You may love the warm flavor that cinnamon adds to foods. But did you know all the other uses of cinnamon? This ancient spice has a long history of medicinal use and is an antioxidant powerhouse.
Cinnamon is high in polyphenols, proanthocyanidins and antioxidant activity. Cinnamon’s unique healing abilities come from three basic types of components in the essential oils found in its bark. These essential oils are potent antibacterial and antifungal stimulants.
Chinese Medicine. Cinnamon has also been valued in traditional Chinese medicine for centuries. The benefits of cinnamon include providing relief from colds or flu, especially when it's mixed in a tea with some fresh ginger. Cinnamon is useful for relieving sore throats, coughs, sneezing and mild headaches.
Cinnamon has also been used for flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, and painful menstrual periods. It's also believed to improve energy, vitality, and circulation, and be particularly useful for people who tend to feel hot in their upper body but have cold feet.
Ayurvedic Medicine. In Ayurveda, cinnamon is used as a remedy for diabetes, indigestion, and colds, and it is often recommended for people with the kapha Ayurvedic type.
Cinnamon is widely used as a spice. It is principally employed in cooking as a condiment and flavoring material. It's also used in the preparation of chocolate, especially in Mexico, the main importer of Ceylon cinnamon.
Cinnamon is also used in the preparation of some kinds of desserts, such as apple pie and cinnamon buns as well as spicy candies, tea, hot cocoa, and liqueurs. Ceylon cinnamon, rather than cassia, is more suitable for use in sweet dishes.
The essential oil of cinnamon also inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
Middle Eastern Cuisine. In the Middle East, cinnamon is often used in savory dishes of chicken and lamb. In the United States, cinnamon and sugar are often used to flavor cereals, bread-based dishes, and fruits, especially apples; a cinnamon-sugar mixture is even sold separately for such purposes.
Cinnamon powder has long been an important spice in Persian cuisine, used in a variety of thick soups, drinks, and sweets. It is often mixed with rosewater or other spices to make a cinnamon-based curry powder for stews or just sprinkled on sweet treats.
Cinnamon is a common ingredient in chai tea, and it is believed to improve the digestion of fruit, milk and other dairy products.
Topical applications of cinnamon include use as a hair rinse for dark hair, and as a toothpaste flavoring to freshen breath.
As a cleansing agent, cinnamon is said to prevent and treat fungal infections such as athletes foot. It is also used in massage oils, and can be included in sachets to repel moths.
Cinnamon's prolonged use is known to beautify the skin and promote a rosy complexion.
Mouth freshener. Cinnamon is commonly used in chewing gums and mouthwashes, as it freshens the mouth and removes bad breath.
Perfumes. Cinnamon has a refreshing aroma and is extensively used in making perfumes.
Arthritis. Mix one part honey to two parts lukewarm water and a teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Make a paste and massage it on the irritated part of the body. The pain should recede within a minute or two.
Bladder infection. Drink a glass of lukewarm water mixed with two tablespoons cinnamon powder and 1 teaspoon honey. This tonic destroys germs in the bladder.
Complexion Problems. Mix three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste (ground the cinnamon into powder). Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it next morning with warm water. If done daily for two weeks, it removes pimples from the roots.
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