Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
| Cinnamomum verum, called true cinnamon tree or Ceylon cinnamon tree is a small evergreen tree belonging to the family Lauraceae, native to Sri Lanka. Among other species, its inner bark is used to make cinnamon. The old botanical synonym for the tree—Cinnamomum zeylanicum—is derived from Sri Lanka's former name, Ceylon. Sri Lanka still produces 80–90% of the world's supply of Cinnamomum verum, which is also cultivated on a commercial scale in the Seychelles and Madagascar. Cinnamomum verum trees are 10–15 metres (30–50 feet) tall. The leaves are ovate-oblong in shape and 7–18 cm (3–7 inches) long. The flowers, which are arranged in panicles, have a greenish color and a distinct odor. The fruit is a purple 1-cm drupe containing a single seed.|
Cinnamon has a long list of medicianal and beauty benefits, but the most prounounced ones are as follows: antiparasitic, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet and antiviral properties, which makes it extremely useful for enhancing immunity. The major active ingredients in cinnamon essential oil responsible for its beneficial effects include: eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, phellandrene and methyleugenol. The main beneficial component of cinnamon oil is believed to be cinnamaldehyde, which comprises about 60 percent of the substance.
The herb, owing to its vast medicinal uses, had found a prominent position in traditional medicines, especially Ayurveda (the traditional Indian medicinal system). The health and skin benefits of cinnamon can be attributed to its antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, astringent and anti-clotting properties. Cinnamon is rich in essential minerals such as manganese, iron and calcium. It is also rich in fiber.
Some of the health benefits of cinnamon include the following:
Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and hence acts as a good brain tonic. It helps in removing nervous tension and memory loss. Research at the Wheeling Jesuit University in the US has proved that the scent of cinnamon has the ability to boost brain activity. The team of researchers led by Dr. P. Zoladz found that people who were administered cinnamon improved their scores on cognitive activities such as attentional processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed.
Cinnamon helps in removing blood impurities. Therefore it is often recommended for pimples.
Cinnamon aids in the circulation of blood, which helps significantly in removing pain. Good blood circulation also ensures oxygen supply to the body cells leading to higher metabolic activity.
Due to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties, it is effective on external as well as internal infections. It helps in destroying germs in the gall bladder and bacteria in staph infections.
Cinnamon is anti-inflammatory. It helps in removing the stiffness of muscles. It relieves pain and stiffness of muscle and joints. Cinnamon is also recommended for arthritis. It also helps in removing headache that is caused by cold.
Cinnamon is used in chewing gums as it is a good mouth freshener and removes bad breath.
Cinnamon has a refreshing aroma and is extensively used in making perfumes.
Cinnamon is added in many ethnic recipes. Apart from adding flavor to the food, it also aids in digestion. Cinnamon is very effective for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and flatulence. Due to its carminative properties, it is very helpful in removing gas from the stomach and intestines. It also removes acidity, diarrhea and morning sickness. It is therefore often referred to as a digestive tonic.
Cinnamon helps in cold, flu, influenza, sore throat and congestion.
Cinnamon is effective in providing relief from menstrual discomfort and cramping.
It is also believed that cinnamon aids in the secretion of breast milk.
Cinnamon is diuretic in nature and helps in secretion and discharge of urine.
It is also aphrodisiac and is believed to arouse sexual desire.
Cinnamon essential oil contains special compounds not found in the dried spice.
There are two primary types of cinnamon oils available on the market: cinnamon bark oil and cinnamon leaf oil. While they have some similarities, they’re different products with somewhat separate uses. Cinnamon bark oil is extracted from the outer bark of the cinnamon tree. It’s considered very potent and has a strong, “perfume-like” smell, almost like taking an intense whiff of ground cinnamon.
Cinnamon leaf oil has a “musky and spicy” smell and tends to have a lighter color. While cinnamon leaf oil might appear yellow and murky, cinnamon bark oil has a deeper red-brown color that most people usually associate with cinnamon spice. Both have special benefits.
