7 Health Benefits of Cinnamon You Need to Know

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Once upon a time, cinnamon was more valuable than gold. And while these days, most of us would rather get our hands on 24 karats instead of 24 ounces – a gold bar over a brown stick – this bark-cum-spice has just as much bite as it does bark. The potential health benefits of cinnamon could be stated as nothing short of astonishing.

To help us sort myth from fact, we’ve enlisted the help of several health experts to give us their two cents on one of our favorite spices.

7 Proven Health Benefits of Cinnamon

1. Cinnamon may help treat Type 2 diabetes.

While it’s true that there’s no cure for Type 2 diabetes, cinnamon can be an effective tool in managing the disease.

According to Lori Kenyon Farley, a Certified Nutrition Consultant specializing in wellness, fitness and anti-aging and one of the experts behind Project Juice, cinnamon can help manage this disease in two different ways. “It can reduce blood pressure and have a positive effect on blood markers for those with Type 2 diabetes,” she explains. Cinnamon can also reduce insulin resistance, which, Farley explains, “has been shown to lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 29%, which can reduce the instance of Type 2 diabetes.”

Shane Ellison, MS, a medicinal chemist and founder of the Sugar Detox, explains how exactly this works. “(Cinnamon) works directly on the muscle cells to force them to remove sugar from the bloodstream, where it is converted to energy,” he says. “It’s even shown to work better than most prescription meds.”

The key is in increasing insulin sensitivity in the body, a sensitivity that, while present at birth for those without type 1 diabetes, slowly decreases as we age and consume more sugar. As a result, sugar floats around in the blood, causing diabetes and other health problems. “Cinnamon, which is completely non-toxic, repairs the receptors so they are once again responsive to insulin,” Ellison explains. “In time, sugar levels normalize due to an increase in insulin sensitivity.”

Add to this the fact that cinnamon has a naturally sweet taste that is devoid of sugar, making it a great addition to foods like plain yogurt as a dessert or snack, and you’ll soon see why we suggest it as a staple for the pantries of those with Type 2 diabetes.

2. Cinnamon can lower your bad cholesterol (or LDL).

Even if you do not suffer from diabetes, you may want to include cinnamon in your diet for many of the same reasons as those who do.

As Carina Parikh, MScN, MSiMR, the holistic nutritionist for Kate Naumes ND Holistic Wellness in Dallas explains, the positive impact on Type 2 diabetes symptoms is due to a number of factors, notably “improving serum glucose, lowering fasting blood glucose, and reducing triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol.” These are all benefits that can help even those not suffering from diabetes, including those with hereditary cholesterol worries or problems.

“(Cinnamon) also raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol,” she explains. HDL cholesterol helps remove LDL cholesterol from the body.

And that’s not all. “Regular intake of cinnamon may also help to mitigate the effects of high-fat meals by slowing the increase in blood sugar post-meal,” says Parikh. This means that when cinnamon is added to your diet, the effects of occasional high-fat choices may not be quite as detrimental to your health as they would otherwise be.

3. Cinnamon has antifungal, antibacterial, and even antiviral properties.

Cinnamon has been proven to fight fungal, bacterial, and viral elements in foods, thus preventing spoilage. It’s no surprise that in the Middle Ages, when food spoilage was far more frequent due to lack of refrigeration, many recipes, both sweet and savory, were flavored with the spice.

But these properties of cinnamon do not extend merely to the foods cinnamon seasons. Consumers of cinnamon can benefit from these properties as well, according to our experts, who say cinnamon can be used as part of a treatment for anything from lung problems to the common cold.

Denise Baron, a wellness educator and director of Ayurveda for Modern Living explains that cinnamon can help with all sorts of lung congestion issues. “It helps clear up mucus and encourages circulation,” she explains, thus lending its powers to everything from a simple seasonal cough to bronchitis, when used in tandem with other remedies.

But perhaps the most surprising use of cinnamon is in combatting viruses, and not just the common cold. “Research shows that cinnamon extract may help fight the HIV virus by preventing the virus from entering cells,” says Parikh. “Therefore, cinnamon extract could potentially contribute to the management of HIV.”

4. Cinnamon can help treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are two neurological conditions that, for the moment, are incurable. An enormous part of treating these diseases is therefore in symptom management, and this can be boosted with the addition of cinnamon to a regular regime.

“Cinnamon has been shown to help neurons and improve motor function in those suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s,” explains Farley. These contributions can help sufferers of these two diseases continue their regular routines with far less impediment.

5. Cinnamon may have anti-carcinogenic properties.

Many superfoods are attributed with anti-carcinogenic properties, but it’s important not to jump from super food to super power. Parikh explains why it’s important not to get carried away.

“Evidence suggests that cinnamon may have anti-carcinogenic effects as well, although the research thus far is limited to animal studies,” she says. “These experiments demonstrate that cinnamon extract slows the growth of cancer cells and induces cancerous cell death.”

If these properties do extend to humans, then cinnamon may in fact be able to slow growth and kill cancerous cells. And even if these properties do not extend to a cure or treatment for cancer in humans, other characteristics of cinnamon, including the presence of antioxidants and free radicals, can contribute to its possible anti-carcinogenic effects.

6. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties.

Consumption of cinnamon can reduce both systemic and specific inflammation. The former is particularly important in the Western world, according to Parekh.

She says that in the West, “Systemic inflammation is a prominent problem that has led to the rise in chronic disease.” By adding cinnamon to a regular diet, this systemic inflammation can be reduced significantly.”

