Cinnamon has been in the news for a few years due to its ability to reduce blood sugar levels among people with type 2 diabetes. Continued clinical trials validate that it works. Researchers have discovered additional health benefits as well.
It should be noted that a small study of only 25 post-menopausal women with diabetes showed no benefit of cinnamon on their glycemic control. But as multiple other large studies do support the use of cinnamon to assist with blood sugar control, I continue to recommend the use of cinnamon. The therapeutic doses of cinnamon used in the studies were quite variable with a range of one to six grams daily used in most studies. I recommend one to two teaspoons daily added to foods, such as a breakfast cereal or hot beverage.
Scientists are unsure of how cinnamon works. Theorists suggest that cinnamon may potentiate, or enhance, the potency of the body’s own insulin or it may help to convert insulin from an inactive to an active form. Others believe that cinnamon enhances the insulin sensitivity of the cells of the body. In any case, it works.
Cinnamon is very well-tolerated and has a safety record backed up by thousands of years of use. Of course, like any other substance, a slight number of people may be allergic to cinnamon. It is generally considered safe even for pregnant women and during breastfeeding; however the German Commission E – a government regulatory agency — recommends that it not be used therapeutically during pregnancy and breastfeeding as studies have not been done to confirm its safety.
Cinnamon reduces levels of glucose in fasting blood sugar tests significantly; however in short-term studies of less than five months it did not reduce Hemoglobin A1c levels. I suggest that the lack of reduction of A1c levels may be due to the fact that A1c levels are a cumulative value. As studies continue for longer periods of time, I suspect that reductions in A1c will be seen as well.
People with diabetics are at risk for heart disease and damage to the circulation throughout the body. Researchers note that total cholesterol levels of study participants are reduced when cinnamon is ingested. Levels of LDL, bad cholesterol, are diminished while cardio-protective HDL, healthy cholesterol, levels increase. In addition, triglycerides, unhealthy fats, in the blood are reduced as well. All of these findings demonstrate that cinnamon has benefits not only for people with diabetes, but for anyone who wants to enhance the health of the cardiovascular system. The studies reveal that blood pressure readings are reduced as well.
Cinnamon has been compared with other spices to evaluate to determine antioxidant and anti-inflammatory activities. All are potent sources of antioxidants and prevent inflammation. Antioxidants prevent multiple illnesses and enhance longevity. Inflammation has been identified to play a role in the development of diverse ills such as arthritis, cardiac disease, cancer and pain. Cinnamon possesses properties which help protect the body from these conditions.
Cinnamon also has potent antibacterial properties. It destroys and prevents the growth of salmonella and other infectious ills. Cinnamon kills viruses. It can be helpful during a cold.
Cinnamon promotes the health of the digestive tract. The spice has been used for centuries to ease digestive illnesses. It is employed in the treatment of ulcers, gastritis and infectious diarrhea. Cinnamon has antispasmodic effects which relieve the pain of cramping due to digestive ills.
Aroma therapists use cinnamon leaf oil for its antiviral and antibacterial properties. The essential oil of the leaf is an excellent addition to topical blends used to ease sore muscles or to warm the chest area during respiratory ills such as colds, bronchitis or flu. Cinnamon leaf oil is strong; just a couple of drops added to an ounce of oil can be sufficient. Aroma therapists do not use cinnamon bark oil as often as cinnamon leaf oil as the bark oil cannot be used topically since it is irritating to the skin. Cinnamon oil should not be used during pregnancy.
The spice cinnamon helps to activate herbal blends. It is a warming spice. Most people identify cinnamon as a soothing, homey herb. It is an excellent herb to combine with less palatable herbs as its sweet and spicy flavor helps to disguise their taste. I employ cinnamon for a variety of uses. Try it in blends to relieve respiratory infections and stomach distress. The spice, as well as cinnamon oil, can be used to make homemade cleansers as cinnamon emits a pleasant fragrance and destroys bacteria.
Cinnamon can prevent the growth of microorganisms on foods of 30 days. This explains one of the reasons why spices have been so highly valued throughout history, especially when refrigeration is unavailable.
Cinnamon does much more than reduce blood sugar levels and flavor baked goods. Use cinnamon to enhance heath and promote wellness throughout your entire home.