Spices are ingredients that are almost never lacking in our kitchen . But, many times we limit its use to a few recipes, which is not the best, since in reality they have many more uses than we think.
When we think of a spice, the first thing that comes to mind is surely an ingredient with a great taste and smell , and that is why we use them to give a unique touch to our preparations, but spices also have beneficial properties for the body human.
In this case, we will tell you about cinnamon and everything you need to know about it. Keep reading and you will have all the information.
What is cinnamon?
Cinnamon is a spice, perhaps one of the most common and known, this because it has been used by many cultures for thousands of years . In ancient China this spice was related to wisdom and there are records that it was used as early as 2500 BC; For their part, the Arabs also made use of this spice, in this case it was used to flavor and preserve meats.
So well, today, cinnamon is already fully commercialized in all parts of the world and we can get it in powder, branches and even in oil. And its most common use is to give a touch of flavor to foods, both desserts and other recipes; But, here we will also talk about the uses of cinnamon beyond the culinary.
Read and discover more about this topic with Cinnamon Oil: Contraindications, Benefits and Properties
Origin of cinnamon
Cinnamon comes from a tree called Cinnamomum zeylanicum or Cinnamomum verum, the common name of this tree is “cinnamon”. This is a large tree, with long leaves, but the cinnamon is extracted from an inner bark, which is obtained by peeling the branches and / or the trunk.
When the cinnamon is extracted from the branches of the tree , they are left to dry without the bark, which causes them to curl up, thus forming small and fine rolls with a remarkable aroma. For its part, the flavor of these is sweet and with a touch of wood.
As for the historical origin of this tree , we have to go back to the III millennium before the common era, but its specific origin is still totally uncertain, since there are several proofs, which prove that the tree could be native to Sri Lanka, the West Indies or China.
History of cinnamon
Cinnamon has a fairly wide and varied history, since it is not certain where it was first used, but we have several records of various ancient societies that began to use it as if it were a precious metal.
In China, cinnamon has been used since 2500 BC and in this place this spice was treated as it was done with gold, since it was something very precious and limited for the use of the emperors.
For its part, in the Middle East cinnamon was used to make religious offerings, here the first bunch of cinnamon was offered to the sun and with the second a bonfire was lit to make the corresponding sacrifices to the gods.
In ancient Egypt, cinnamon was used to market it together with other aromatic plants . In this culture we can even get cinnamon as a notable element of its myths, legends and stories, where the aphrodisiac effect of this spice is already mentioned.
Finally, in the 16th century, cinnamon was totally exploited by the Portuguese and later it was the Dutch who would obtain all the power in the marketing of this spice, which spread throughout Europe.
When cinnamon began to be used throughout Europe, it was used both in the kitchen , as well as cosmetics, balms, cough remedies, indigestion treatments and also perfumes.
Characteristics of cinnamon
The cinnamon tree, or cinnamon, is characterized by having long, dry branches in reddish, yellow or brown tones . The aroma that these branches give off is very pleasant and its flavor is characteristic of cinnamon: strong, sweet, a little bitter and with a touch of wood.
The best quality cinnamon is the one that is extracted from the youngest branches , after extracting it, it is left to dry and later it can be left on small branches for marketing or it is pulverized, thus turning it into powdered cinnamon.
In both presentations, powder or stick, cinnamon is used both in desserts and in other preparations, aroma therapies and home remedies.
Scientific name of cinnamon
Cinnamon is known under this name in all Spanish-speaking areas, although it can also be called cinamomo. For its part, in English it is known as cinnamon and its scientific name is Cinnamomun verum, which derives from the scientific name of the tree from which this spice is extracted.
Chemical composition of cinnamon
Cinnamon has a fairly varied composition, hence the different properties and benefits that this spice provides.
Mainly, cinnamon is made up of 0.5-2.5% by essential oil , which gives it its powerful aroma. For its part, what is most abundant in cinnamon is cinnamic aldehyde, eugenol and cinnamic alcohol, which are active chemical compounds within cinnamon.
Likewise, other compounds present in cinnamon , but in this case to a lesser extent, are: trans-cinnamic acid, cinnamic acetate, tannins, mucilage, carbohydrates, hydroxycinnamic aldehyde, among other more complex compounds.
