Cinnamon is often regarded as a just a mere spice. Wonderful for aromatic purposes and a tasty addition to many dessert dishes and alcoholic beverages.
You might be shocked to learn that this innocent little spice used to be one of the most expensive commodities on the planet from about 2000 B.C. to sometime in the middle ages. In Roman times, for instance, a pound of cinnamon cost more than 10 months of a typical man’s wages to purchase.
This spice has several scientific research studies backing its ability to help prevent and treat a number of health epidemics facing people in this day and age.
Keep reading to learn more about what this spice can do for you and your loved ones.
Cassia vs. Ceylon
Cassia cinnamon is the kind you are most likely to find on the shelf of your grocery store or local spice shop. It’s cheaper to process and grows throughout asia. It’s much more abundant than the more exclusive ceylon that gets so much hype on the Internet health food scene these days.
Ceylon cinnamon is considered the “true cinnamon” and originates from Sri Lanka. In fact, it’s exclusive to Sri Lanka and isn’t found growing anywhere else. This is the most popular kind mentioned in health food circles, mainly because it’s the one that gets used in research studies the most. Some people claim ceylon to be more flavorful when added to foods and beverages, but this is very subjective from one person to the next.
So which is better?
Cassia gets a bad rap, often being referred to as “dirty” or “less pure”. However, if you purchase a 100% pure product from reputable supplier, the choice of which really comes down to what you’re using it to treat.
The only difference between pure cassia and pure ceylon is that ceylon has less coumarin, used to thin the blood and lower blood pressure naturally. Excessive doses of coumarin aren’t considered safe and can damage the liver. It’s believed that ceylon contains more essential oils and antioxidants, but there is no proof of this when quality standards are high in either form of the spice.
Cassia does contain more coumarin, but as long as you stay within the recommended dose listed further down the page, side-effects shouldn’t be expected. Cassia cinnamon has also proved itself to be better at lowering blood sugar, despite what you may have read elsewhere.
Top 5 Cinnamon Supplements
|Brand||Nature’s Way||Sundown||Frontier||Nature Made||Now Foods|
|Overall Rating||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.7 / 5||4.3 / 5||4.2 / 5|
|Serving Size||1 Capsule||2 Capsules||6g||2 Capsules||2 Capsules|
|Effectiveness||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.5 / 5||4.3 / 5|
|Taste||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.4 / 5||4.2 / 5|
|Quality||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.0 / 5||4.0 / 5|
|Digestibility||5 / 5||5 / 5||5 / 5||4.5 / 5||4.5 / 5|
Cinnamon and its Amazing Health Benefits:
1.Diabetes and Prediabetes Treatment
Type II diabetes is a disease caused by excessive sugar intake. Too much sugar causes excessive insulin spikes in the body that eventually cause the receptors inside our muscles, skeletal tissue and liver to become less sensitive to insulin, resulting in overly-high sugar levels which left untreated, will lead to heart disease, neuropathy, vision loss, and kidney and liver disease, to name a few.
Depending on which source you listen to, one can expect their fasting and HBA1C test results to lower by anywhere from 5 – 20% when consuming a teaspoon of cinnamon daily. This benefit surely extends to non-diabetics to help with prevention of the disease, but no such study has been performed to date on healthy individuals.
Few who don’t have the disease understand that it’s largely the excessive inflammation that occurs when blood sugars are too high for long periods that’s mostly to blame for all the debilitating side effects. A 2007 study performed on a variety of herbs and spices showed cinnamon to be one of the top spices for inhibiting glycation of albumin caused by high blood sugar – this process causes the chronic inflammatory response in the immune system that so many diabetics suffer from (source).
Cinnamon is one of a few natural products to contain coumarin; a chemical often found in blood thinning medicines like Warfarin, which is the single most effective blood thinner given to heart attack and stroke victims to prevent blood clots. Keeping the blood thin also prevents and reverses high blood pressure, which not only leads to heart attack and stroke, it damages the kidneys over time. The kidneys don’t just filter toxins from our body, the adrenal glands on top of them are essential for maintaining safe blood pressure.
As a dual benefit, since the antioxidant cinnamaldehyde is in the top 10 of all antioxidants, it should go without saying that consumption of the spice will lead to less oxidation of cholesterol and triglycerides, leading to lower levels of accumulated plaque in the arteries which are the primary cause of heart disease and stroke. A teaspoon of cinnamon also offers 15% of our daily needs for manganese, which further promotes antioxidant function and is a cofactor in oxygen metabolism in the body.