Specific inflammation reduction means that consumption of cinnamon can help treat certain types of pain and headaches, as well as arthritis pain. It plays a double role in this particular type of pain, according to Baron, as cinnamon can also boost circulation. “With circulation problems such as Raynaud’s syndrome or arthritis, this helps stimulate and push circulation to the joints,” she explains.

7. Cinnamon can help manage PCOS.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a problem with numerous symptoms that need to be managed, and cinnamon can be a key element of this management due to a number of characteristics.

First would be the management of insulin resistance in women with PCOS, which can contribute to weight gain. “A recent pilot study found that cinnamon reduced insulin resistance in women with PCOS,” explains Parekh, extending cinnamon’s recommended consumption from diabetes sufferers to anyone with an insulin resistance problem.

“Cinnamon can also help mitigate heavy menstrual bleeding associated with common conditions of female health, such as endometriosis, menorrhagia, and uterine fibroids.”

It’s possible we’re just brushing the surface here. After all, Chinese medicine and Ayurveda have long revered cinnamon for its near superpowers, using it to treat things such as colds, indigestion and cramps, not to mention for its anti-clotting properties as well as attributes for cognitive function and memory. These societies also believed cinnamon could improve energy, vitality and circulation. It’s no wonder we’ve dubbed it a superfood!

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Why is Cinnamon So Good for You?

How does such a little spice have so much power?

Many of cinnamon’s fantastic properties come from one substance, something called cinnamaldehyde, which is naturally present in cinnamon. According to Parikh, cinnamaldehyde is the source many of the antifungal and antibacterial properties that make cinnamon such a great addition to your diet.

But that’s not all. “Cinnamon’s high concentration of antioxidants can help protect the body from damage from free radicals and reduce inflammation, reducing risk of cancer and other diseases,” explains Farley.

The combination of cinnamaldehyde, antioxidants and cinnamon’s high fiber content are some of the characteristics that lend it its incredible positive effects on the human body.

How to Include Cinnamon in Your Diet

Even with all this evidence pointing to the wonders of cinnamon, we are absolutely not advocating you start guzzling it – it has been found to be toxic in large doses.

We are, however, wholeheartedly encouraging a little pinch (or stick) here and there in places you might otherwise have overlooked (in your tea or coffee, added to savory dishes, etc.) – if not for your overall health, for its undeniably enchanting aroma and flavor.

And while we all have fell victim to the irresistible smells wafting through an otherwise bleak airport experience, this does not make Cinnabon a free-for-all. Not only is it much better to use cinnamon in healthy recipes, but you’re going to want to source your cinnamon somewhere you trust for several reasons.

What Kind of Cinnamon Should I Use?

Not all cinnamons were created equal, so be careful what you buy.

“Nearly all the cinnamon in the grocery stores and health food stores is a cousin of true cinnamon,” explains Christina Major, a MS Holistic Nutritionist and Herbalist and the Health Recovery Expert of Crystal Holistic Health.

Cinnamomum cassia, or Chinese cinnamon, has a very similar flavor and color, but it does not have the same health benefits,” she explains. “Only Cinnamomum verum provides the health benefits, and this is an expensive spice that is often illicitly substituted with Cinnamomum cassia.”

When you are perusing the supermarket shelves, you’ll likely see Cinnamomum cassia sold as Chinese or Cassia cinnamon, whereas Cinnamomum verum will be sold as Ceylon cinnamon. According to our experts, you should opt for the latter.

If you do have Cassia cinnamon on your shelf already, you can try integrating it into your diet as well, but bear in mind a few important notes.

You likely will not find that the same benefits outlined with regards to Ceylon cinnamon hold true with Cassia. “That’s why most supplements and home remedies don’t work,” explains Major. “There isn’t enough active ingredient, because the manufacturer didn’t use the right cinnamon.”

Farley also warns that the Cassia variety should be consumed in very small doses. “Not more than 2 tsp. per day,” she suggests, “Since it has a higher concentration of courmarin, which can be harmful in large doses.” Courmarin can cause liver toxicity and have blood-thinning properties, so be sure to talk to your doctor before adding this or any sort of cinnamon to your diet if you are on blood thinners or liver medication.

If you’d like to give a small amount of cinnamon a try, here’s a good starting point.  If you prefer to buy in bulk to save money, click here for 1lb of cinnamon.

How Much Cinnamon Should I Eat?

Once you’ve got your hands on some true Ceylon cinnamon, the recommended dosage, according to the U.S. Department of Health, is up to 6 grams daily for 6 weeks or fewer.

“I would suggest a week rest after the 6 weeks, before beginning again,” says Farley. “Turmeric can be taken during the rest week since it has similar benefits.”

You can also reduce your cinnamon consumption to 5 days a week without a rest week, says Parehk, though she – and we – urge anyone starting a new supplement regimen to consult with a qualified practitioner first and to be very careful of over-consumption of cinnamon, no matter which variety you have. Overconsumption of cinnamon or even a rapid increase of consumption of cinnamon can have some adverse effects.

One, explains Dizon, is that cinnamon’s anti-bacterial properties do not distinguish between good or bad bacteria in the gut, meaning that you could find yourself facing some cinnamon-related digestive issues. “Incorporate fermented foods to replenish your stomach with good bacteria,” she suggests.

Our experts also warn against incorporating too much cinnamon into your diet if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a heavy menstrual cycle. If any of these things apply to you, please see a medical professional before adding cinnamon to your diet.

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How Should I Add Cinnamon to My Diet?

Cinnamon can be purchased in several forms, including ground powder, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon bark oil, or even capsules.