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Active ingredients of cinnamon
The active principles of cinnamon are the substances that make it produce certain beneficial effects in the area where it is used. In the case of this spice, its active principles are found in the bark of the tree, therefore, this is what provides all the power and medicinal characteristics to the cinnamon that is extracted from this part of the tree.
In this way, the active principles of cinnamon are what allow it to treat or cure conditions such as rheumatism, arthritis, colds, respiratory conditions, bronchitis, cough, increases and improves circulation, prevents flatulence, prevents diabetes conditions and improves aesthetic aspects such as skin and hair.
Benefits and properties of cinnamon
One of the main properties of cinnamon, or at least the most obvious of all, is attributed to its smell , since it can provide a relaxing effect, which is why it is used in cleaning products, aromatherapy and personal care. .
Regarding the nutritional properties, we must say that cinnamon is rich in iron, calcium, fibers, vitamin C and B1 , as well as magnesium; so thanks to this it can cure or treat digestive problems such as diarrhea, bloating and flatulence. Also, cinnamon has decongestant and expectorant properties, so it can help clear the airways and prevent phlegm.
Cinnamon can also enhance the weight loss process , promote fat burning and thanks to its antioxidants, the deterioration process in cells can be delayed, so things like skin condition.
The amount of antioxidants in cinnamon also has an effect on cardiovascular health, as they prevent fat from depositing in the arteries and causing blockages. In this way, consuming at least one cup of cinnamon tea can help reduce bad cholesterol, as well as reduce glucose level, which is very good for those who are prone to diabetes or those who have type 2 diabetes.
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It is good for hair, how to use it?
Cinnamon, thanks to all the components that make it a really beneficial spice, can also enhance certain benefits in the hair, such as: stimulating its growth, strengthening it, adding shine, eliminating problems or hair diseases, preventing hair loss, clarifies and hydrates it.
Cinnamon is a product that many aesthetic treatments use , since it can be used individually, as well as with other spices, substances or products, as this can enhance the power of the treatment, its effect and improve results.
But well, it is not necessary to go to a beauty salon to ask for a cinnamon treatment for our hair, but we can use it at home, since it is very simple and we will only require ingredients that are easy to get.
If you have thick and / or dry hair, cinnamon can improve the appearance of your hair , hydrate it and prevent it from being brittle; But, on the contrary, if your hair is very fine and / or delicate you can strengthen it, prevent it from falling excessively, you will enhance its growth and if you have a medium or light brown hair tone, you can get it to lighten a little .
Cinnamon hair treatments can be used by any type of hair , no matter if it is dyed or natural, short or long, oily or dry, you will always get a good benefit as a result.
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To prevent hair from falling out excessively, you will need:
- A teaspoon of olive oil
- A teaspoon of honey
- A teaspoon of ground cinnamon
Mix all these ingredients and apply on your scalp , if you need more of the mixture, you should only double or triple the portions depending on how much is necessary. Apply by massaging and leave for 15 minutes, then rinse with plenty of water.
To lighten your hair, you will simply need cinnamon powder and a conditioner. Mix these two products and apply to your hair, put on a thermal cap and let it work overnight. The next morning, rinse and remove all the product from your hair.
For the hair to grow you need to prepare a treatment based on:
- Two cinnamon sticks
- Four cloves of garlic
To prepare this, fill a pot with water and add the garlic, the onion, chopped into small pieces and the cinnamon sticks. Cook until it boils and leave for 15 minutes. Then, remove from the heat and let the mixture cool.
Use this preparation to wash your hair, let it sit and then rinse with your usual shampoo. You should wash your hair with this infusion several times a week and after a month you will notice that your hair will grow noticeably. Continue the treatment until you are satisfied with the result.
Learn more about Best Tips for Healthy Hair Growth
What benefits does it bring for the skin and face?
Although, cinnamon is a spice that is widely used for the preparation of certain recipes and also home remedies, but in reality it also has certain properties that make its use for the skin extremely useful and remarkable.
Cinnamon can keep the skin looking young , smooth, toned, without wrinkles or fine lines, and free from acne. This, thanks to the fact that cinnamon has vitamins C and B, as well as a number of antioxidants that prevent the effect of free radicals and prevent cell aging.
