(NaturalNews) Cinnamon, which is generally an appreciated spice for its good taste when added to certain foods, definitely seems to have much more going in its favor than simply pleasing your taste buds. It's a potent anti-bacterial and anti-fungal medicinal herb offering many advantages to the human body.
Cinnamon is from the lauracae family and its popular name is laurus cinnamomum. We utilize the bark that grows in the evergreen trees which reach 20 to 30 feet on average and are located in remote areas such as Malabar, Cochin-China, Sumatra and the Eastern Islands, amongst other places. Cinnamon has been cultivated for a very long time and its therapeutic aid was no secret to many ancient civilizations, going far back in time.
The bark's essential oils mainly have three active components which trigger specific healing abilities. These active components are called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl alcohol. These particular components directly account for cinnamon's various health benefits, but more specifically, its anti-clotting actions in the blood, its anti-microbial activity in the body and also its stabilizing effect on blood sugar levels.
Cinnamon's assistance to certain health conditions
We know that the clumping of blood platelets is a normal process in order to prevent continuous bleeding, but problems may arise if these platelets excessively clump together. The cinnamaldehyde found in cinnamon prevents the disproportionate clotting in the blood by restricting the delivery of an inflammatory fatty acid from platelet membranes, named arachidonic acid. Besides the anti-clotting action, the result of this chemical process shows that cinnamon has the ability to reduce inflammation therefore it can also be seen as an anti-inflammatory herb.
Cinnamon has shown to be a very potent anti-microbial spice. It has the capacity to inhibit the formation and proliferation of bacteria, yeast, fungi matter and mainly what is called candida albicans. Some tests have revealed that in many cases, cinnamon was more efficient at halting the spread of yeast, than the commonly used medical agent called fluconazole. Based on a study which was published in the August 2003 paper of the International Journal of Food Microbiology, there are valid reasons to believe that cinnamon may also be used as a legitimate alternative to food preservatives. The study showed that only a few drops of cinnamon's essential oils, added to around 3 ounces of carrot broth, prevented the development of a pathogen called bacillus cereus for a period of at least 60 days. In comparison, when the broth was left in a cold environment but without adding cinnamon oils to it, the pathogens started expanding.
Cinnamon's normalizing effect on blood sugar levels can help people with type 2 diabetes, as it enhances a positive response to insulin. A report presented by the US Agricultural Research Service, showed that with as little as half a teaspoon of cinnamon each day, participants in the study were able to show an average reduction of 20% in their blood sugar levels. The moment cinnamon doses stopped being administered on a daily basis, the sugar levels in their blood raised immediately.