The Promise of Cinnamon
There’s hardly an herb more familiar and widely used than cinnamon. Its spicy sweetness flavors foods and beverages all over the world, and not surprisingly: there’s something fundamentally comforting about its taste and aroma. Even the thought of toasty cinnamon makes us feel warm inside. As nature would have it, those same appealing qualities translate nicely to cinnamon’s uses in the health and wellness arena.
The much-loved substance, found in the inner of bark of certain evergreen trees from the genus cinnamomum, has made its way into traditional and alternative medicine systems throughout history and across the globe. The ancient Egyptians used it as a perfume for embalming the dead; during the Middle Ages, Europeans discovered its power as a preservative for meats and other perishable foods; and when the bubonic plague struck in the 14th century, people placed cinnamon-soaked sponges in sick rooms, attempting to absorb the deadly bacteria. By the 1800s, cinnamon was being cultivated in many parts of the world.
Wellness practitioners and laypeople in the know turn to cinnamon to ease gastrointestinal or digestive distress, nausea and vomiting, and lack of appetite. Many have found it can also relieve cold and flu symptoms, and it has even been successfully used to calm menstrual cramps and fight common bacterial and fungal outbreaks such as urinary infections and athlete’s foot. Current research points to the potential of cinnamon to protect against heart and mental degeneration diseases, and aid in the treatment of diabetes.