Young people have been doing stupid and dangerous things for ever, to their mothers’ despair. Now, as we are finding out from the media, they are swallowing dry cinnamon, ending often in the hospital for getting the fine powder of this ancient spice in their lungs. How this particular madness came to be is not clear or particularly important, but it might give bad name to cinnamon, one of the oldest and most precious spices, and that would be real pity. For cinnamon has a range of uses, besides being delicious in so many dishes.
Cinnamon is a spice made of strips of bark of the tree Cinnamomum, native to South East Asia. This spice has been valued by people all over the world for thousands of years. People used it in religious ceremonies, fought wars over it, used it as a currency and, of course, enjoyed it in their food. It has been known throughout history that cinnamon is not only delicious spice, but that it has numerous medicinal properties. Current research proves that.
Increasing body of knowledge shows that polyphenol polymers from cinnamon may increase insulin-dependent glucose metabolism. This compound also acts as an anti-oxidant. These findings show that cinnamon may be beneficial for the treatment of obesity and weight loss programs.
Results of another study show that taking just one to six grams of cinnamon every day may reduces serum glucose, LDL cholesterol, triglyceride and total cholesterol in people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. The study suggest that adding cinnamon to the diet of patients with type 2 diabetes may reduce complications linked to diabetes, such as cardiovascular diseases.
Researchers from Tel Aviv University, Zoology Department in the Faculty of Life sciences, isolated an active ingredient of the cinnamon which may delay the progression of Alzheimer”s disease.
Cinnamon has powerful anti-bacterial properties, and it has been found to be useful for protecting crops from mold, for stopping stubborn yeast infections and for keeping food fresh longer.
Good and bad
While cinnamon has so many health benefits, its many active ingredients can make it equally dangerous if ingested in large quantities. Some participants in the cinnamon challenge are learning this the hard way. Cinnamon can cause stomach problems with people with ulcers, it can cause extensive bleeding, uterus contractions, heart palpitations and sugar imbalance.