Habitat & Cultivation : Cinnamon originates from India and Sri Lanka, flourishing in tropical forests up to an altitude of 500 m (1,600 ft). It is extensively cultivated in tropical areas, with notable cultivation in the Philippines and the Caribbean. The propagation of cinnamon trees involves using cuttings, and a pruning practice occurs every second year, where young trees are trimmed back to just above ground level. The bark is then peeled from the emerging shoots the following year, and the inner layer is exposed to sunlight for drying, resulting in the formation of the distinctive cinnamon quills.
- Volatile oil up to 4% (cinnamaldehyde 65-80%, eugenol 5-10%
- Phenolics (procyanidins)
- Coumarins (C. cassia)
- Warming stimulant
- Metabolic syndrome : Studies indicate that cinnamon bark may play a role in preventing and treating type 2 (late-onset) diabetes by enhancing cells’ responsiveness to insulin and contributing to the stabilization of blood sugar levels. Furthermore, it has been observed to assist in lowering high blood pressure and may have a modest impact on reducing cholesterol levels, potentially offering a valuable approach to addressing metabolic syndrome.
- Other uses : The phenolic procyanidins found in cinnamon exhibit similarities to those present in grape seed and green tea , suggesting that cinnamon is a potent antioxidant and contributes to promoting healthy circulation. In addition to its antioxidant properties, the essential oil derived from cinnamon demonstrates sedative and analgesic effects, along with notable antimicrobial and antifungal activity. There are indications that cinnamon may also play a role in supporting brain health.
Traditional & Current Uses
- Ancient warming remedy : Throughout history, cinnamon has been employed as a warming herb, particularly for addressing “cold” conditions, frequently in conjunction with ginger. Its bark has the ability to stimulate circulation and enhance blood flow to the extremities. Traditionally, cinnamon has been a remedy for flu symptoms, and its properties make it an effective component in mouthwash formulations for conditions such as oral thrush.
- Convalescence : Cinnamon is a gentle acting herb that helps to support both digestion and circulation. It is used specifically in the treatment of debility and in convalescence.
- Gynaecological remedy : Cinnamon has shown potential in alleviating period cramps and may exert a normalizing influence on menstrual bleeding patterns, balancing heavy flow while encouraging flow in cases of lighter menstruation. Its utility extends to the treatment of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) by assisting in the reduction of insulin levels and promoting the stabilization of estrogen levels. This makes cinnamon a valuable component in addressing hormonal imbalances associated with PCOS.
- Insulin resistance : Cinnamon plays a specific role in enhancing blood glucose levels and in preventing insulin resistance, a condition characterized by the impaired uptake of sugar by cells, often considered a precursor to diabetes. As part of a comprehensive approach to managing diabetes and metabolic syndrome, one recommendation is to consume 3 teaspoons of cinnamon powder daily for a duration of 4 months. This suggests a potential therapeutic use of cinnamon in promoting better blood sugar control and addressing insulin resistance.
- Gastro-intestinal problems : Cinnamon has a longstanding tradition as a warming and soothing remedy for digestive issues, providing relief from nausea, indigestion, and flatulence, while also addressing colic and diarrhea. Its antifungal properties make it a valuable consideration in the management of gut dysbiosis, contributing to the restoration of a balanced gut bacteria environment.