In 2010, I wrote an 8,000 word dissertation on ‘The Health Benefits of Cinnamon’ for my nutrition degree. Undertaking extensive research on such a simple spice has allowed me to see the beauty of natural remedies, which I have always been passionate about. Cinnamon is therefore a spice I hold very close to my heart.
Cinnamon comes from a small evergreen tree called Cinnamomum. All parts of the tree are used to produce cinnamon in the form of a solid bark, tube/quills, ground powder and oil. There are two types of cinnamon: Ceylon and Cassia. They come from various parts of the world such as China, Sri Lanka, India, Egypt and South America and are different in their colour, fragrance, taste and chemical composition. Ceylon is the sweet, expensive variety whereas Cassia is the spicy, cheaper one. The variations in these two types of cinnamon make them useful for different purposes.
In 2000 BC in Ancient Egypt, cinnamon was as valuable as gold. Posing as a symbol of power and loyalty, cinnamon was a useful monetary food product. These days, cinnamon is widely used in cooking to add an exciting edge to food, from curries to cakes. But did you know studies have shown that cinnamon has great health benefits too? Scientific evidence has proven that cinnamon is good for individuals with Type 2 diabetes. The bark and powder regulates blood sugar levels as well as blood pressure and cholesterol levels. It also has antioxidant properties, making it a cancer-fighting spice by balancing out the free radicals in the body.
Cinnamon tea helps to control yeast infections. The powder can be used to make a paste and then applied to wounds as an antiseptic. It can also be used to treat nausea, indigestion, depression, vomiting, flu, colds, diarrhea, high blood pressure, heartburn, coughs and bad breath. It can even be sprinkled onto milk before you sleep to treat insomnia, as it has mild sedative properties. Cinnamon can be incorporated in our diet so easily by simply sprinkling the ground powder onto toast with honey, on cereals, porridge or into tea or coffee.
Although cinnamon has many culinary and medicinal purposes, it also has a few beauty benefits. Here are some ways cinnamon can help to enhance your natural beauty!
Deep cleansing mask
Stimulates the blood flow, cleanses the face and draws out impurities. Helps to reduce redness and the appearance of acne.
Mix together 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of honey and a dash of ground nutmeg. Apply to face and leave for 15 minutes. Put a warm wet flannel on top for 5 minutes and wipe off.
Cinnamon is a well-known stimulator, which improves blood flow and circulation. Simply dab some cinnamon oil on the hairline, leave for an hour and wash off. It can help those with hair thinning problems as it will stimulate hair growth.
Apply petroleum jelly such as Vaseline on your lips, then gently rub a fingertip of ground cinnamon powder or oil onto the lips. Leave for 30 seconds to 1 minute (depending on your sensitivity). Wipe off with a damp wash cloth and finish with Vaseline again. You’ll have fuller looking lips in minutes!
*Children and pregnant women should use cinnamon with caution; seek medical advice.
Ayshabibi Hafesji ANutr BSc, qualified associate nutritionist, self-employed working from home, helping women and children to find a healthy and happy balance in their lifestyle. www.ahnutritionist.co.uk
Ayshabibi Hafesji writes about the aromatic fennel.