The History & Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Today the smell of cinnamon evokes a warm feeling of home, family, and the holidays.  As well as its obvious culinary value, cinnamon also has many health benefits that have been recorded since ancient times. Cinnamon originates from a tree native to South Asia and parts of the Middle East. Unlike most spices which are derived from the seeds of a plant, cinnamon sticks or quills that we see in our grocery stores are actually the inner bark from a cinnamon tree that has been rolled and dried.

Cinnamon in History

Having been documented for thousands of years in ancient writings, cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known.  The Chinese hailed the healing properties of cinnamon in one of the earliest recorded writings on botanical medicine, and cinnamon is still used today in traditional Chinese medicine. The versatility of this sweet spice is evident by its use as anointing oil in the Bible as well as an embalming ingredient in ancient Egyptian culture.  As with many other spices, cinnamon was very expensive in ancient civilizations and, as history reports, was oftentimes even more valuable than gold.

Cinnamon Health Benefits & Usage

The health benefits associated with cinnamon are derived from the essential oils found in its bark.  These essential oils purportedly are beneficial for many common health ailments.  Long used for cold and flu symptoms, cinnamon sticks can be boiled which releases the cinnamon’s healing essential oils.  The cinnamon infused water can then be consumed in herbal tea.  This is said to calm coughing, relieve congestion and a sore throat as well as treating a fever associated with a cold or flu.

As an aid for digestive discomforts cinnamon has been shown to be effective in treating everything from flatulence and indigestion to diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Cinnamon has been known to be used as a natural home remedy for other more serious disorders such as arthritis, and migraine headaches.  In modern day laboratories, cinnamon is being researched for its positive effects on lowering triglycerides and cholesterol levels and for its promising ability to control blood sugar and regulate insulin in patients with Type 2 Diabetes.

With a long history as a culinary favorite, cinnamon’s warm and aromatic nature may also have many health benefits.  Through ongoing research, cinnamon is being studied for its favorable effects on a number of maladies and, so far, cinnamon has yielded some very promising results as a tried and true home remedy.

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