Considering our food industry this one should be a ‘no brainer’…
“Real” and “Fake”….did you know?
This is called cassia, Chinese or Saigon cinnamon. Some people also call it fake cinnamon. It is produced in countries such as Vietnam, China and Indonesia. It is very hot and by chewing a piece you can feel the pungent taste sizzle and flame in your mouth. It shares some of the characteristics with real cinnamon like being anti-microbial, anti-fungal, blood regulation etc. The real problem, however, with the fake cinnamon is that it has a high content of coumarin; in fact, nearly 1200 times higher than found in the real herb. Taking large amount of coumarin is highly toxic and a prolong use may pose several serious health damages.
According to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in Germany, coumarin can damage liver and kidneys if taken for longer periods. In case of sensitive individuals, only a small amount can cause damage.
BfR further advises that cassia cinnamon contains high levels of coumarin and should not, therefore, be eaten.
Cassia Cinnamon is a lot cheaper than the real or Ceylon variety. Most cinnamon sold in the supermarket is the Chinese or Cassia variety.
This is also called real, sweet or good cinnamon. It is produced in Sri Lanka from the plant called Cinnamomum Zeylanicum. It is light brown in color and thin and soft in appearance. The sticks are filled like a cigar with several folded layers. The amount of coumarin content is only 0.0004% against 5 % found in Cinnamomum Cassia.
How to Distinguish Between the Two?
In case of ground cinnamon, it is very difficult to distinguish between the two unless you are an expert, especially at sniffing spices. Howler, there is no guarantee that the result will be one hundred percent accurate. However, in case of sticks, it is easier to differentiate between the two. The following table and pictures highlight some of the differences which shall help you to choose the correct type.
Most bottled or packaged ground cinnamon does not mention its type or origin. It is, therefore, difficult to ascertain its type and origin or the country or plant. The best course is to identify the sticks and make sure that you are buying the Ceylon variety. Once you get hold of the real “thing” , use your blender to crush it into powder.
The Encyclopedia of Healing Foods notes of cinnamon, for example, that:
Cinnamon has a long history of use in both Eastern and Western cultures as a medicine. Some of its reported uses are in cases of arthritis, asthma, cancer, diarrhea, fever, heart problems, insomnia, menstrual problems, peptic ulcers, psoriasis, and spastic muscles. There are scientific studies to support some of these uses. Some of the confirmed effects of cinnamon are as a sedative for smooth muscle, circulatory stimulant, carminative, digestant, anticonvulsant, diaphoretic, diuretic, antibiotic, and antiulcerative.
Cinnamon’s unique healing abilities come from three basic components in the essential oils found in its bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances.
Cinnamon is often used in multicomponent Chinese herbal formulas, some of which have been studied for clinical effects. For example, cinnamon combined with Chinese thoroughwax (Bupleurum lactiflora) was shown to produce satisfactory results in the treatment of epilepsy. Out of 433 patients treated (most of whom were unresponsive to anticonvulsant drugs), 115 were cured and another 79 improved greatly. Improvements were noted not only by clinical symptoms, but also by improvements in brain wave patterns. Other clinical studies have shown cinnamon-containing formulas to be useful in cases of the common cold, influenza, and frostbite. However, it is not really known to what degree the improvements noted are actually due to the cinnamon versus the other components.
Cinnamon has also been shown in clinical studies to lower triglycerides and total cholesterol after about 40 days. There are also studies that suggest that eugenol, a compound in cinnamon, can kill viruses in a test tube. Killing a virus in a test tube (in vitro antiviral properties) is important, but does not necessarily mean the same substance can knock out a virus in your body. However, it has led to intensified research into cinnamon. More recently, scientists are looking at cinnamon as a potential anti-cancer agent.
What are the Benefits of Cinnamon?
Cinnamon has extremely high anti-oxidant activity, and the oil of cinnamon has strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Cinnamon is also a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium. As a result, it has been used as an effective home remedy for:
Reducing blood sugar levels and treating Type 2 Diabetes.
Curing the common cold.
Reducing arthritis pain.
Boosting memory and cognitive function.
Eliminating bad breath.
Curing headaches and migraine pain.
Uses of Cinnamon
Home Remedy for Arthritis
Cinnamon has recently been shown to act as a natural remedy for Arthritis pain.
Home Remedy for Diabetes
Research suggests that cinnamon may help treat Type 2 Diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels and increasing the amount of insulin production in the body.