Jane Dizon, a nurse and health and fitness enthusiast behind Health and Fitness, has a few suggestions for how to add cinnamon to your diet. “You could add half to one teaspoon of cinnamon powder to your coffee, or sprinkle some on your fruit platter. It’s also great with baked sweet potatoes, oatmeals and apple cider.”

And cinnamon doesn’t always have to be used alone. “You can combine ginger and cardamom with cinnamon if you have a sluggish digestive system,” explains Baron.

You don’t even have to eat your cinnamon to take advantage of it. Dizon suggests cinnamon-scented candles to boost brain function, and Baron makes a homemade toothpaste with cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and cinnamon oil. She also suggests a cinnamon and oatmeal face mask for acne.

Here are just a few of our favorite recipes for including cinnamon in your diet:

What are your favorite ways to eat cinnamon?


Source: organicauthority.com

The Health Benefits of Turmeric

More than just an ingredient in curry, this bright orange spice also boasts several health-boosting properties. So, why is turmeric so good for you?

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Turmeric (curcuma longa) is extensively cultivated in the tropics and the root is widely used in cooking. Turmeric has a deep, golden-orange colour and looks similar to ginger. It is usually boiled, sun-dried and then ground into a powder. It has a peppery, warm flavour and a mild fragrance. Turmeric is the main ingredient in curry powder and can be used as a colouring agent. It has long been used in both cooking and colouring. Turmeric has also played an important role in traditional Eastern cultures and Ayurvedic medicine. Much of its new-found popularity is due to its therapeutic properties.

Nutritional highlights

We are frequently told that colourful plant foods are good for our health because of their phytochemical properties (plant pigments) and turmeric is no different. It has a range of health promoting benefits due to curcumin, the yellow pigment. As several metabolic diseases and age-related degenerative disorders are closely associated with oxidative processes in the body, the use of herbs and spices as a source of antioxidants to combat oxidation warrants further attention.

The potential health benefits of curcumin include better regulation of inflammation. It is used in the treatment of numerous inflammatory conditions for its anti-inflammatory effects. Curcumin is thought to slow down the inflammatory pathway, although this line of research is being continued.

Turmeric’s anti-inflammatory properties have been compared to those of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS). Clinical trials have found it to be more effective than a placebo for relieving pain and swelling in people with osteo and rheumatoid arthritis. However, more well-designed clinical studies are needed to determine and document the efficacy of curcumin and combination products in patients taking NSAIDS to treat osteoarthritis.

Another active ingredient in turmeric is turmerone. Although far less is known about turmerone compared to curcumin, it can be obtained from whole ground turmeric. Some studies suggest tumerone can support cognitive performance due to its neuroprotective properties.

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Potential issues and benefits

It is important to note that the amount of curcumin in turmeric as we buy it can vary, depending on species, growing conditions, harvesting etc. Most of the studies use turmeric extracts that contain mostly curcumin alone, with dosages usually exceeding 1 gram per day. It would be very difficult to reach these levels just using the turmeric spice in cooking, although it is clearly a welcome addition to the diet.

In addition to delivering antioxidants and other properties, herbs and spices can be used in recipes to partially or wholly replace salt, sugar and added saturated fat in, for example, marinades and dressings, stir-fry dishes, casseroles, soups, curries and Mediterranean-style cooking.

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How to select and store

Turmeric is available as a ground powder and, like ginger, is available as the fresh rhizome bought in food shops. Fresh turmeric should be free of dark spots and be crisp. It may be stored in the fridge where it will keep for a month. Turmeric powder should be stored in a cool dark, dry place where it will keep for up to a year.

Since its deep orange colour can easily stain, avoid getting it on clothing. To avoid a permanent stain, quickly wash the affected area with soap and water.

Find out more about the benefits of Turmeric on the Sundara Botanical website

Source: BBC Good Food

9 Ways Cinnamon Can Benefit Your Skin

Cinnamon grows abundantly in Sri Lanka, Indonesia, India and other Asian countries and people out there have been using cinnamon for various medicinal purposes including for skin disorders.

One great thing about cinnamon is there are so many ways to use it – cinnamon oil, powder, mask, etc.

Cinnamon is proving to be a spice that not only adds flavor to various dishes but can also cure many infections and diseases.

There are several researches being conducted all over the world about the benefits of cinnamon for diabetes, hair loss, cholesterol, memory, arthritis, skin and more.

A topical application of cinnamon with honey is said to get rid of pimples, ringworms, eczema and other skin infections.

Cinnamon essential oil is often used in aromatherapy and it combines well with lemon, lavender, cardamom, geranium and rosemary essential oils. Cinnamon essential oil can be used as a massage oil to cure arthritis, general pain and such.

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Cinnamon Benefits for the Skin

Cinnamon has been used for centuries in traditional medicines in Asian cultures-Chinese and Indian. Among the various benefits which cinnamon offers, one of the most important is its role in maintaining healthy skin.

In addition to this, it can also help remedy various skin related diseases and infections.

Thus, cinnamon can be used in multifarious various to improve your skin.

Here are some of the benefits of cinnamon for skin –

1. Plumps Skin

Cinnamon is said to improve fine lines by plumping the skin.
This means that using cinnamon can stimulate blood vessels and bring blood to the surface of the skin. Use a mixture of 3 drops essential oil of cinnamon and 2 tbsp olive oil or petroleum jelly. Apply this mixture to fine lines on the skin, taking care to avoid the eyes.

The skin soon plumps out and fine lines become less visible. This can even be done to plump up lips and can be used as an alternate to lip gloss.

