health, cinnamon oil was proven to be the most effective remedy for fighting both types of fungus.
Strong anti-microbial – fights staphylococcus.
The oil is powerful enough it even helps destroy staphylococcus microbes, the tiny organisms responsible for staph.
EATSMARTER TAKE AWAY: Because of its ability to kill or destroy fungus, bacteria, and microbes, cinnamon oil is a fantastic disinfectant and it's non-toxic.
2. Disadvantages of Cinnamon
1. Most common form is cassia cinnamon.
Contains high amounts of coumarin.
Coumarin is a toxic substances that is difficult for the body to break down quickly. Cassia (or common) cinnamon (also known as Chinese cinnamon) contains 10 – 20 times more coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon.
Common cinnamon is the type you find in your local supermarket or grocery store. True cinnamon is harder to obtain and in most instances can only be found online.
High levels can cause liver damage.
Your liver filters your blood, removing toxic and waste substances. Most of the time it's pretty efficient at breaking down and expelling these materials.
Some substances, however, are much harder to break down and so they can build up in the liver – in some instances they can even damage the liver.
Eating too much cinnamon can build up toxicity levels that damage the liver, making it difficult for the liver to filter the blood properly.
Coumarin can also interfere with medications.
Coumarin is used as a blood thinner – so if you're already taking blood thinning medication, you should avoid cinnamon.
EATSMARTER TAKE AWAY: When using cinnamon, be aware of which type you are using so that you can regulate your intake of coumarin.
3. Top 100 Cinnamon Recipes
4. About Cinnamon
Order | Laurales
Family | Lauraceae
Genus | Lauraceae
Species | Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Where does Cinnamon come from?
Cinnamon is the inner bark of the Cinnamomum cassia (Chinese) or the Cinnamomum zeylancium (Sri Lanka) tree. Cassia is much more common and is a lot let expensive than Sri Lankan cinnamon. Cinnamon from Cassia is dark, has a more powerful smell, and stronger flavor when compared to Sri Lankan cinnamon.
Cinnamon trees are evergreens that produce a fruit that is not edible for humans. These trees are subject to parasites that destroy the leaves and the bark – ruining the crop of cinnamon.
5. Cinnamon vs. Nutmeg
If you look at a cinnamon stick, it’s easy to see how this spice is made from the bark of a tree. The same goes for whole nutmeg, which is the seed of a fruit. In their ground forms, cinnamon is a fine powder with a rust color, nutmeg coarser and a speckled brown. While similar in flavor, the two are easily distinguishable and often used together, but are also somewhat interchangeable. Nutmeg is often suggested as a substitute for anyone with allergies to cinnamon, for instance (at a ratio of ¼ teaspoon nutmeg for each teaspoon of cinnamon). Cinnamon is considered to be sweeter and more floral than nutmeg, with a brighter (think citrusy) note and a more pronounced flavor in the finished product. Nutmeg, on the other hand, is warmer, earthier (some say woodsy) and with a slight tinge of camphor; it is often used to lend a subtle background note. Both spices are commonly used in sweet and savory dishes.
6. History of Cinnamon
Spice of the Pharaohs
Cinnamon has been a precious commodity for thousands of years, and it wasn't until fairly recently that anyone who wasn't a king or nobility could afford it.
As far back as the 2nd millennium BCE, traders braved the dangers of the ocean in primitive canoes, taking cassia cinnamon bark from Indonesia all the way to Madagascar. Because of the difficulty of distribution, cinnamon has been more valuable than gold at certain times.
This path has been called the 'cinnamon route' by modern scholars, although that is somewhat misleading, as the spice was really cassia from China and Southeast Asia, not true cinnamon from Sri Lanka. These plants are cousins and have many of the same properties, but also have a number of subtle differences.
There is some evidence that these early traders made it all the way around the Cape of Good Hope – making them the earliest known sailors to have accomplished this feat. Scholars point to the number of goods from Indonesia that have been found in Western Africa – such as yams.
Scholars believe that the cinnamon route went from Indonesia west to Africa over open ocean, rather than up to Continental Asia and along the coast.
7. Q&A About Cinnamon
Are there different varieties of cinnamon?
There are two main types of cinnamon – Cinnamon zeylanicum (true cinnamon) from Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and Cinnamomum cassia (Chinese cinnamon or simply cassia) from China and Southeast Asia.
What is the difference between Chinese and Ceylon cinnamon?
Chinese cinnamon is darker, its sticks are harder and are hollow in the middle, its aroma is more powerful, its less sweet, and it contains 10 to 20 times more coumarin (.4% - .8% compared to .03% - .04% for true cinnamon).
How does a cinnamon tree reproduce?
All cinnamon trees produce flowers, which when pollinated, produce fruit (non-editable for humans). The fruit contains seeds, which get scattered by animals and the wind.
How well do cinnamon trees compete with other plants?
Cinnamon trees are very aggressive reproducers. They grow a canopy to choke out sunlight, killing off any competition. These trees can quickly take over entire sections of forests.
How is cinnamon harvested?
Cinnamon is harvested by hand. Branches are cut from the trees and then the outer layer of bark is peeled away. The inner bark is removed in large strips and left to dry.
8. Nutritional Information
|Calorie 6||Calories from Fat 1|
|Total Fat < 0.1g||< 1%|
|Saturated Fat < 0.1g||< 1%|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 0g|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0g|
|Sodium 1mg||< 1%|
|Total Carbohydrate 1.8g||< 1%|
|Dietary Fiber 1.2g||5%|
|Sugar < 0.1g|
|Protein < 0.1g|
|Vitamin A 0%||Vitamin C 0%|
|Calcium 0%||Iron 0%|
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