Some of the medicinal benefits of Cinnamon oil include:
Fights free radicals
Stimulates the immune system
Cinnamon oil can help prevent mucus buildup and clear nasal passages. Try drinking a combination of hot lemon water, honey and cinnamon oil first thing in the morning to curb cravings, give you a pick-me-up and raise immune function.
These ingredients also work together to fight inflammation and reduce pain, making them a perfect sore throat remedy or cure for mouth sores, toothaches or a cold. headache pain can be reduced by diffusing cinnamon essential oil in your home or inhaling it, making it an easy-to-use headache remedy.
In addition to this, it can also help remedy various skin related diseases and infections. Thus, cinnamon can be used in multifarious various to improve your skin.
Cinnamon is said to improve fine lines by plumping the skin.
This means that using cinnamon can stimulate blood vessels and bring blood to the surface of the skin. Use a mixture of 3 drops essential oil of cinnamon and 2 tbsp olive oil or petroleum jelly. Apply this mixture to fine lines on the skin, taking care to avoid the eyes.
The skin soon plumps out and fine lines become less visible. This can even be done to plump up lips and can be used as an alternate to lip gloss.
Cinnamon can also be used to nourish the scalp. Make a paste using 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp warm olive oil and 1 tbsp honey. Massage this into the scalp and leave on for 15 minutes.
Wash off after this using a normal shampoo. Cinnamon acts as an exfoliating agent to stimulate the scalp and provide nourishment to hair follicles.
Cinnamon is said to help with treatment of acne and pimples. Mix 1 tbsp cinnamon powder and 3 tbsp honey and apply this on pimples. Leave this paste for 20 minutes before washing with warm water. It will help acne dry out and skin could get rejuvenated. This paste can also declog pores and bring oxygen and blood to the surface. However, this must not be used more than once a week since it could cause skin irritation.
Some people have found that using 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp honey on these patches could provide relief for eczema.
A large number of studies have determined the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of cinnamon.
A study reported the anti-fungal effects of o-methoxycinnamaldehyde from cinnamon. It was reported that this compound inhibited the growth and toxin production by the mycotoxin producing fungii.
It completely inhibited the growth of Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus at 100 microgram/ml and Aspergillus ochraceus and Aspergillus versicolor at 200 microgram/ml.
A comparative analysis of the bacteriostatic and bactericidal activity of 13 essential oils showed that the True Cinnamon bark oil had the highest anti-microbial activity.
It was particularly effective against resistant strains. The study was exhaustive and analysed the effect of the oils against 55 different bacterial strains. Thus, cinnamon can effectively be used to eliminate various bacterial strains.
Another study has shown that Cinnamon essential oils can help combat the infectious agents which are resistant to the traditional antibiotics, e.g. Staphylococcus aureus. In this study, it was found that Cinnamon oils are much more effective as compared to olive and paraffin oils in fighting Multi-Drug Resistant S. aureus. Thus, cinnamon oils can be used to fight Staphylococcus infections.
Cinnamo works wonders as anti-aging treatment.
Cinnamon used on the skin seems to increase collagen levels for up to six hours after it is applied. Breakdown of collagen causes the skin to lose elasticity and increases signs of ageing.
When cinnamon extracts were used as an inducer for skin fibroblast cells, there was an increase in the levels of collagen protein, without any cytotoxic effects.
Thus, cinnamon can act as a safe agent to promote collagen biosynthesis. By carrying out experiments like liquid chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance, it was determined that the active agent responsible for this up-regulation of collagen is cinnamaldehyde.
The intracellular pathway for the synthesis of collagen involves a receptor known as the Insulin-like Growth factor-I (IGF-I). It was observed that upon cinnamon extract treatment, there was an increased level of phosphorylation of this receptor.
This indicates that when cinnamon treatment was given, the biosynthetic pathway of collagen synthesis was activated to greater extent. An enhanced expression level of the various proteins involved downstream of the receptor was also observed due to the cinnamon treatment.Thus, cinnamon can be used as an anti-ageing agent.