2. Cleanses the Scalp

Cinnamon can also be used to nourish the scalp. Make a paste using 1 tsp ground cinnamon, ¼ tsp warm olive oil and 1 tbsp honey. Massage this into the scalp and leave on for 15 minutes.

Wash off after this using a normal shampoo. Cinnamon acts like an exfoliating agent to stimulate the scalp and provide nourishment to hair follicles.

3. Treatment for Eczema

Eczema is a condition in which skin gets  inflamed and irritated. A large number of medical conditions are grouped under the term ‘eczema’. The most common type of eczema is atopic dermatitis, which is an inherited condition. The exact cause of eczema is unknown, but the most important cause is an overactive response by the body’s immune system against an irritant or allergen.

Eczema can be a very irritating skin condition that leaves behind light colored patches.

Some people have found that using 1 tsp cinnamon and 1 tsp honey on these patches could provide relief.

However, this paste must not be used on the face for it can cause irritation. You are advised to perform a skin test before using cinnamon paste on the skin.

4. Treatment for Acne

Cinnamon is said to help with treatment of acne and pimples. Mix 1 tbsp cinnamon powder and 3 tbsp honey and apply this on pimples. Leave this paste overnight or for 20 minutes before washing with warm water.

Acne scars could dry out and skin could get rejuvenated.

This paste can also declog pores and bring oxygen and blood to the surface. However, this must not be used more than once a week since it could cause skin irritation.

5. Antiseptic

Cinnamon has antiseptic properties. If you have an open cut or wound, just dust a pinch of cinnamon over it. Bacteria will be killed and the wound heals faster.

A large number of studies have determined the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of cinnamon.

As far back as 1978, a study reported the anti-fungal effects of o-methoxycinnamaldehyde from cinnamon. It was reported that this compound inhibited the growth and toxin production by the mycotoxin producing fungii.

It completely inhibited the growth of Aspergillus parasiticus and Aspergillus flavus at 100 microgram/ml and Aspergillus ochraceus and Aspergillus versicolor at 200 microgram/ml.

A comparative analysis of the bacteriostatic and bactericidal activity of 13 essential oils showed that the True Cinnamon bark oil had the highest anti-microbial activity.

It was particularly effective against resistant strains. The study was exhaustive and analysed the effect of the oils against 55 different bacterial strains. Thus, cinnamon can effectively be used to eliminate various bacterial strains.

Another study has shown that Cinnamon essential oils can help combat the infectious agents which are resistant to the traditional antibiotics, e.g. Staphylococcus aureus. In this study, it was found that Cinnamon oils are much more effective as compared to olive and paraffin oils in fighting Multi-Drug Resistant S. aureus.

Thus, cinnamon oils can be used to fight Staphylococcus infections.

Thus, the anti-microbial properties of Cinnamon and its oils have been definitively proven in numerous studies. Since sepsis is an inflammation caused by infection, it can be inhibited by using Cinnamon extracts and oils. Sepsis is a potentially fatal condition which might result in septic shock and multi-organ failure.

Thus, Cinnamon can offer a very simple cure to septic infections.

6. Reduce signs of aging

Cinnamon used on the skin seems to increase collagen levels for up to six hours after it is applied. Breakdown of collagen causes the skin to lose elasticity and increases signs of aging.

When cinnamon extracts were used as an inducer for skin fibroblast cells, there was an increase in the levels of collagen protein, without any cytotoxic effects.

Thus, cinnamon can act as a safe agent to promote collagen biosynthesis. By carrying out experiments like liquid chromatography and nuclear magnetic resonance, it was determined that the active agent responsible for this up regulation of collagen is cinnamaldehyde.

The intracellular pathway for the synthesis of collagen involves a receptor known as the Insulin-like Growth factor-I (IGF-I). It was observed that upon cinnamon extract treatment, there was an increased level of phosphorylation of this receptor.

This indicates that when cinnamon treatment was given, the biosynthetic pathway of collagen synthesis was activated to greater extent. An enhanced expression level of the various proteins involved downstream of the receptor was also observed due to the cinnamon treatment.Thus, cinnamon can be used as an anti-aging agent.

In a nutshell — Cinnamon seems to increase collage expression on the skin through cinnamaldehyde, its main chemical component. This is able to activate growth factors IGF-1 and improve collagen expression. Topically cinnamon creams could be used.

7. To soften and soothe dry and dead skin

Cinnamon extracts and powder act as very good exfoliants an can be used to remove dead skin cells. This helps to restore the shine and suppleness of skin. Cinnamon can be used in combination with sea salt, almond oil, honey and olive oil.

To soften rough skin, we can take advantage of the anti-oxidant properties of cinnamon. In a study carried out in 1998, the anti-oxidant properties of Cinnamon extracts were evaluated. It was was observed that Cinnamon extracts have highly potent anti-oxidant properties.

To treat roughened feet, a foot bath consisting of lemon juice, olive oil, whole milk, water and ground Cinnamon can be prepared. A treatment for 15 mins can effectively soften skin and make the feet smooth.

8. To improve complexion

Another major benefit of using Cinnamon is that it helps to enhance skin complexion. This is due to the anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties of cinnamon. But I have to add, this is not scientifically established.

For this, a face mask consisting a banana puree, yoghurt, ground Cinnamon and lemon juice can be prepared and applied onto the skin. It should be left until it has dried and then it can be washed with warm water. This helps to improve skin quality and as well as complexion.

Cinnamon is a highly beneficial spice which can be used to ensure various benefits for the skin. It helps to prevent and fight skin infections, eczema and also improves the quality, texture and complexion of skin. Thus, cinnamon powder can act as a very simple solution for various skin related problems.

