Cinnamon is one of the most wonderful spices gifted to us by nature. It is a herb which is sweet in taste, cleanses mouth, having good fragrance. Cinnamon tree grows from 20-30 feet high, has thick scabrous bark, strong branches and young shoots. The leaves are petiolate, entire leathery when mature and their upper sides are shiny green. It has different varieties. Ancient Nighantu writers mention its two varieties:
- Native Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
- Imported Cinnamomum cassia
- Botanical Name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum Family: Lauraceae
- Hindi name: Dalchini
- Sanskrit name: Tanutvak, Varanga, Darusita
- Taste: Pungent, Bitter, Sweet
- Qualities: Light to digest, dry, piercing, sharp, strong
- Potency: Hot
- Effect on Tridosha: Balances Vata and Kapha
- Part used: Leaf, Stem bark, oil
Major Chemical Constituents
- Major chemical constituents found in cinnamon are– Cinnamaldehyde, Benzaldehyde, Methyl amyl ketone, Linalool, Eugenol, Cumic, Aldehyde, Borneol, Cinnamyl alcohol, Methyl evgenol, Cinnzeylanin, Cinnzeylanol, (-)epicatechin, Cinnacassiol D1 etc.
- In a research, it was concluded that cinnamon has anti-diabetic effects. The aim of the study was to evaluate the short-term and medium-term effects of Cinnamomum zeylanicum extracts on food consumption, body glucose and glycemic control and lipids in both healthy and diabetes induced rats as an animal model. It was concluded that cinnamon group of diabetes-induced animals demonstrated a significant reduction in mean food consumption implying that cinnamon also tends to improve satiety. In long term usage in diabetes induced animals, the cinnamon group demonstrated lower blood glucose levels.
- In another research conducted with an objective to determine whether cinnamon improves blood glucose, total cholesterol, HDL cholesterol and LDL cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes. After administering cinnamon for 40 days, the results showed that cinnamon reduced the mean fasting serum glucose(18-29%), triglyceride(23-30%), total cholesterol(12-26%) levels and LDL cholesterol(7-27%). The results of this study demonstrated that intake of 1,3 or 6 gm of sugar per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol and total glyceride in people with type 2 diabetes and also reduces the risk factors associated with diabetes and cardio-vascular disorders.
Medicinal uses of Cinnamomum zeylanicum:
- It is anti-toxic hence useful in toxic conditions.
- Cinnamon cleanses urinary bladder and acts as diuretic hence useful in urinary retention.
- It relieves throat and oral pain.
- It is also useful in rheumatoid arthritis.
- It relieves anorexia.
- It is quite useful in rhinitis.
- It relieves microbe infestation related to bladder, lungs and heart.
- It is quite beneficial in painful haemorrhoids.
- It helps in relieving allergic rhinitis and running nose.
- It is beneficial in worm infestation and infected wounds.
- Its intake reduces cough with sputum.
- It is also beneficial in relieving “Ama”. Ama is a product of indigestion and altered metabolism.
- It is also beneficial in treating amenorrhoea and delayed menstruation.
- It helps in lowering the blood pressure as it is a cardiac tonic also.
- It clears throat and also improves voice thus its intake is beneficial for singers.
- Cinnamon to improve teeth strength— For improving teeth strength, a small piece of cinnamon must be kept in mouth and chewed for 5-10 minutes and its juice must be swallowed. This also cures bad breath problem. For this reason, cinnamon is used in herbal tooth pastes and powders.
- Cinnamon oil for insect bites and wound healing– Cinnamon oil when applied externally heals the wounds quickly. 2-5 drops of the oil must be applied over the site of insect bite to detoxify the local area and also to relieve pain.
- Cinnamon oil for premature ejaculation– 10 ml of cinnamon oil is diluted with 100 ml sesame oil and mix them well. Apply this combination over the penis 10 minutes before taking bath to improve blood circulation and for preventing premature ejaculation.
- To relieve diarrhea— Juice of cardamom leaves, cloves and cinnamon are mixed together and can be taken for worms, to improve appetite, to relieve flatulence and diarrhea.
- To lower creatinine levels, indigestion— 1 gram of cinnamon along with a teaspoon of honey once a day is useful in relieving indigestion and is a useful remedy for weight loss. 1 pinch of cinnamon with 1 teaspoon of honey on empty stomach is traditionally used for weight loss but it is better to avoid tea/coffee until half an hour after taking this remedy. Honey has been explained as “Yogvaahi” in Ayurveda which means it acts as a positive catalyst and also fastens the absorption of herbs which are being administered.
- To cure skin itching– Paste of cinnamon along with honey applied over the affected skin is used to treat itchy skin.
- For quenching thirst— Mango juice in summer season mixed with fragrant substance like– cinnamon can be used to quench thirst in the afternoon as a part of healthy spring regimen.
- As an aid for learning ability– In a research, it has been found that feeding cinnamon to laboratory mice determined to have poor learning ability made the mice better learners. The mice in the study received oral feedings of ground cinnamon, which their bodies metabolised into sodium benzoate (a chemical used as a drug treatment for brain damage).
- For diabetic patients— As cinnamon has a sweet taste, it can be used by diabetic patients in tea instead of sugar because of its sweet taste.
- For lowering cholesterol levels— 2-5 grams of cinnamon powder regularly can help to reduce the cholesterol levels.
Various Ayurvedic medicines in which cinnamon is used as an ingredient
- Kaas har churna (very famous Ayurvedic medicine by Planet Ayurveda used to treat cough, cold, anorexia), Himsagar tail(an excellent pain and burning sensation relieving herbal oil), various herbal mouthwashes and toothpastes.
- Because of its hotness, cinnamon is not suitable for people suffering from gastritis and burning sensation.
- Its consumption is not suitable for people with Pitta body type, who are sensitive to heat. Because it increases Pitta levels in the body, it is not suitable for people with nasal bleeding and women who have heavy menstruation.
- It’s very low dose is safe to use during pregnancy and lactation.