Cinnamon: History and Health Benefits

| 1/31/2011 10:43:09 AM

K.PriebeThe fragrance, taste and texture of cinnamon make it a popular spice during the winter months. Cinnamon not only tastes good while cooking but it has an array of health benefits. Cinnamon’s health benefits originate from three active components that are found in its bark: cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl alcohol.

Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known. It was referenced to in the Bible and was used in ancient Egypt as a beverage flavor, medicine and embalming agent. Cinnamon in ancient Egypt was considered an important cultural spice. Cinnamon is native to modern day Sri Lanka and was once so highly-prized it was used as a currency.

2-1-2011-cinnamon sticks
Photo by FotoosVanRobin/Courtesy Flickr  

Cinnamon has anti-clotting and anti-microbial actions, controls blood sugar levels and brain function. In fact, smell alone can improve recognition memory, working memory and visual-motor speed.

Studies have shown that 1/2 tablespoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol. If too much LDL cholesterol circulates in the blood it can build up in the arteries that feed the heart and brain. If a clot forms a heart attack or stroke can occur.

*Statements herein have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and are not intended to treat or diagnose any disease or health condition. It is also recommended that patients check with their doctors before taking herbs, to ensure that there are no contraindications with prescription medications.  

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