Chances are you have a bottle of cinnamon in your spice cupboard. And chances are you never thought of cinnamon as medicine. However, cinnamon has been used medicinally since ancient times. This popular spice was used in ancient Egypt, China, and India for culinary and medicinal purposes, and its use has also been documented in the Bible. Most people think of cinnamon as a flavoring for desserts or as a warm, robust scent for candles and potpourri. But this spice may do more than make your house smell good.
Cinnamon is packed with a variety of protective antioxidants that reduce free radical damage and slow the aging process; in fact researchers have identified forty-one different protective compounds of cinnamon to date! The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, brain function decline, and more.
Cinnamon is also a very powerful herb for blood sugar control. In a study with the U.S. Dept of Agriculture’s Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, they found that cinnamon can improve glucose metabolism in fat cells 20-fold. Of the 49 herbs, spices, and medicinal plant extracts they studied, they found cinnamon was the most bioactive. Cinnamon improves glucose intake by the cells, increases the effectiveness of insulin, and also increases the antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal processes.
To achieve the therapeutic effects discussed in the studies and this article, you will need to consume 1/4 to 1 full teaspoon of powdered cinnamon a day. This is easy to do with smoothies, teas and nut mylks.