Once considered more valuable than gold, cinnamon is again gaining status as more than a common spice in found in baked goods. Researchers are discovering many remarkable medicinal properties of cinnamon.
Cinnamon has antioxidant components, that like the antioxidants in colorful vegetables, red wine, and green tea, help control the free radicals that contribute to the breakdown of healthy cells.
Japanese researchers have identified a number of antibacterial properties in cinnamon—probably one of the reasons cinnamon was a component of the embalming fluids used by the ancient Egyptians.
Another promising study of cinnamon was reported in the December 2003 edition of Diabetes Care Journal. The article explains that Type-II diabetics are up to four times more likely to have heart disease than the general public. Researchers were looking for components that could improve blood sugar levels as well as lower blood fats or lipids. They found cinnamon to have this double effect. The study showed that 1 gram (about a quarter teaspoon) of cinnamon per day lowered glucose levels by 18 to 29 percent, triglycerides levels by 18 percent, and cholesterol levels by 12 percent.
In a study conducted by the USDA’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland, and reported in the 2000 Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, 49 herbs, spices and medicinal plants were evaluated for glucose lowering components. Cinnamon was found to be the most effective, followed by witch hazel, green and black tea, and all spice.
Cinnamon adds rich flavor to many foods and baked goods, but now scientists are discovering that cinnamon may also improve our health.