Home Remedy for Reducing Cholesterol
Recent studies have shown that consuming small amounts of cinnamon can help reduce LDL cholesterol (the bad one). Simply eat half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder daily. The cinnamon can be added as a mild sweetener to coffee or tea.
Home Remedy for Eliminating Headaches and Migraine Pain
Cinnamon has been found to be an effective natural remedy for eliminating headaches and migraine relief.
Home Remedy for Coughs and the Common Cold
Chinese medicine has long used cinnamon as a natural remedy for coughs and the common cold. A simple herbal remedy for treating a sore throat is the following:
Add a cinnamon stick to boiling water.
Let boil for 2 minutes.
Remove the cinnamon stick.
Use the cinnamon water for any herbal tea, such as green tea.
Drink this tea two times per day. If the cold persists for longer than 3 days, consult your doctor.
Home Remedy for Toothaches
Cinnamon has been known to help relieve toothache pain. Simply make a paste using five teaspoons of honey mixed with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Apply a small amount of this paste directly onto the aching tooth 2 or 3 times daily until the pain is relieved. You can store any extra paste in a small container at room temperature.
What are the Side Effects of Cinnamon?
Some recent studies in Europe have shown that cinnamon derived from the Cassia plant contains a toxic compound known as Coumarin. This compound is known to cause liver and kidney damage in high concentrations. Since the powdered cinnamon that we purchase in our supermarkets is typically derived from the Cassia plant, it is important to avoid consuming high doses of it.
Since cinnamon has an anti-clotting effect on the blood, caution should also be exercised when it is used in combination with other blood-thinning products such as aspirin. Large quantities of cinnamon should also be avoided during pregnancy due to the possibility of adverse effects on the uterus.
Anyone that is currently taking medication for controlling blood sugar levels or blood thinners should consult their doctor before using cinnamon as a regular supplement.
Where and How to Buy Cinnamon
The powdered cinnamon that we commonly use as a spice is typically Cassia cinnamon, and can be found in most grocery stores. It can also be purchased in stick form. Ceylon cinnamon is typically more expensive than Cassia cinnamon, and is therefore usually only available in specialty stores. It is usually only available in stick form. While both types are known for their therapeutic effects, the Ceylon cinnamon is slightly sweeter and is therefore considered to be of higher quality.
This next one is for Cinnamon/Honey Paste:
1. Anti-bacterial paste
Honey possesses anti-bacterial properties. This claim is supported by numerous studies. It fights against external and internal infections. Cinnamon also possesses anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. When combined together, they form a great potion for external infections.
2. Good for Heart
Healthy diet, active lifestyle and moderate exercise are great ways to maintain a healthy heart. Taking a drink of cinnamon and honey on a regular basis can prevent heart diseases by clearing the clogged arteries.
3. Bladder infections
Honey and cinnamon drink is a super anti-bacterial solution for treating bladder infections and bacterial cystitis. The anti-microbial and healing properties of both the ingredients work great to clean the bladder off all the infections.
4. Treating Arthritis
People report to have significantly improved their conditions in just a few days by drinking the mixture twice a day. For curing arthritis, add a teaspoon of Ceylon cinnamon and a tablespoon of raw or manuka honey. Drink half a glass before breakfast and half before going to bed.
A study was conducted in Copenhagen University in which patients were given honey and cinnamon for treating arthritis. After a week time, it was found that 73 out of 200 patients were relieved of their symptoms. After a month trial, almost all patients were able to walk and work.
5. Treating Gingivitis
Researchers in New Zealand have found Manuka honey effective in fighting against dental plague, itchy gums, infections and bleeding. Apply honey and cinnamon paste to gums every day is an effective treatment for bleeding gums.
6. Tooth Decay
This is a bit controversial. Researchers in New York suggested that honey can cause tooth decay. However, it has been suggested by scientists in New Zealand that honey can actually prevent tooth decay on account of its anti-microbial properties. Applying the paste to gums regularly and maintaining oral hygiene treat the infected gums as well as avoid tooth decay.
7. Helping Digestion
It cleanses the colon by eliminating the toxins. It helps promote good bacteria in the colon resulting in better digestion.
8. Bloating, Gas and Acid Reflux
It helps protect the stomach wall by coating it. By cleaning the system of bad bacteria, it helps to heal any infection thereby helping to treat symptoms of bloating, gas and acid reflux.