Contrary to all its negative hype in the media, cholesterol is something we can’t live without. Its critical to the hormonal balance of all systems in our body, with its most important function being to convert the sun’s ultra violet rays into usable vitamin D; responsible for more genetic functions in the human body than can be properly listed here.
Cholesterol becomes a problem for the heart, brain and other organs when the balance between good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol (LDL) become disrupted and there isn’t enough good to get rid of the bad. In the presence of increased inflammatory factors in the blood, LDL is oxidized, making it stick to the walls of our arteries. Certain studies have showed remarkable improvements in cinnamon’s ability to lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, helping to restore the balance between good and bad when 2 – 6 grams were consumed daily (source).
Science is always on the lookout for ways to make our brains work better. After all, the better the human race thinks, the faster innovation occurs and the more progress we make as a whole. There is definite research-based proof that cinnamon has a positive effect on the brain, particularly when consumed, but also from an aromatherapy standpoint.
A 2005 study performed by the North American Journal of Psychology showed a couple of interesting findings related to the benefits of cinnamon on cognitive enhancement. The study found that just smelling cinnamon provoked an improvement in the participant’s ability to concentrate. When they were given cinnamon in chewing gum form, they performed even better on tests tasks related to attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed (source).
5.Parkinson’s and Stroke Protection
To date, no human trials have been performed on Parkinson’s patients to determine whether cinnamon clearly helps stabilize the disease. A recent study from mid-2014 showed a marked improvement in mice afflicted with Parkinson’s. The results indicated that the mice showed improvement across several markers when given cinnamon including neuron protection, improved neurotransmitter function, and improved motor skills (source).
Because of its brain-protective, cognitive-enhancing abilities, and antioxidant functions in the body cinnamon may well help to prevent Parkinson’s from happening in the first place. Another study showed cinnamon to hinder swelling of brain tissue after a stroke and other forms of severe brain trauma (source).
Not all who’re genetically predisposed to Alzheimer’s get it. There are a number of positive studies that have been published over the last few years that show cinnamon to be a very powerful weapon in the prevention of this disease. This study from Israel concluded daily consumption of cinnamon can slow the progression of at least 5 different strains of the disease at the genetic level. This one showed cinnamon to help restore cognitive function in animals stricken with the disease.
It’s believed that the antioxidants cinnamaldehyde and the antioxidant flavanoid, epicatechin, are responsible for the preventative and restorative effects it has on Alzheimer’s disease.
7.High Antioxidant Values
Cinnamon has a unique antioxidant called “cinnamaldehyde”. Antioxidants are rated for their effectiveness inside the human body by a value known as the Oxygen Radical Absorbance Capacity Value (ORAC Value). Oxidation leads to heart disease and cancer, among other diseases, due to its inflammatory effects on every cell in the body.
The higher the ORAC number, the more effective the food is at removing free radicals, thus preventing oxidation of every cell in the body. Cinnamaldehyde has an ORAC Value of 240,000, putting it in the top 10 of all antioxidant-rich superfoods. This study showed that after consuming 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, participants had up to 13% higher blood concentrations of antioxidants over those who were given other spices.
Our entire digestive system is in a constant battle to achieve balance between the good and bad bacteria levels in the stomach, intestines and bowels. There are several “bad” bacteria fighting compounds to be found in cinnamon including ethyl cinnamate, linalool, beta-caryophyllene, and methyl chavicol. Bad bacteria can rob our bodies of nutrients from the food we eat, in addition to causing persistent conditions like stomach aches, irritable bowel syndrome, and diarrhea.
Note: The particular form of IBS that cinnamon is helpful with is that caused by Bacterial Gastroenteritis, which can be treated by restoring healthy bacteria levels in the gut. Other causes like food sensitivities, genetic predisposition, and psychologically-induced IBS aren’t likely to benefit from the addition of cinnamon to the diet. Though it certainly won’t hurt either!
Cinnamon has long been known for the delicious taste and smell it leaves in the mouth, making for a great natural bad breath remedy. However, it isn’t just a mere coverup; cinnamon contains high amounts of eugenols in addition to the antioxidant cinnamaldehyde. Eugenols fight the bad breath bacteria that cause tooth decay and gum disease. To use a natural mouthwash, mix a half teaspoon of ground cinnamon with a mouthful of water and swish it around for 30 – 60 seconds.