9. As a massage Oil

Cinnamon oil improves blood circulation. By using this essential oil for massages, the nutrients in the skin increases and this improves the tone of the skin. Cinnamon oil made from the leaves must only be used on the skin. Oil made using cinnamon bark usually causes allergic reactions.

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Other benefits to the skin

Cinnamon included in foods can also improve skin tone. For example, add a tablespoon cinnamon to various foods in a day can provide us with a good source of fiber. This eliminates waste products from the body. Flushing out toxins prevents them from clogging the skin and improves skin tone.

Drinking a smoothie with a dash of cinnamon powder can fight against bacteria which cause acne and other skin conditions.

Cinnamon powder and cinnamon oil have been found to offer anti-parasitic, antifungal, antiseptic and antibacterial properties according to animal and test tube studies.

Cinnamon could be used to fight vaginal and oral yeast infections caused by the Candida Albicans fungus. It could also be used to get rid of head lice.

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Ways to use Cinnamon for Skin

Here are some ways to use cinnamon and other ingredients for the skin. Wherever I mention cinnamon for oral use, please consider it as Ceylon cinnamon.

Cinnamon-Nutmeg Body Wash

If you are feeling fatigued, you can try this body wash to recharge your body and make you feel fresh and look younger. Make this inexpensive, rejuvenating wash using 6 teaspoons each of ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon. Filter this, pour it into a warm bath and soak in this until the water cools.

Use the same water to wash your face too. Soak for 10 minutes a day and feel the difference.

Cinnamon Scrub

Combine together the following ingredients and use them as a scrub.

  • Cinnamon essential oil – 2-3 drops (optional)
  • Ground coffee – 2 cups
  • Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp
  • Sea Salt or raw sugar – ½ cup
  • Almond oil or any other light essential oil – 2-3 tbsp

Cinnamon-Honey-Nutmeg Face Mask

This face mask can be used to treat acne. It can be used twice a week but with caution. The benefits are got from all three products. Honey offers antimicrobial benefits and can fight acne caused by microbes.

It is also soothing to the skin and is a natural antioxidant. Nutmeg reduces inflammation and redness caused by acne. It can dry out acne and is a safe topical acne treatment similar to salicylic acid or benzoyl peroxide.

Cinnamon can dry out pimples and plump the skin by bringing oxygen and blood to the surface and unclog and open pores by removing excess oil from the skin’s surface.

For the mask, mix together:

  • Cinnamon – 1tbsp
  • Raw organic honey – ¼ cup
  • Nutmeg – 2 tbsp

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Precautions while using cinnamon

Use Ceylon and not Cassia Cinnamon for oral use. This is because Cassia has high % of coumarin which can cause harm.

Cinnamon oil offers many health benefits but used in concentrated form, it can also cause allergic reactions like swelling of the skin, hives, mouth sores and skin irritations in some people.

Hence, people are advised to do a patch test before using cinnamon oil or to use cinnamon bark powder instead for skin infections. The irritation is often caused by eugenol and cinnamaldehyde present in cinnamon oil.

This could cause convulsions and must be avoided during pregnancy.

It could also be an irritant or a dermal toxin sometimes. Some people could experience allergic reactions to cinnamon oil or even develop contact dermatitis.

Source: thesuperfoods.net

10 Turmeric Benefits: Superior to Medications?

Turmeric, the main spice in curry, is arguably the most powerful herb on the planet at fighting and potentially reversing disease. It has so many healing properties that currently there have been 6,235 peer-reviewed articles published proving the benefits of turmeric and one of its renowned healing compounds curcumin.

This puts turmeric on top of the list as one of the most frequently mentioned medicinal herbs in all of science and the next most popular studied herbs include garlic, cinnamon, ginseng, ginger and milk thistle.

Of the 6000+ studies referencing curcumin, the most interesting finding is that when turmeric is compared to conventional medicine its benefits equal that of many pharmaceutical medications.

In fact, a number of studies have even reported that using curcumin is more advantageous than certain prescription drugs.


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Health Benefits of Turmeric

When examining the research, turmeric benefits go beyond that of these 10 drugs:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Anti-depressants (Prozac)
  • Chemotherapy
  • Anti-coagulants (Aspirin)
  • Pain killers
  • Diabetes drugs (Metformin)
  • Arthritis medications
  • Inflammatory bowel disease drugs
  • Cholesterol drugs (Lipitor)
  • Steroids

Now let’s jump deeper into the research on turmeric benefits at potentially reversing specific diseases.


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Turmeric capsules

Turmeric Benefits Trump Medications

Although the list is much longer, we’ve selected 10 drugs that pale in comparison to turmeric in potentially reversing disease. As you read this report, keep in mind that one of the most powerful advantages curcumin has over the traditional medical approach is the lack of side effects.

1. Anticoagulants/Antiplatelets

Medical intervention generally includes the following medications to slow and prevent blood clotting:

  • Aspirin
  • Clopidogrel (Plavix)
  • Diclofenac
  • Enoxaparin (Lovenox)
  • Ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, others)
  • Naproxen
  • Warfarin (Coumadin), and others.

Unfortunately, for people with conditions that are treated by these drugs (i.e. deep-vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism), this approach may not always be the wisest decision. Ibuprofen overdose is one such common problem. In addition to common side effects like excessive bleeding and hemorrhage, the risks associated with anticoagulants abound and include everything from back pain to headaches to difficulty breathing.

Turmeric, on the other hand, has relatively no known side effects unless taken in extremely excessive amounts.