In a nutshell — Cinnamon seems to increase collage expression on the skin through cinnamaldehyde, its main chemical component. This is able to activate growth factors IGF-1 and improve collagen expression. Topically cinnamon creams could be used.
Cinnamon extracts and powder act as very good exfoliants an can be used to remove dead skin cells. This helps to restore the shine and suppleness of skin. Cinnamon can be used in combination with sea salt, almond oil, honey and olive oil.
To soften rough skin, we can take advantage of the anti-oxidant properties of cinnamon. In a study carried out in 1998, the anti-oxidant properties of Cinnamon extracts were evaluated. It was observed that Cinnamon extracts have highly potent anti-oxidant properties.
To treat roughened feet, a foot bath consisting of lemon juice, olive oil, whole milk, water and ground Cinnamon can be prepared. A treatment for 15 mins can effectively soften skin and make the feet smooth.
Another major benefit of using Cinnamon is that it helps to enhance skin complexion. This is due to the antibacterial and anti-fungal properties of cinnamon. But I have to add, this is not scientifically established.
For this, a face mask consisting a banana puree, yoghurt, ground Cinnamon and lemon juice can be prepared and applied to the skin. It should be left until it has dried and then it can be washed with warm water. This helps to improve skin quality and as well as complexion.
Cinnamon is a highly beneficial spice which can be used to ensure various benefits for the skin. It helps to prevent and fight skin infections, eczema and also improves the quality, texture and complexion of skin. Thus, cinnamon powder can act as a very simple solution for various skin related problems.
Cinnamon oil does have applications in aromatherapy.
Other benefits of cinnamon oil include the following:
Many people add cinnamon oil while cooking. Cinnamon oil obtained from the leaves contains a compound named cinnamaldehyde, which is an excellent flavoring agent.
The pleasant aroma of cinnamon oil makes it a very effective as a room freshener. It is often added in potpourris.
Cinnamon oil is a good mosquito repellent. Research has now proved that cinnamon oil is very effective in killing mosquito larvae. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (a renowned scientific journal) has reported the research conducted at the National Taiwan University. Apart from the leaves of cinnamon, its bark is also a good source of cinnamaldehyde, which is an active mosquito killing agent. This research has paved the way for finding an environmentally solution for solving the global menace problem.
Many companies producing cinnamon oil claim that it is a good antibacterial and antifungal agent making it very effective on infections. For treating skin conditions such as rashes, acne and infections, you can mix cinnamon essential oil with a carrier oil (like coconut oil) and apply it to the skin to take advantage of its antimicrobial capacity. Studies have found that cinnamon oil inhibits growth of certain harmful parasites, making with an excellent parasite treatment.
Along with other oils like thyme, oregano oil and cumin, cinnamon essential oil is considered one of the best oils for stopping mycelial parasite growth even when used in very small quantities.
It also helps in blood circulation and acts as a sexual stimulant. Research also shows that cinnamon oil obtained from the leaves and twigs of cinnamon can be used for controlling mites in honey bees.
Cinnamon enhances the effectiveness of other herbs and essential oils and thus speeds up treatment of herbal remedies. Further many herbs have an unpleasant taste. Cinnamon or cinnamon oil is added to herbal preparations to make them taste better.
Cinnamon oil improves blood circulation.
Cinnamon oil is added to massage oil and is excellent for deep tissue massage, the nutrients in the skin increases and this improves the tone of the skin. Cinnamon oil made from the leaves proved to be milder on the skin than oil made using cinnamon bark.
Cinnamon oil is said to be helpful with male potency, low libido, and erectile dysfunction.
The oil blends well with other essential oils such as lemon, rosemary, geranium, lavender, cardamom.
Disclaimer: The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. These statements have not been evaluated by the FDA and are not intended to diagnose, cure, treat or prevent disease. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplements, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.