Cinnamon – Dalchini! Wonder Herb Of Ayurveda?

With the advent of modernization, many diseases have also come up. Modern therapy and technologies have given fast cure for these but parallelly have created many side effects. Now people gradually want a treatment option with less or no side effects. This is where ayurveda comes. Ayurveda is an ancient science with India as the root of origin. Its origin dates back not less than 5000 years ago. Ayurveda, instead of treating a particular disease or an organ, it approaches the body as a whole and tries to flush the impurities from the body. It focuses on cleaning the body system.

It relies on using natural herbs with magical medicinal properties. One such is cinnamon. Initially it was used as an antimicrobial agent and specifically used for digesting or respiratory infections. But recently as more research oriented minds are getting involved in ayurveda, the hidden qualities of these herbs are getting more exposure.

What is Cinnamon Or Dalchini?

It is a herbal spice which is predominant in indian subcontinent and southeast asia. It is used in early human ages for the treatment of common cold and digestive infections. It has now gained prominence in scandinavian countries. Medicinal properties of cinnamon are due to an active compound  called cinnamaldehyde. It is a kind of oil extract from the bark of the herb, which is used as the medicinal property. There are two kinds of cinnamon, namely cassia and ceylon. But it is important which type you chose.

Ceylon one is the best thing to use because of its coumarin content. Reason Cinnamon is so beneficial is because of its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antidiabetic and antimicrobial properties. But more research is needed to explore cinnamon benefits. Let us go into the details of the benefits.

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Cinnamon Uses And Benefits

  1. Blood Sugar Control : Studies indicated it can have a low to moderate effect on controlling the blood sugar. It improves the glycemic control of a person and that helps in diabetes control. Glycemic refers to the effect of good or diet on the body’s blood glucose level after consumption. Generally after eating food it is normal for the blood sugar to rise and slowly it will come down to normal. Each food item is attributed to the glycemic index. Cinnamon has a very low glycemic index which means after consuming the blood sugar level it does not rise very much. However as mentioned earlier more studies are needed to be done to give firm results. Cinnamon in small quantities can be mixed with diet to retrieve its benefits.
  2. Antimicrobial : Cinnamon has been used as a natural preservative in food to prevent spoilage. It is helpful in destroying the biofilm. Some studies suggest that it can eliminate the biofilm from the surfaces of fomites and other equipment in hospitals and prevent nosocomial infections. However it works better synergistically with other antimicrobial agents. Some even suggest it acts against the systemic candida infections. Laboratory findings suggest that it can act mainly against enteric bacteria like E.coli, salmonella spp. and  staphylococcus spp. It is also used as a source of fresh breath.
  3. Antioxidant And Anti-inflammatory : It contains cinnamaldehyde and other polyphenol agents which are antioxidant in nature. These antioxidants have also been found to be inflammatory in nature. They reduce the stress of tissue and help in repairing the damaged cells. It helps decrease the risk of infections. It works by blocking the arachidonic acid and Tumour necrosis factor alpha (TNF-alpha). These molecules will act non specifically and will damage the antigen as well as the body’s own cell.
  4. Improve Digestive System: It has prebiotic properties which promotes growth of good bacteria and helps to eliminate the pathogens from the gut. It is a good source of manganese and contains a good amount of fire. The extract oil is used to treat flatulence and digestive imbalance.
  5. Prevent Cardiac Disease: Studies show it lowers the Low density lipoproteins (LDL) while promoting the HDL. It may lower the blood pressure and reduce the triglycerides, which can benefit the heart in the long run. More study is needed to confirm the result.
  6. Anticarcinogenic:  It has shown to slow the growth of malignant tumour in animal studies. Human models have not been tested yet. It was shown to function mainly by inhibiting Necrosis Factor KappaB ( NF-kappaB) which stimulates many cancer causing genes. It blocks the carcinogenic protein from entering into the bloodstream.
  7. Improves The Sexual performance:  A mix of Cinnamon, coconut milk cocoa, macca, honey served with coffee can act as aphrodisiac the combination can increase the libido.
  8. Weight Loss Agent: Ayurveda has many herbs which can act as weight loss agents. Cinnamon is one among them. Cinnamon benefits for weight loss can be utilized by mixing with honey and water.

These were few of the benefits of Cinnamon. However, if you want try it for some of the benefits mentioned above then take advice from an expert dietitian or medical expert.

Side Effects!

Cinnamon consumed in trace quantity is beneficial but taking it in excess can create health hazards. Coumadin is the natural flavoring agent but it helps promote warfarin. It is a blood thinner. People with haemophilia or other blood complications should consult with doctors first before its use.

How To Use Cinnamon In Diet?

Cinnamon uses are many and to get maximum effect one may follow certain tips. Cinnamon is generally kept in a dark airtight container. The flavour tends to vanish with time. It’s better to use fresh cinnamon then stored one. It can be mixed in powder form with milk, tea or coffee. In indian cuisine it is sometimes added in the bark form called the “Khadi Dalchini”.

Cinnamon water use includes relief from the digestive problem and it can be taken in the form of a hot drink mixer with tea. Cinnamon water can also aid in treating mild digestive problems. It is better to use powdered cinnamon rather than trying to grate the sticks.

Cinnamon, like many other ayurvedic herbs, are treasures of goodness. Our mother, grandmother have been using it since ancient times and knowingly or unknowingly we are reaping the benefits. There is so much to explore and one can benefit from it. However a proper study and guidance is needed. From the aesthetic and taste point of you, one can always use it in a diet and enjoy the flavours it gives.