Additionally, ever since several groundbreaking studies in the mid-1980s, the curcumin in turmeric has been suggested by researchers as actually being a better option for those with vascular thrombosis.

2. Anti-depressants

Although few studies have been conducted on humans, dozens of research trials have proven that turmeric is especially effective in correcting depression symptoms in laboratory animals.

To address this issue, the journal Phytotherapy Research published the results of an amazing, innovative study this past year.  The study took 60 volunteers diagnosed with major depressive disorder (MDD), such as manic depression, and split the group to determine how patients treated by curcumin fared against fluoxetine (Prozac) and a combination of the two.

Not only was it discovered that all patients tolerated curcumin well, but they discovered curcumin was as effective as Prozac in managing depression.

According to the authors, “This study provides first clinical evidence that curcumin may be used as an effective and safe therapy for treatment in patients with Mild Depression.

3. Anti-inflammatories

Arguably, the most powerful aspect of curcumin is its ability to control inflammation.

The journal Oncogene published the results of a study that evaluated several anti-inflammatory compounds and found that aspirin and ibuprofen are least effective, while curcumin, is among the most effective anti-inflammatory compounds in the world.

This news should have reached every household in the world after the study was conducted because inflammation puts people at risk for almost every disease process known to man.

Diseases today such as cancer, ulcerative colitis, arthritis, high cholesterol and chronic pain can be the result of inflammation.

As you will see below in several other articles related to chronic illness, keep this in the back of your mind: Turmeric’s key to disease reversal may be its ability to keep inflammation at bay. 

4. Arthritis management

Because curcumin is known for its powerful anti-inflammatory and pain reducing characteristics, a study was conducted on 45 rheumatoid arthritis patients to compare the benefits of curcumin in turmeric to arthritis drugs (diclofenac sodium), that put people at risk of developing leaky gut and heart disease.

The study split these volunteers into three groups: curcumin treatment alone, diclofenac sodium alone, and a combination of the two. The results of the trial were eye-opening:

The curcumin group showed the highest percentage of improvement in overall [Disease Activity Score] scores and these scores were significantly better than the patients in the diclofenac sodium group. More importantly, curcumin treatment was found to be safe and did not relate with any adverse events. Our study provides the first evidence for the safety and superiority of curcumin treatment in patients with active RA, and highlights the need for future large-scale trials to validate these findings in patients with RA and other arthritic conditions.

Published by Phytotherapy Research in 2012, the results of this study has encouraged more human research to evaluate the amazing effects curcumin-rich plants like turmeric has on people suffering from various different types of arthritis.

5. Cancer treatment

Of all the various topics scientists have tackled in regards to the curcumin and disease reversal, cancer (of various types) is one of the most thoroughly researched topics. In the words of global authorities like Cancer Research UK,

A number of laboratory studies on cancer cells have shown that curcumin does have anticancer effects. It seems to be able to kill cancer cells and prevent more from growing. It has the best effects on breast cancer, bowel cancer, stomach cancer and skin cancer cells. 

A 2007 American study that combined curcumin with chemotherapy to treat bowel cancer cells in a laboratory showed that the combined treatment killed more cancer cells than the chemotherapy alone. 

States-side, the American Cancer Society states,

Laboratory studies have also shown that curcumin interferes with cancer development, growth, and spread. Researchers have reported that curcumin blocked the formation of cancer-causing enzymes in rodents.

Recently, curcumin has received a great deal of focus because of it’s ability to reduce tumor size and kill cancer cells.

Bottom line: Turmeric works incredibly well to help naturally treat cancer and is especially effective at treating breast cancer, colon cancer and skin cancer.

6. Diabetes management

For lowering blood sugar and reversing insulin resistance there’s arguably no better natural treatment than adding turmeric into your diet.

In 2009, Biochemistry and Biophysical Research Communications published a study out of Auburn University that explored how supplementing with turmeric can help reverse diabetes.

The study discovered that curcumin in turmeric is literally 400 times more potent than Metformin (a common diabetes drug) in activating AMPK which improves insulin sensitivity which can help reverse Type 2 Diabetes.

In addition to correcting the causes of diabetes, curcumin has also been proven to help reverse many of the issues related to insulin resistance and hyperglycemia.

Take, for instance, diabetic neuropathy and retinopathy. One of the most common complications of diabetes is damaged blood vessels which cause blindness.

A study found that supplementing with curcumin can delay this horrible complication of diabetes because of its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties.

7. Gastrointestinal treatments

Oftentimes, people with digestive and stomach complaints become intolerant to medical interventions because the stomach flora is already compromised and drugs can literally tear up the mucosal lining.

An in-depth analysis of all the studies evaluating curcumin’s ability to manage inflammatory bowel disease (IBS, Crohn’s disease, and Ulcerative Colitis) found that many patients were able to stop taking their prescribed corticosteroids because their condition improved so dramatically by taking curcumin! 

For many patients with IBD (inflammatory bowel disease) corticosteroids reduce their pain symptoms, but damage the intestinal lining over time actually making the condition worse.

However, supplementing with curcumin did not have these side effects and, because of its anti-inflammatory properties, actually helped heal the gut and supported the growth of good bacteria (probiotics).

8. Cholesterol regulators

One of the reasons heart disease is such a problem in the U.S. is that people are developing pre-diabetes (excessive blood sugar) at an alarming rate.

In turn, diabetics and non-diabetics alike are suffering from a common complication called oxidative stress, which damages the inside of blood vessels.  Because of this damage to the arteries, cholesterol begins to build up to patch up the damaged areas which leads to high levels of LDL cholesterol.

