What is Cinnamon?
Cinnamon (Cinnamomun zeylanicum) is a spice obtained from the inner bark of the tree of genus Cinnamomum, which is in use for both sweet and savory foods. Cinnamon trees are native to South-East Asia.
Traditionally used for blood sugar & cholesterol control and relieve digestive problems or improve appetite. Other names of cinnamon are Cassia, Cassia Cinnamon, Chinese Cinnamon, Rou Gui (Mandarin).
Cinnamon lower blood-sugar level
Cinnamon contains biologically active substances that have demonstrated insulin-mimetic properties. Cinnamon improves insulin mediated glucose metabolism, enhances insulin signaling in skeletal muscle and helps glucose to glycogen conversion. Thus, cinnamon is considering as an anti-diabetic herb.
Cinnamon lower heart diseases and strokes risks
Cinnamon lowers blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure levels. Cinnamon lowers LDL cholesterol responsible for the plaque formation. Additionally, cinnamon has antioxidant property, which helps prevent the LDL cholesterol oxidation, thus prevent inflammation of arteries and further plaque formation.
Medicinal uses of cinnamon
Cinnamon is now the subject of numerous studies for its ability to support proper glucose metabolism. Its natural compounds help maintain both healthy blood sugar and cholesterol levels. It remains a warming circulatory tonic, as well as a digestive aid to soothe upset stomach, gas, bloating and occasional indigestion.
Studies show cinnamon is useful:
- It is suitable for obesity-related diabetes as well as to control hyperlipidemia.
- To alleviate indigestion, stomach cramps, intestinal spasms, nausea, flatulence, and it improves the appetite, and treat diarrhea.
- Stop yeast infections, anti-clotting effect on the blood, boosts cognitive function & memory, prevents nervous tension, helps to treat headache, asthma, excessive menstruation, uterus disorders and gonorrhea.
- It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.
- Reduce leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
The daily dose of cinnamon you need for diabetes control may vary depending on your age, weight and health status. Only your doctor can recommend the appropriate dosage for you, consult your doctor before you begin taking cinnamon supplements to control blood-sugar level.
The dosage of ground cinnamon bark is 2 to 6 g daily and cinnamon oil dosage is 0.05 to 0.2 g daily. Your doctor may adjust your dosage of cinnamon to meet your blood-sugar regulation needs.
Over-the-counter cinnamon supplements are available in various forms; they are powder, oil and tincture. Cinnamon volatile oil is much more concentrated compared to other forms, and it may cause temporary oral or skin irritation or burning.
How do you take cinnamon?
The sweet tasty spice cinnamon can be added about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon to foods and beverages such as coffee, tea and breakfast cereal. It increases the tastes of apple and pumpkin dishes, including puddings and applesauce.
Break cinnamon stick into pieces, boil it with water, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. Dilute it if needed with hot water and enhance the taste with natural sweetener (Stevia). Otherwise, add cinnamon stick in any tea while it steeps to add flavor and health benefits.
Bioactive constituents of cinnamon
Terpenoids found in the volatile oil of cinnamon are eugenol and cinnamaldehyde, which are having various medicinal effects. Cinnamaldehyde possesses potential anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, anti-allergic, anti-hyperglycemic, and anti-hyperlipidemic properties.
Possible side effects of cinnamon
Widely used food spice, grounded cinnamon bark has considered safe. However, cinnamon's essential oil is much more concentrated than the powdered cinnamon. High doses of cinnamon oil might depress the central nervous system. It is advisable that pregnant women should avoid taking cinnamon oil or excess doses of the bark.
Diabetics may experience low blood sugar (hypoglycemia), so you should be vigilant on your blood-glucose level. It may harm your liver, if you already have a liver problem and taking large quantities.
Cinnamon scientific evidence in diabetes control
A clinical study titled “Cinnamon Improves Glucose and Lipids of People With Type 2 diabetes” by Alam Khan, MS, PHD, Mahpara Safdar, MS, Mohammad Muzaffar Ali Khan, MS, PHD, Khan Nawaz Khattak, MS and Richard A. Anderson, PHD is published in Diabetes Care December 2003 vol. 26 no. 12 3215-3218. The study result shows after 40 days, all three levels of cinnamon reduced the mean fasting serum glucose (18–29%), triglyceride (23–30%), LDL cholesterol (7–27%), and total cholesterol (12–26%) levels. Changes in HDL cholesterol were not significant.
A clinical study titled “Effects of a water-soluble cinnamon extract on body composition and features of the metabolic syndrome in pre-diabetic men and women” by Ziegenfuss TN, Hofheins JE, Mendel RW, Landis J, Anderson RA at Ohio Research Group, Wadsworth Medical Center, Wadsworth, OH published in J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2006 Dec 28; 3:45-53. This study result show, the efficacy of cinnamon extract supplementation on reducing fasting-blood-glucose and systolic-blood-pressure, and improving body composition with the metabolic syndrome and suggest that this spice can reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.