9. Weight Loss
There is huge anecdotal evidence that honey and cinnamon works to reduce weight. When taken together, the solution burns the fat faster. It also regulates eating habits by eliminating food cravings.
10. Mental Alertness
Many people report that honey works great for enhancing memory. When taken with cinnamon, it increases mental alertness and improves memory.
11. Treating Cancer
Like many other claims, this is unproven scientifically. It may prove helpful in reducing the chances of cancer by eliminating free radicals. Some people have even reported to have treated breast and colon cancers by using honey and cinnamon.
12. Boosting Energy
Honey is rich in many minerals and vitamins, while cinnamon contains calcium, iron, vitamin c, vitamin K, manganese and fiber. When combined they make a great immune boosting tonic. Taking honey and cinnamon tea regularly boosts energy levels, physical strength and mental alertness.
13. Treating Acne and Pimples
Applying the honey and cinnamon paste to acne can rid your skins of the acne and pimple problem. Honey is anti-bacterial and cinnamon is anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant. Honey in the paste helps cinnamon stick to skin for longer.
Taking the solution in lukewarm water reduces both dry and phlegmatic cough. It clears the phlegm from the chest and thereby relieving the symptoms of cough.
15. Insect Bites
Great for itching or pain resulting from insect bites. Take one teaspoon of honey and mix it in two teaspoons of water. Add half a teaspoon of cinnamon and apply it to the affected area. It relives the pain or itching instantly.
16. Hair Loss
Mix one tablespoon of honey in equal amount of extra virgin organic olive oil. Add one teaspoon of cinnamon powder to the mixture and stir to make a paste. Apply the paste to the bald areas or patches on your head. Leave it for 15 minutes and then wash with lukewarm water with an herbal shampoo.
Regular intake of honey in small amount mixed with ground cinnamon lowers bad cholesterol. It lowers blood pressure and clears the clogs in arteries. Replacing other fat intake with extra virgin olive oil works like a tonic reducing bad cholesterol.
Mix one teaspoon of cinnamon with 2 tablespoon of honey and apply to the aching tooth several times a day until the pain disappears.
19. Bad Breath
Mix an equal amount of honey and cinnamon and add some lukewarm water and stir to mix well. Gargle with the solution first thing in the morning and your breath will stay fresh all day long.
Sprinkle a small amount of the herb on one teaspoon of honey and eat before meals. It helps digest even the heaviest of meals.
21. Impotency and Sex Boost
Try it and see the difference! Add one teaspoon of the herb in to 300 ml hot water. Leave it for 15 minutes to cool down. Add one tablespoon of raw, manuka or organic honey. Drink half of it before breakfast and the remaining half before going to bed.
22. Boosting Immunity System
Keep you immune system strong and diseases will not touch you. Both the ingredients are anti-bacterial and anti-viral making the body strong enough to fight and kill harmful bacteria and viruses. Honey also contains vitamins and minerals providing the body with essential nutrients.
23. Treating Excessive Flatulence
There are conflicting reports from users regarding the treatment of flatulence using the cinnamon-honey combination. Some people report increase in wind while others swear by it. Depending upon the individual’s physical health, it may work for some and not for others. Give it a try by eating one tablespoon of honey before each meal and sprinkling one teaspoon of cinnamon on the food to enjoy its perfect taste and reap its true benefits.
24. Other Benefits
The above list is by no means exhaustive and people have been using it for several other conditions such as diabetes, leg cramps, general weakness, memory loss, ulcers, wound healing, herpes, anal itching etc.
How to Take it?
You can take it either in drink form for internal health benefits or use the paste for external applications. It is simple and easy.
Honey and cinnamon can also taking by adding it your fruit juice, smoothie, ice cream, yoghurt, coffee, bread, cereals etc.
How to Make Honey and Cinnamon Tea or Drink?
You will need:
A cup or glass
200 to 300 ml water
Ground Ceylon cinnamon
Boil the water in the electric kettle
Put one teaspoon of cinnamon in the cup
Pour the hot water into the cup
Stir to mix well.
Leave for 15 minutes and let it cool down
Add two teaspoon of honey and stir to mix well.
Drink half a cup before breakfast
Drink half a cup before going to bed.
How to make the paste?
What you will need:
A spoon and a small bowl
Extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Take one teaspoon of cinnamon
Add one tablespoon of extra virgin oil
Add one tablespoon of honey
Mix well to make a paste
If the paste is too thick, add a little water.