By Nancy Overzet
Cinnamon is a common spice with quite a few surprising twists and turns. It grows on small trees commonly found in South Asia and India. There are approximately one hundred varieties of Cinnamon. The two most popular types are Ceylon and Cassia. Each is derived from a different tree. Cassia is widely used as it is cheaper. Ceylon, which is also called true cinnamon, is slightly sweeter and considered to be of a higher quality due to its higher Coumarin content, which makes it healthful. It is extremely high in anti-oxidants and the oil has strong anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory properties. It is a great source of vitamins and minerals.
Uses for Cinnamon
Cinnamon has been used in home remedies for lowering blood sugar levels 18 to 29 percent and cholesterol 12 to 26 percent. It treats arthritis, bad breath and headaches. Nutritionally 10 grams, about 2 teaspoons, of ground cinnamon contain 0.12 g fat and has just 12 calories.
Cinnamon has been around since the ancient Hebrews in the Bible. Moses was told by God to put it in the holy anointing oil. Egyptians used it as early as 2000 B.C. as an embalming ingredient. Greeks used it to flavor wine. The Chinese have long used it as a natural remedy for coughs and the common cold.
Cinnamon has anti-clotting actions thereby lowering incidents of strokes. A 2011 study isolated the substance (CEppt) in the plant that inhibits development of Alzheimer’s disease in mice. It is extracted from the bark of the cinnamon tree.
How to Purchase
When buying cinnamon, it should smell fresh and pungent. Select organically grown to be sure of its purity as irradiating may lead to a significant decrease in its vitamin C and carotenoid content. Keep it in tightly sealed glass containers in a cool, dark and dry place. Ground cinnamon will keep for about six months and in stick form for about one year.
Powdered cinnamon has even entered the spotlight in recent years because of a contest known as the cinnamon challenge. People attempt to swallow a full tablespoon in under 60 seconds. It dries out the mouth becoming impossible to swallow. Please do NOT take the challenge as it is very dangerous.
Pleasure can be derived from the spice in a large variety of foods such as on oatmeal, Mexican and Indian dishes, and fruit salads or on
yogurt. You can also enjoy chewing cinnamon gum.
Nancy’s Spiced Coffee
One cup hot coffee, 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon and tablespoon dark cocoa
powder and steamed milk to taste. PBH & C Toast
1. Put two tablespoons peanut butter, 2. one tablespoon honey and 3. ¼ teaspoon cinnamon on toast.
Ancient Chinese common cold recipe
Add one cinnamon stick to one cup water and microwave until boiling. Remove cinnamon stick and steep green tea bag in the water.
According to Wikipedia, global production amounts to 27,000-35,000 tons. Trees are grown 2 years and then the trees are chopped back and the next year about a dozen shoots will form from the roots before they can be harvested. They scrape the outer bark and then the inner bark is pried out in long rolls. It must be processed right away while the bark is wet. It is then dried for 4-6 hours. If not done in proper ventilated areas, moisture will encourage pests and fungi grow and it would need to be fumigated.
Nancy Overzet attended Western Wisconsin Collage of Nursing. She is now writing her own book about the Healing Power of Herbs.
By Nancy Overzet