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Cinnamon The Cure for What Ails You

You can find cinnamon capsules in almost every grocery store now. Once cinnamon was only easily found in the spice section of your store, now you will find it in the vitamin and supplement section. Because cinnamon has anti-fungal properties is helpful in fighting yeast infection. Because it speeds the metabolism of fats it is useful in a weight loss program.  Recently it has become the shinning light of diabetes cures.

As in all medicinal spices, cinnamon was not meant for a cure to offset your bad habits.  It is a helper while you get your diet and exercise in place. Can you take cinnamon every day?  Yes but not in excessive amounts. If pregnant, you would certainly want to limit your intake.

Not all cinnamon is the same and here in the USA it is really Cassia.

Lets look at a little bit of history first. 

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, synonym C. zeylanicum) is a small evergreen tree 10-15 meters (32.8-49.2 feet) tall, belonging to the family Lauraceae, native to Sri Lanka and South India. The bark is widely used as a spice due to its distinct odour. The leaves are ovate-oblong in shape, 7-18 cm (2.75-7.1 inches) long. The flowers, which are arranged in panicles, have a greenish color, and have a distinct odor. The fruit is a purple one-centimetre berry containing a single seed.

Cinnamon has been known from remote antiquity, and it was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was regarded as a gift fit for monarchs and other great potentates

According to FAO, Indonesia produced almost 40% of the world cinnamon (canella) output in 2005 followed by China, India and Vietnam.

The name cinnamon is correctly used to refer to Ceylon Cinnamon, also known as "true cinnamon" (from the botanical name C. verum). However, the related species Cassia (Cinnamomum aromaticum) and Cinnamomum burmannii are sometimes sold labeled as cinnamon, sometimes distinguished from true cinnamon as "Indonesian cinnamon" or, at least for Cassia, "Bastard cinnamon".

Ceylon cinnamon, using only the thin inner bark, has a finer, less dense and more crumbly texture, and is considered to be less strong than cassia. Cassia is generally a medium to light reddish brown, is hard and woody in texture, and is thicker (2-3 mm thick), as all of the layers of bark are used.

All of the powdered cinnamon sold in supermarkets in the United States is actually Cassia.

European health agencies have recently warned against consuming high amounts of cassia, due to a toxic component called coumarin.[1] This is contained in much lower dosages in Ceylon cinnamon and in Cinnamomum burmannii. Coumarin is known to cause liver and kidney damage in high concentrations.

As far as the Diabetes question, the plant material used in the study (PMID 14633804) was actually cassia, as opposed to true cinnamon.


What to look for in a Cinnamon Supplement

Most products contain just a water-soluble cinnamon extract and not the important fat-soluble cinnamon components. It’s important to take a supplement that provides the full spectrum of cinnamon’s active phytochemicals, including both the water-soluble and the important fat-soluble compounds including cinnamaldehyde.

Cinnamon bark extract improved glucose metabolism in animals that were fed fructose.


Anti-diabetic effect of cinnamon extract on blood glucose in db/db mice.

Department of Hygienic Chemistry, College of Pharmacy, Kyung Hee University, Seoul 130-701, Republic of Korea.

The anti-diabetic effect of Cinnamomi cassiae extract (Cinnamon bark: Lauraceae) in a type II diabetic animal model (C57BIKsj db/db) was studied. Cinnamon extract was administered at different dosages (50, 100, 150 and 200 mg/kg) for 6 weeks. It was found that blood glucose concentration is significantly decreased in a dose-dependent manner (P<0.001) with the most in the 200 mg/kg group compared with the control. In addition, serum insulin levels and HDL-cholesterol levels were significantly higher (P<0.01) and the concentration of triglyceride, total cholesterol and intestinal alpha-glycosidase activity were significantly lower after 6 weeks of the administration. These results suggest that cinnamon extract has a regulatory role in blood glucose level and lipids and it may also exert a blood glucose-suppressing effect by improving insulin sensitivity or slowing absorption of carbohydrates in the small intestine.

PMID: 16213119 [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]


Coumarin was originally obtained from the tonka bean and lavender oil but is now synthetically produced. The U.S. National Cancer Institute [U.S.A.} notes: "Coumarin was formerly used in the United States as a fixative and flavoring agent in foods and as a pharmaceutical excipient. In response to investigations conducted by coumarin manufacturers which demonstrated that coumarin produced liver toxicity in animals that were given the substance in amounts comparable to or greater than what appeared in human foods, coumarin was in 1954 recategorized by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a food adulterant. Since that time, its addition to human foods has been prohibited and importing coumarin-containing foodstuffs from outside the U.S. is not permitted.


Data from the Agricultural Research Unit in Maryland was first published in the New Scientist in August 2000. The researchers found that cinnamon triggered the ability of fat cells in diabetic individuals to respond to insulin, and it also enhanced the removal of glucose.

A study in Pakistan. Volunteers with type II diabetes were given one, three, or six grams of cinnamon powder a day in capsules after meals. All responded within weeks, with blood sugar levels that were on average 20% lower than a control group. Some even achieved normal blood sugar levels. Blood sugar started creeping up again after the diabetics stopped taking cinnamon.


 

Oil of Cassia is now recognized in the United States Pharmacopceia under the name of oil of Cinnamon 

Cinnamon has traditionally been used to treat toothache and fight bad breath and its regular use is believed to stave off common cold and aid digestion.

 

Cassia contains coumarin in a natural form.  Why can we import cinnamon - cassia to be sold in supermarkets.

What is the form of cinnamon sold in cinnamon capsules?

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