There are certain smells in life that remind us of specific times, seasons and family. Cinnamon, a spice that has been used for over 3,000 years, is one of those smells. The comfort of cinnamon in candles, warm sweet treats, hot drinks and savory dishes is not only drool-worthy, but this earthy, sweet and pungent spice is great for our health too.
Cinnamon has been used for centuries – ancient-Egyptians used the spice to mask the smell during the embalming process, Ayurvedic medicine in India uses cinnamon for its healing properties and oil from the cinnamon bark has a long history of being used for its treatment of colds, fevers and flu symptoms.
One of the earth’s oldest spices, cinnamon comes from the bark of evergreen trees. The bark is peeled and sun-dried into curls that we call cinnamon sticks. These sticks are grounded into powder – what most of us have in our baking pantries. There are two types of cinnamon:
- Ceylon Cinnamon: Also called “true” cinnamon, which is native to Sri Lanka and known for its sweeter, delicate flavor, is more difficult to find and costlier.
- Cassia Cinnamon: The more budget-friendly kind of cinnamon that you can buy at nearly any grocery store.
Most of us likely use cassia cinnamon, but the health benefits of the two aren’t far from each other. Cinnamon is one of the most studied herbs on the planet, and from this, we can gather information that proves cinnamon’s power against conditions such as diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, inflammation and dementia. Useful in the fight against chronic disease, cinnamon is incredibly high in antioxidant levels and has been scientifically proven to lower blood sugar. Alongside this, it could reduce the risk of cancer and retrain tumor cell growth. But that’s not all.
Cinnamon has a ton more benefits:
- Fights free radicals
- Lowers bad cholesterol
- Provides bone health
- Helps with weight loss
- Boosts sex drive
- Combats symptoms of PMS
- Fights bad odors
- Decreases the risk of heart disease
With the holidays approaching, there’s no better time of the year to enjoy cinnamon! Sprinkle some into your morning coffee or tea, mix some into your homemade soups and stews, or reach for an Apple Cinnamon Cranberry Nagi bar for a nutritious afternoon snack!