As well, this spice is recommended to be used on the skin because it can treat the following problems:
- Marks or signs of aging
We can get cinnamon in different skin products, but it can also be used at home together with a treatment with other beneficial ingredients. If you want to make a cinnamon mask to improve your skin , you only need:
- Cinnamon powder
- Olive oil
Mix both ingredients until you see that they are well integrated , after this you can apply it on the face, try to avoid the part of the dark circles, perform a gentle massage, leave it on for a few minutes and then rinse your face. Repeat the treatment a couple of times a week and you will get healthy, wrinkle-free skin.
You can also try mixing cinnamon with honey to prepare a natural scrub for your skin. This can be used once a week and you can remove dead cells and make your skin look full of shine and smoother than ever.
For more information, see our articles on Best Body Scrubs: Tips and Home Remedies
Serves to thin the cinnamon
Cinnamon can really be a great ally if you are in the process of reducing sizes and losing weight. This, which can sometimes be considered a myth or misleading information, actually has an effect on the body.
Although, we are not talking about how cinnamon can make you lose all the weight you need overnight , or that just with the use of cinnamon you will burn your body fat. But it is a good supplement to stimulate weight loss and thus make the process easier and faster.
Nutritionists recommend treatments or consumption of cinnamon because it can produce the following effects in the body:
- Helps burn fat . This thanks to the fact that cinnamon has an accelerating effect on the metabolism, so the process of burning fat is enhanced and thus it is easier to eliminate it.
- Decrease fat cells . Cinnamon reduces or regulates the amount of fat cells, that is, it keeps glucose at a good level, which reduces the production and / or storage of fat.
- Prevents type 2 diabetes . Because it helps keep the blood glucose level regulated.
- Reduces the level of bad cholesterol . In this way we avoid cardiovascular health problems.
To lose weight by consuming cinnamon effectively , the best option is to opt for cinnamon tea . This can be easily prepared using half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon or two cinnamon sticks, a teaspoon of honey or another sweetener, and a cup of water.
First, bring the water to a boil, add the cinnamon, cook for a few minutes and then remove from the heat and let the infusion rest. Then strain the mixture and add the honey. You should drink a cup of this tea in the morning while fasting and another before going to sleep. Follow the treatment for a continuous month.
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Pregnancy and cinnamon, the effects it causes
Pregnant women must be very careful with the substances they consume , since these can cause extremely serious damage in terms of the gestation of the baby.
In the case of cinnamon, it can help reduce stomach upset, nausea, indigestion, gas, and bloating. However, its consumption is not recommended in women in the first trimester of pregnancy, nor its consumption in excessive amounts, since cinnamon can cause contractions in the iter, which can lead to miscarriages or premature births.
Also, cinnamon in very large doses can affect the central nervous system . That is why the recommended dose for the consumption of this spice is only 1 to 4 grams of cinnamon powder. For its part, cinnamon oil is totally prohibited for pregnant women because it has a higher concentration of cinnamon.
Similarly, the sensible thing to do is ask your doctor whether or not you can consume cinnamon or cinnamon tea while you are pregnant.
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During breastfeeding, what causes?
Regarding breastfeeding, it must be borne in mind that nutrition greatly influences the quality and quantity of the milk produced by the woman, therefore we must be very aware of the effects that we are causing to our breastfeeding, because we could cause harm or unfavorable effect to the baby.
With regard to cinnamon, many postpartum women tend to opt for a cinnamon tea treatment that helps cleanse their body, as well as helps them lose weight.
This is totally valid, since it is a necessary good and does not influence breastfeeding , in fact, it can be increased in quantity, and with respect to its effect on the baby, there is no harm or detrimental effect on the feeding of this .
Is cinnamon good for babies and children?
Cinnamon is a spice with a very strong flavor , so its consumption is not recommended in children or babies, since it could cause irritation in the digestive system and respiratory problems depending on the amount that is ingested. If the dose is small, like that contained in a dessert, there is no problem, but when we talk about cinnamon treatments, these cannot be applied in children, much less in babies, since their organism is more delicate than that of an adult .
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Cinnamon is considered an aphrodisiac, why?
Aphrodisiacs are those foods, substances or aromas that help enhance sexual desire in both men and women.
