Today I shall introduce you to one of my favorite spices: cinnamon!
Cinnamon originates from the East and is one of the oldest spices. There are two kinds of cinnamon: Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon.
Ceylon cinnamon is often referred as the “real” cinnamon, and it is found in south India and Shri Lanka.
Cassia is found in China, Bangladesh, Indonesia and Vietnam. Cassia has a stronger aroma and more woody structure. But the bark of these two cinnamon types is different and readily apparent: while Ceylon cinnamon bark has many layers and is easily ground to powder, Cassia is much harder and hollow.
You can see the difference on the picture; left is Cassia, right is Ceylon.
When ground in powder the difference is hard to notice, but it’s still there, Ceylon cinnamon has a slightly lighter color, a bit gentler odor and spicier taste. The main difference is this: Ceylon cinnamon contains negligible amount of coumarin, moderately toxic compound, while Cassia contains more. If you’re using cinnamon for culinary purposes, eg. for cakes and sweets you needn’t worry, but if you use it for medical/health purposes, my advice is to buy the Ceylon cinnamon. It might be a bit dearer, but it’s worth it.
Cinnamon has a characteristic odor and sweet-spicy taste. 100 g of cinnamon contains around 250 calories, potassium, sodium, calcium, iron, vitamin A, vitamin C and magnesium.
Although it is mostly used as a spice for sweet dishes, in middle east cuisines it is used for savory dishes such as lamb and chicken. It is often found in curry mixtures.
Traditional folk medicine believes that cinnamon is a great glands stimulant and that is helps with common cold and sour throats. Cinnamon drops are used for heavy menstrual bleeding, while the mixture of clove and cinnamon essential oils is used for toothaches. You should dose it carefully because the essential oil can irritate mucous.
Cinnamon has a strong antioxidant effect, therefore you can use it for preserving food. It also enhances the mobility and sperm count. Cinnamon also affects the digestion of fat.
Here are couple of tricks you can use…honey-cinnamon mixture has a good effect on the weight loss, and also preferably affects:
– common cold: If you suffer from cold, take on spoon of lukewarm honey with a pinch of cinnamon every day for three days. That will cure cough, cold and inflamed sinuses.
– arthritis: People who suffer from this disease should drink a cup of hot water with two tea spoons of honey and one tea spoon of cinnamon every day.
– skin infections: Any kind of rash or skin infections can be removed if you coat it with mixture of cinnamon and honey (1:1).
– pimples: Make a paste out of three tea spoons of honey and one tea spoon of cinnamon. Smear it over the pimples before bed time and rinse it with warm water in the morning. If you do this every day for two weeks, you will remove all pimples from the root.
– bladder infections: Mix two tea spoons of cinnamon and one tea spoon of honey in a glass of warm water. It destroys the bacteria in the bladder.
– cholesterol: Potion made from two tea spoons of honey, three tea spoons of cinnamon and 0,5 l of water is very useful for people who suffer from cholesterol. Research has shown that this kind of potion reduces the cholesterol level for 10% in an hour.
But I prefer the mixture of cinnamon and ginger for that kind of problems (cholesterol, diabetes, cellulite etc.). It is made like this: 1 tea spoon of Ceylon cinnamon powder, 1 tea spoon of ginger powder, lemon juice (1 lemon), 3 dcl of water, 1 tea spoon of honey (or quarter of tea spoon of stevia), all mixed together in a jar. Keep it in the fridge. Before every meal eat 2-3 tea spoons of this mixture and it will totally set your metabolism in motion. Ginger will give your circulation a boost while the cinnamon wipes off the sugar and fat deposits on your vessel walls. This is also a great combination for weight loss and reducing cellulite, which is awesome because when the bikini season comes we all want to look great.
Cinnamon has impressive features in terms of improved glycemic control. The latest meta-analysis from 2013 have shown that the use of cinnamon before breakfast has a beneficial effect on glycemic control and the glucose level in plasma.