Cinnamon is a commonly used spice in daily cooking throughout the world. Centuries ago, Ayurveda recognised the healing properties and beneficial effects of cinnamon on health, and included it in many common/regular recipes as well as in specific Ayurveda formulas which have been successfully used as herbal health supplements by millions of people around the world.
There are two main types of cinnamon available in the market today. One is Ceylon Cinnamon, which is called true/authentic cinnamon and another one is Cassia, which is of a slightly inferior quality. For medicinal/healing purposes, Ceylon cinnamon is recommended, and it is slightly more expensive than Cassia.
Mostly the bark of the cinnamon tree is used for its healing properties. Therefore, in Sanskrit, it is commonly known as “Tvak”, which means “bark”. Another Sanskrit name for this spice is “Svaadvi”, which means something that can enhance the taste of food – so when cinnamon powder is added to food, it makes the food tasty. This is also called “Viraanga” in Sanskrit, which means excellent for all parts of the body (“vira” means strong and “anga” means limbs), especially the top part, or the head. Cinnamon is thus beneficial for the whole body, particularly the head/brain.
Ayurveda says that cinnamon has a combination of 3 Rasas (tastes), namely “Katu” (pungent), “Madhur” (sweet) and “Tikta” (bitter) tastes.
From the perspective of its Guna (qualities), cinnamon is “Laghu” (light to digest),”Rooksha” (dry in texture) and “Tikshna” (piercing/penetrating). Virya (Potency) wise, cinnamon is “Ushna” (hot/heaty) and its Vipaak (post digestive effect/quality) is “Katu” (pungent).
The combination of 3 tastes not only makes cinnamon very palatable, but it also enhances the taste of other food items that it is added to. Because it is light & easy to digest, and because of its piercing and penetrating effect, the medicinal/healing properties of cinnamon can enter into our system at a cellular level and therefore can help to repair any damage at a very deep level within the body.
In Ayurveda, cinnamon is used for its healing effects in the following ailments – headache, eyes/eyesight related issues, sinusitis, earache (tinnitus/hearing problems), toothache, lungs and heart related problems, for speeding up digestion and improving absorption, for joint pain, to purify blood, and for healthy skin. It is also useful for strengthening the uterus, improving the consistency/quality of semen, reduce fever, etc. And above all, cinnamon powder can be very beneficial for correcting and preventing several mental disorders and weaknesses of the brain, when consumed in the right way, combined with the right “anupaan” (substance which works as a medium/carrier).
In addition to the above mentioned ailments, cinnamon has a very natural and strong ability to lower/normalize high blood sugar, proven through many studies done in recent times. Many studies show that although cinnamon does not contain many vitamins, minerals, etc., still, due to its antioxidant quality, it is able to protect against diabetes and high blood sugar. It is proven that cinnamon can decrease oxidative stress which can cause high blood sugar/diabetes.
Additionally, blood sugar spikes after meals can be kept in check by cinnamon because it helps to slow down the rate at which food empties out of the stomach. In particular, it was noticed in a study that consuming cinnamon with rice pudding helped to lower/control sugar elevations because cinnamon slowed down emptying of the stomach and could also block digestive enzymes.
It is believed that people who are suffering from diabetes have a relatively higher risk of getting heart problems and high cholesterol associated issues. Cinnamon can be very beneficial for such individuals because it can control high blood sugar as well as high levels of bad cholesterol (LDL).
According to modern science, diabetes is also considered as a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia – many even refer to Alzheimer’s as “type 3 diabetes”! Cinnamon not only can control high blood sugar levels, but due to its “tikshna” (piercing/penetrating) effect, it can also improve the functioning of the brain by clearing obstacles from the channels and regulating oxygen supply to the brain and the neurotransmitters.
Normally 2 – 4 grams of cinnamon powder can be consumed daily; while for the oil, 2 – 5 drops of cinnamon oil can be used daily as per the requirements.
Caution: Cinnamon should not be used by women during pregnancy as it can cause miscarriage. Also, women who are trying to conceive should avoid using cinnamon as it can cause obstacles in conceiving.
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DISCLAIMER : This information is intended for educational purposes only & does not constitute expert medical advice, nor is it meant to replace medical recommendations by a medical practitioner. Always consult a qualified Ayurveda Doctor/Health Professional/Yoga Guru for your specific medical needs before taking any herbal health supplements and/or practicing Yoga.