In the case of cinnamon, this is considered an aphrodisiac due to the effect that its fragrance produces, as well as other effects that help increase sexual desire in the body of the person.
The investigations that have been carried out around this aspect of cinnamon have proven that the aphrodisiac power that this spice has is thanks to several very specific factors which are:
- Increase testosterone
- Increase blood flow
- Benefits the mood
- Prevents erectile dysfunction
Likewise, the aroma also awakens the libido in men and women, so all these factors together make cinnamon completely an aphrodisiac.
Cinnamon for diabetes, is it good? why?
Cinnamon is a good food or product for people with type two diabetes , as well as to prevent its onset or development. This is because this spice acts in the body by regulating and reducing the level of sugar in the blood, as well as keeping the level of bad cholesterol under control.
In this way, people with type two diabetes can improve their blood sugar level , thus avoiding serious damage to the body. For their part, those who are prone to this disease, can prevent its appearance or development.
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Cosmetic uses of cinnamon
Cinnamon contains essential oils, as well as vitamins, fibers, and minerals, making this an excellent skin care product . In addition to this, cinnamon has antioxidant, antibacterial and inflammatory properties, which is why it works to treat acne problems, irritations and skin rashes.
Cinnamon can be used in powder, in oil or even together with another product to take advantage of its potential, in any way, we will be providing an improvement to our skin.
To treat acne
Due to its antibacterial properties , cinnamon can help eliminate and prevent acne breakouts . To use this potential in a homemade way we must mix three teaspoons of honey, one of cinnamon and one of nutmeg (both in powder), when you have a homogeneous mixture, use this to apply it on the affected area. Let the mask work for 20 minutes and then rinse with warm water. Use a moisturizer at the end of the treatment and repeat this procedure once a week.
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To paint the hair
One of the properties that cinnamon has when we use it on our hair is that it can gradually lighten it , that is, if we use it constantly. Of course, these natural effects on the hair are more noticeable when it comes to light, blonde or brown hair, since the effect will not be much noticeable on black or dark brown hair.
So well, clarifying this point, if you want to use cinnamon to change your hair tone to a lighter one, you only need the following :
- Ground cinnamon
Add cinnamon and honey to the container of the conditioner, you must use at least three tablespoons of each ingredient. Mix all the contents with the help of a spoon or by shaking the container.
Later wash your hair and apply the conditioner , distribute it throughout the hair from the roots to the ends. Next, take a hot towel and wrap your hair, let it sit for a couple of hours and then rinse your hair. The longer you let the mixture sit on your hair, the better the result will be.
Perform this treatment as many times as necessary until you get the result you want.
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Medicinal uses of cinnamon
Cinnamon has different medicinal uses , since it contains very beneficial properties for the different systems of the human body.
In the digestive system, cinnamon can act as an antiflatulent, digestive, acidity reducer, prevents nausea and improves appetite. This thanks to its carminative properties. To take advantage of this effect, you can have a cinnamon tea in the morning.
As for the respiratory system, cinnamon can serve as an expectorant, which is why it is used as a treatment for bronchitis, coughs and colds.
To improve blood circulation, cinnamon has an anticoagulant and anti-sclerotic effect, which increases circulation and prevents arterial blockage problems.
Finally, to improve the reproductive system or related to this, cinnamon serves to reduce menstrual pain, regulates the period and also acts as an aphrodisiac in men and women.
Culinary uses of cinnamon
Cinnamon, known as a spice, is obviously more widely used in the culinary field. This is used both for savory dishes, as well as to prepare desserts and other types of products.
When cinnamon is in the branch , it is used mainly as a flavoring both in infusions and in different drinks and preparations. For its part, cinnamon powder is widely used for the preparation of desserts, breads and other dishes that are based on flours, such as: cakes, cookies, cinnamon rolls, rice pudding, among others.
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Cinnamon against cancer, is it good?
Currently there are several studies that have focused on looking for the effect of cinnamon in organisms with cancer. Thanks to this, it has been found that cinnamon influences the growth and development of cancer cells, as well as the formation of tumors.
Studies have revealed that cinnamon works as an activator of detoxifying enzymes found in the colon, thereby increasing the body’s protection against cancer cells.