Cinnamon is effective at fighting off both the internal, and more commonly recognized external yeast infections caused by the Candida Albicans virus. Taking 1 – 2 teaspoons daily can help to kill Candida Albicans in the gut, and has even shown promise in fighting other medication resistant strains like Candida Krusei and Candida Tropicalis. If you plan to use it for external infections, a 1% cinnamon leaf extract should be applied liberally to the affected area until the infection has run its course (make your own extract).
11.Athlete’s Foot Treatment
People suffering from athlete’s foot often find it difficult to control the infection without resorting to medications. Unfortunately, these medications can thin the skin, leading to blisters and infection.
Just as cinnamon leaf oil helps with the bacteria that causes yeast infection, it can also eliminate and control athletes foot fungus when applied to affected feet. Use the recipe linked to in the previous section for your athlete’s foot symptoms or purchase a 1% extract here.
Typical Dosage for Cinnamon:
The recommended dose for cinnamon is 1 – 6 grams for children over the age of 16. Exceeding the recommended limit may lead to toxicity (read next section).
Tests on children below the age of 16 are rarely performed due to the risk of harming young, growing kids, so there are no conclusively safe recommendations for this age group.
There aren’t too many warnings to be concerned with when it comes to cinnamon, though it’s recommended you stay within the recommended dose range of 1 – 6 grams, to avoid possible toxic effects from taking too much. The toxicity that may occur is due to the higher coumarin content which can be toxic to the liver in high doses, not to mention increasing the risk of excessive bleeding.
It’s also recommended that diabetic patients, particularly those taking prescription blood-glucose-lowering medications, or the hormone insulin should monitor their blood sugar closely to prevent hypoglycemia. You may have to consider lowering your medication (with doctor’s advice) or your cinnamon intake if levels get too low.
Cinnamon Supplement Reviews
Best Cinnamon Capsules
#1.Nature’s Way Cinnamon
I’ve always favored Nature’s Way for many of the natural health supplements they produce. These cinnamon gels are no different. The company has taken a further step in their manufacturing process to bring you even more healthful benefits from cinnamon bark, combining the ground up bark from the tree with an 8% standardized liquid extract contained in the tree to give you an even bigger hit of flavonoids per serving. This one costs a few bucks more than the others on this list, but everyone can benefit from more antioxidants in your diet.
#2.Sundown Naturals Cinnamon
Sundown Naturals is an offshoot company of Rexall Drugs and they’re a force to be reckoned with in the health food industry. This is highly-recommended cinnamon supplement. It’s preservative free and contains no sweeteners or harmful allergens. Some on Amazon have given this one a bad rap because of it being advertised as 1000mg capsules, when in reality the cinnamon content is 1000mg per 2 capsule serving size. Don’t let this fact dissuade you from purchasing this 100% pure cassia cinnamon product.
Best Cinnamon Powder
#3.Frontier Natural Products Cinnamon
Don’t be fooled by the low price, this organic ground cinnamon from Frontier Naturals is as potent and high-quality as anything you’ll find out there. It’s sourced from non-GMO crop and is a certified organic fair trade product. Sprinkle this cinnamon on your food or take it by the teaspoonful to get maximum benefit to your health.
#4.Nature Made Cinnamon Capsules 1000 Mg
These capsules from Nature Made are filled with cassia cinnamon from the wilds of Asia. It’s free of artificial dyes, colors, and flavorings. Capsules make it easy to get up to 6 grams daily without having to mix your cinnamon with food or water. Perfect solution for people who aren’t fond of the way this super-spice tastes on its own!
#5.NOW Foods Cassia Cinnamon Bark 600mg
I couldn’t resist throwing this one in for those of you who love the taste of cinnamon combined with vanilla! While you’re unlikely to get any health benefits from this product, this liquid stevia solution from Now Foods contains the perfect ratio of cinnamon to vanilla flavoring. It mixes easily with liquid beverages and adds sumptuous flavor to any sweet dish you put it into. Hey, there’s no sugar and tons of deliciousness. It’s awesome!
Cinnamon has been used in tradition medicine, aromatherapy, and as a sweet/spicy additive to foods and beverages of all kinds, for thousands of years. I hope you learned as much reading all the information on this page as I did from researching and writing it.
The fact that it’s so inexpensive to buy and that it can help treat and prevent diabetes and heart disease; our two biggest killers, you’d have to be crazy not to find ways to incorporate this yummy, aromatic spic into your diet and/or supplement routine.