Traditionally, statin drugs (like Lipitor) are widely known to harm the kidneys and liver and cause a number of deadly side effects.  They do bring cholesterol down but never address that actual cause which is oxidative stress that is caused by high blood sugar levels and inflammation.

Thankfully, medical doctors are becoming more and more aware of the dangerous side effects of statin-drugs and prescribing natural alternatives like curcumin and fish oil instead!

A study done by Drugs in R & D found that curcumin was equal or more effective than diabetes medications at reducing oxidative stress and inflammation in the treatment of high cholesterol.

Studies like these are causing pharmaceutical companies to try and design a synthetic form of curcumin that unfortunately, will not work as well as the real thing.

9. Painkillers

One of the more widely accepted properties of curcumin in scientific communities is its ability to manage pain.

Just this past year the European Journal of Pharmacology published research that discovered curcumin naturally activates the opioid system in diabetic rats. Typically manipulated by drugs, this natural process serves as the body’s inherent pain-relieving response.

Not being limited to diabetic pain conditions, an interesting study also published late last year gives us a clue as to the wide array of pain conditions that can be treated by curcumin.

Take, for instance, severe burns. Typically, burn victims are treated by dangerous opioids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories. However, because of its anti-inflammatory benefits, U.S. Army Institute of Surgical Research suggests that, curcumin should be used to treat burns instead of these conventional medications.

The trend should becoming clear at this point. Therapeutic use of turmeric and other curcumin-rich plants are displacing conventional medical treatments and proving it’s a legitimate natural painkiller.

10. Steroids

Lastly, we’ll take a look at how turmeric benefits the many conditions normally treated by corticosteroids such as:

  • Psoriasis
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Scleroderma
  • Chronic pain              

In a 1999 breakthrough clinical study, it was found that curcumin has the ability to cure chronic inflammation of the eye.  Typically this condition was only treated with steroids but today it’s common for medical doctors who practice functional medicine to prescribe curcumin instead.

What cannot be overstated, however, is that although statistically “comparable” to steroids in managing and reversing chronic disease, “The lack of side effects with curcumin is its greatest advantage compared with corticosteroids,” as stated by the authors in the above study out of K.G. Medical College.

To give you a sense of the amount of suffering alleviated by curcumin, the following is a sample of steroid side effects listed by the UK’s National Health Services (NHS):

  • Acne
  • Asthma
  • Cancer
  • Cataracts
  • Delayed wound healing
  • Diabetes onset
  • Glaucoma
  • Hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Increased appetite (oftentimes leading to increased weight)
  • Indigestion
  • Insomnia
  • Kidney and thyroid issues
  • Mood disturbances (including aggression, irritability, and rapid mood swings mimicking bipolar disorder)
  • Muscle weakness
  • Nausea
  • Risk of infection
  • Stunted growth in children
  • Tachycardia (rapid heartbeat)
  • Thinning skin (leading to easy bruising)

Ultimately, when taking into account the large amount of deadly complications these 10 drugs puts your body at risk for, it is easy to see how taking therapeutic curcumin is superior to most medicines.

If you have any of the diseases above, you will want to consider this natural approach first. For those of you who aren’t sick, taking turmeric will serve you well as a preventative measure.


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Turmeric Side Effects

Some people have reported allergic reactions to turmeric, especially after skin exposure. Typically this is experienced as a mild, itchy rash. In addition, high doses of turmeric have been observed to cause:

  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Increased risk of bleeding
  • Increased liver function tests
  • Hyperactive gallbladder contractions
  • Hypotension (lowered blood pressure)
  • Uterine contractions in pregnant women
  • Increased menstrual flow

People taking certain medications should also be careful when using turmeric in their food or supplementing with it. Turmeric may interfere with anti-coagulants like aspirin, clopidogrel and warfarin. It also can affect medications such as non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs. As with any herb or supplement, use as directed.

If you’re in the position where you must be on prescription medications, don’t discount the need to include ample amounts of fresh, organic turmeric into your diets because it will help reduce the adverse affects of the medicine.

A study that was published in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology describes how combing curcumin with prednisolone (a steroid) effectively reduces the side effects of this dangerous medication.


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Turmeric Drink

Turmeric Recipes

One of my favorite recipes for including turmeric benefits into your diet is turmeric tea “liquid gold”.

Also, consuming turmeric eggs for breakfast and curried carrot soup is an excellent way to get more turmeric in your diet.

Amazingly, anti-arthritic activity and a marked reduction in steroid toxicity was seen when supplementing with curcumin.

At the end of the day, the research speaks for itself and we cannot think of one reason why EVERYONE shouldn’t be taking some form of turmeric every day.

Whether as a supplement or a spice to flavor your food, you will certainly be satisfied with turmeric benefits for your body!


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Turmeric Supplements 

Along with adding turmeric into your diet you may also consider taking it or curcumin in supplement form. I personally recommend consuming a CO2 extracted form of turmeric.

Also, according to a study, published in Planta Medica, taking turmeric in combination with black pepper, which contains piperine, improves turmeric absorbability throughout the entire body. They added 20mg of piperine to 2000mg Turmeric, and it increased the bioavailability of Turmeric 154 percent!

Source: Draxe

What are the health benefits of cinnamon?