Aromatherapy and cinnamon
Cinnamon has one of the most used aromas in aromatherapy. This spice has a woody smell, but stronger, sweeter and more intense. This aroma is capable of causing a beneficial effect on the human body, since it stimulates certain factors and helps the person relax and release accumulated stress and tension.
Regarding this we recommend you read Aromatherapy: The Power of Essential Oils
Cinnamon how is its essential oil extracted?
You can find cinnamon essential oil directly from a cosmetic store or health food store. But , we can also get a way to prepare our own cinnamon oil, we can achieve this in the following way:
- Cinnamon sticks
- Olive oil
- A glass jar with a lid
Take the bottle and introduce three or four cinnamon sticks, you can add more if you want the aroma of the oil to be stronger. Then fill the jar with olive oil until the cinnamon sticks are covered. Close the jar very well and let it sit in a cool, dry place for 20 days.
Daily you should shake the bottle so that the components released by the cinnamon sticks are well integrated. When the indicated time has elapsed, your oil will be ready to use, you just have to strain the oil or simply extract the branches and that’s it.
It is recommended to use a dark jar so that the light does not affect the cinnamon compounds, but if you do not have it, you can cover one or simply always keep it in a dark place.
Cinnamon, does it have an expiration date?
Cinnamon, like all spices, does not have an expiration date , as it does not rot or damage. However, over time its properties can diminish, as well as its flavor and aroma, so it is recommended that cinnamon not be used after two years of antiquity. There are those who are more strict with this measure and assure that after six months the cinnamon is no longer useful, since it is the time in which it is taken to alter its color, taste and smell.
So, in the end, it will depend on the perception of each person regarding the state of the cinnamon, because if you believe that it is still in good condition and with a smell equal to the initial one, there will be no problem in using it, because as we already mentioned , it cannot expire, so it will not cause any harm to your body.
Side effects of cinnamon
Cinnamon when consumed in excessive amounts can cause side effects , as well as it can affect or react unfavorably when ingested with certain health conditions, such as:
- Those who suffer from kidney problems can develop serious kidney problems if they consume cinnamon excessively.
- If a person ingests blood thinners , they may suffer a hemorrhage due to the blood-thinning power of cinnamon.
- You may experience allergic reactions such as swelling, inflammation, skin irritation, itching, and rashes.
- Those who have mouth ulcers may feel burning and pain from contact with cinnamon.
- Too much cinnamon can cause heart problems such as arrhythmias and tachycardia, as well as breathing problems.
- If consumed without measure, cinnamon can cause dermatitis, gingivitis and rashes in the mouth.
- Another side effect is excessive sweating and drowsiness.
- Likewise, stomach pains , irritation in the digestive system and intestinal problems, are the effects of excessive consumption of cinnamon.
Cinnamon Safety Data Sheet
One of the most common warnings about the consumption of cinnamon is undoubtedly the damage it can do to the liver, since just a small amount of cinnamon can be very harmful in people with sensitivity in this organ.
Consuming cinnamon can increase the amount of enzymes in the liver , this to a minimal level of damage, but when consumed excessively, the liver can become inflamed and jaundice develop.
These liver problems can be remedied by reducing or eliminating the consumption of cinnamon from the person’s daily diet.
Likewise, the warnings are also made for people who take medications for diabetes, or for heart health, since these medications thin the blood, and in conjunction with the anticoagulant properties of cinnamon, bleeding can develop.
Nutritional information for cinnamon
Cinnamon is a spice rich in many nutrients , we must start by mentioning that it is rich in fiber, for every 100gr of cinnamon, we can get 54 grams of fiber. For its part, in terms of calcium, cinnamon for every 100 gr counts as 1228 mg of calcium.
Also, cinnamon is rich in iron , and contains 38 mg of this mineral per 100 gr, which makes it one of the spices with the most iron. Among the other nutritional components that we can get in cinnamon are:
- 500 mg of potassium.
- 9 mg of zinc.
- 5 grams of carbohydrates.
- 8 gr of protein.
- Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D, E and K.
- 1 g of fat.
- 1 gr of sugar.
Kathie Sand always saw the world of beauty as the terrain on which to build her professional career, a goal that was clear to her when she was only 15 years old. Her great concern to expand knowledge led her to settle in Paris where she studied hand in hand with the best beauty professionals and with the most advanced techniques for skin care.