When you say this word, most people think of this spice for added flavor to meats, toast or even candy. Cinnamon however, is one of the most effective, commonly used herbal substances. The part of this plant used medicinally are the dried inner bark of the shoots, and the oil distilled from the bark and leaves. Cinnamon is an ancient herbal medicine mentioned in Chinese texts as long ago as 4,000 years.
Cinnamon was used in ancient Egypt for embalming. In ancient times, it was added to food to prevent spoiling. During the Bubonic Plague, sponges were soaked in cinnamon & cloves, and placed in sick rooms. Cinnamon was the most sought after spice during explorations of the 15th and 16th centuries. It has also been burned as an incense. The smell of Cinnamon is pleasant, stimulates the senses, yet calms the nerves. Its smell is reputed to attract customers to a place of business.
Recent research indicates that cinnamon is of great value in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels as well as cholesterol levels. In fact, cinnamon was far more effective than any other plant in fulfilling insulin’s appointed role in the system as demonstrated by testing at the Human Nutrition Research Center of the US Department of Agriculture. Cinnamon was found to be
- Reducing blood glucose levels
- Increasing insulin sensitivity and effectiveness
- Reducing blood lipid levels
Let’s expand on the notion of cinnamon and glucose. Sugars and starches in food are broken down into glucose, which then circulates in the blood. The hormone insulin makes cells take in the glucose, to be used for energy or made into fat. But people with Type 1 diabetes do not produce enough insulin.
Those with Type 2 diabetes produce it, but have lost sensitivity to it. Even apparently healthy people, especially if they are overweight, sedentary or over 25, lose sensitivity to insulin. Having too much glucose in the blood can cause serious long-term damage to eyes, kidneys, nerves and other organs.
Be careful of the amount taken. More is NOT better. Stay at 1 gram per day.