Health benefits of cinnamon
Cinnamon, the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree, botanically known as Cinnamomum zeylanicum, is derived from Sri Lanka´s former name, Ceylon. Cinnamon is distributed in India, Egypt, China, Srilanka and Australia  where it has been used extensively as spices in food or to produce essential oils [9,10].
Cinnamon has two main types, Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume) and Chinese Cassia (Cinnamomum aromaticum Ness) which when dried, rolls into a tubular form known as a Cinnamon quill. Cinnamon is available in either its whole quill form (cinnamon sticks) or as ground powder . Image left: See credits under reference .
Common name: Cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon, Common cinnamon, Sri Lanka cinnamon, cinnamon quills
Cinnamomum zeylanicum blume is an important spice and aromatic crop having wide applications in flavoring, perfumery, beverages, and medicines .
Cinnamon is such a dietary component that has shown to have biologically active substances with insulin-mimetic properties.
In vitro [5,6] and in vivo [7,8] studies have shown that Cinnamon enhances glucose uptake by activating the insulin receptor kinase activity, autophosphorylation of the insulin receptor, and glycogen synthase activity. The tea made with cinnamon and honey is used in the so-called hibernation diet.
Honey ingested before breakfast and just before sleep time, speeds up fat burning and increases stamina levels, as the Edinburgh pharmacist and sports nutritionist that developed it claims. This action seems to be exponentially accelerated by the fat burning properties exerted by cinnamon.
CURIOSITY: The name cinnamon comes through the Greek kinnámōmon from Phoenician  which derived with the past of the time in the current name cinnamon.
CINNAMON BARK HAS ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES
Cinnamon bark is one of the most popular herbal ingredients in traditional oriental medicine and possesses diverse pharmacological activities including antibacterial, anti-viral, and anti-cancer properties .
In combination with other substances, namely honey, it has traditionally been used as a dietary complement to help loose weight. In studies done on mice, Cinnamon water extract administered orally for six weeks significantly decreased lipopolysaccharide (LPS)-induced tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-alpha, exerting also a remarked anti-inflammatory action, possibly due to the present of polyphenols . Image right: 陰香 (Cinnamomum burmanni (Nees) Blume) by Shih-Shiuan Kao under Creative Common license (CC BY-SA 2.0).
CINNAMON BARK ANTI-CANCER and ANTI-DIABETIC PROPERTIES
Several active constituents can be found in cinnamon, such as:
- Essential oils: cinnamic aldehyde and cinnamyl aldehyde
- mucus and
They have various biological functions including antioxidant, anti-microbial, anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic effects [4,7-12], and anti-tumor activity [4,11,13].
ANTIOXIDANT AND ANTI-MICROBIAL PROPERTIES OF CINNAMON
The antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial potentials of volatile oils and oleoresin of Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume (leaf and bark), have been some of the properties that several studies have proven to be present in cinnamon.
More concretely, the anti-bacterial properties of the leaf oleoresins have shown inhibition only for:
- Penicillium citrinum,
- Aspergillus flavus and
- A. ochraceus along with
- Aspergillus niger,
- Aspergillus terreus,
- P. citrinum and
- Penicillium viridicatum [10,11],
proving its antioxidant and anti-microbial potential .
CIRCULATORY STIMULANT & CARDIOVASCULAR EFFECTS OF CINNAMON
Circulatory stimulant effects of cinnamon have been reported in several books on medicinal plants and also in Ayurveda [9, 12,13]. Two books of recognized reputation, ‘Indian Materia Medica’, a book dated 1955  and the ‘Indian Medicinal Plants – A Compendium of 500 species’  described cinnamon as an herbal drug with cardiovascular effects [9,6,14].
CINNAMON TO LOWER CHOLESTEROL LEVELS
Hyperlipidemia is a risk factor for the development of coronary heart disease. Some animal studies have demonstrated the strong hypoglycemic properties of cinnamon , in spite others have shown that there is no sufficient evidence to support the possibility the LDL-lowering claim for guggulipid, policosanol, or cinnamon  among others.
Having said so, other documented studies showed how dietary cinnamon increases biliary secretion of cholesterol and phospholipids without affecting the bile content [9,15]. Additionally, another study showed that cinnamon extract improved lipid profile by extensively decreasing total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL [9,16].
CINNAMON FOR THE TREATMENT OF MIGRAINE
Migraine is a widespread, chronic and intermittently disabling disorder characterized by recurrent headaches .
In spite cinnamon is not commonly documented as a traditional herbal remedy for the treatment of a migraine, in Ayurveda cinnamon has been named among the herb-mineral Ayurvedic medicines used for the treatment of a migraine and contained Bhasma  of silver, copper and mercury and many immunomodulatory medicinal herbs, namely:
- Allium sativum,
- Eclipta alba,
- Cinnamomum zeylanica,
- Zingiber Officinalis,
- Piper longum,
- Piper nigrum,
- Bambusa arumdinaceae,
- Ellettaria cardamomum
- Cinnamomum cassia,
- Ferula northrax,
- Citrus acida
and many others [17,18].
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