Cinnamon has a long history of use as a medicine in both Eastern and Western cultures. Some of its reported uses are in cases of arthritis, asthma, cancer, diarrhea, fever, heart problems, insomnia, menstrual problems, peptic ulcers, psoriasis, and spastic muscles. There are scientific studies to support some of these uses. Some of the confirmed effects of cinnamon are as a sedative for smooth muscle, circulatory stimulant, carminative, digestant, anticonvulsant, diaphoretic, diuretic, antibiotic, and antiulcerative. One recent investigation of sixty people with type-2 diabetes demonstrated that 1 to 6 g of cinnamon taken daily for 40 days reduced fasting blood glucose by 18 to 29 percent, triglycerides by 23 to 30 percent, LDL (bad) cholesterol by 7 to 27 percent, and total cholesterol by 12 to 26 percent. In contrast, there were no clear changes for the subjects who did not take the cinnamon.

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Cinnamon’s unique healing abilities come from three basic components in the essential oils found in its bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances.

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Cinnamon is often used in multi-component Chinese herbal formulas, some of which have been studied for clinical effects. For example, cinnamon combined with Chinese thorough wax (Bupleurum falcatum) and Chinese peony (Paeonia lactiflora) was shown to produce satisfactory results in the treatment of epilepsy. Out of 433 patients treated (most of who were unresponsive to anticonvulsant drugs), 115 were cured and another 79 improved greatly.

Improvements were noted not only by clinical symptoms, but also in brain wave patterns. Other clinical studies have shown cinnamon-containing formulae to be useful in cases of common cold, influenza, and frostbite. To what degree the improvements noted are actually due to cinnamon versus the other components is not really known.

Source: sharecare

5 Reasons Not To Take The Cinnamon Challenge

The Cinnamon Challenge is this millennium’s version of your mother admonishing you with, “If someone tells you to jump off a cliff, would you?,” for taking on a dare from your friends.

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The challenge — attempting to swallow a tablespoon of cinnamon powder in 60 seconds without liquids — isn’t just painful. According to a paper published yesterday in the journal Pediatrics, cinnamon misuse was cited in almost 200 calls to U.S. poison control centers during the first half of 2012 with 30 of these cases requiring medical attention.

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The corresponding author, Dr. Steven E. Lipshultz of the University of Miami School of Medicine, suggests that the combination of cinnamon’s caustic chemical and undigestible cellulose matrix makes the practice particularly damaging to the lungs.

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The lungs?

Yes, the ingestion of the powder invariably stimulates the gag reflex followed by inhalation of the powder that’s stuck inside the mouth and throat. The pain then causes rapid exhalation characterized by “dragon breath” upon blowing the powder out. Good times.

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The complete PDF of this Pediatrics report is currently available online without a subscription.

The idea of the challenge has circulated for years but has intensified with the popularity of YouTube, especially in the last three years. The oldest YouTube video documenting such a challenge was uploaded on April 2, 2006. Pre-YouTube, the Cinnamon Challenge was first documented on the web by Michael Buffington as it was played by Erik Goodlad on December 21, 2001, according to KnowYourMeme.com. The CC2K1 was then reported by Jason Kottke on December 22, 2001. Buffington’s original URL is no longer active but is archived at his current site, collusioni.st.

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So if it’s not already apparent, why shouldn’t you take the Cinnamon Challenge?

1.  “Natural ” is not always safe.  Just because cinnamon is a naturally-occurring spice — it’s harvested from the dried bark of several Cinnamomum tree species — doesn’t mean it can’t be harmful. Cinnamon is deemed safe for consumption as a food additive under the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s classification of Generally Recognized As Safe, or GRAS, list. But the FDA is silent on spice inhalation.

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2. Cinnamaldehyde rhymes with formaldehyde. The chemical that gives cinnamon its characteristic smell and zing is known as cinnamic aldehyde, or cinnamaldehyde. This means there’s a part of the chemical that acts like formaldehyde that binds and “fixes” human tissue. Do you remember smelling formaldehyde in your high school biology class when dissecting some dead animal? That’s what cinnamaldehyde can do in high concentrations. (Okay, I’m being overly dramatic here. It’s #3 that’s the biggest health problem).

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3. Cinnamon is ground tree bark. So not only are you inhaling a tissue fixative, you’re also inhaling powdered bark. That’s why it’s difficult to spit out or, more importantly, get out of your lungs. The cellulose matrix of tree bark acts like a sustained release medicine, but in this case releasing a painful and damaging chemical. The body cannot metabolize cellulose. That’s probably okay for the stuff that’s swallowed. It’ll only burn tomorrow morning at potty time. But the stuff in the lungs is hard to expire. In my grandfather’s day, inhaling coal dust led to a condition called black lung. In my father’s day, people would get a lung cancer called mesothelioma from inhaling asbestos fibers. In 1984, a paper in the British Journal of Industrial Medicine detailed the lung disease and hair and weight loss in Sri Lankan spice workers who process cinnamon quills.

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4. Only doing it once can trigger an asthma attack. Doing it once won’t cause any of these chronic illnesses — probably. This 1995 paper in the Indian Journal of Medical Research shows that rats given a single intratracheal dose of cinnamon powder can develop severe lung damage a month later. In humans, inhaling cinnamon powder even once could at least cause an asthma attack, or uncontrollable spasms and narrowing of the bronchioles. While I haven’t yet seen any reports of deaths associated with the Cinnamon Challenge, I would never attempt doing this because I have a history of asthma and try to steer away from anything that might trigger a fatal asthma attack. In fact, I really don’t care for non-fatal asthma attacks. You shouldn’t either.

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5.  Just because you saw it on YouTube, does that mean you should do it?

That’s what my generation is currently telling their kids.

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Friends don’t let friends do the Cinnamon Challenge.

Source: Forbes

Watch the Mythbusters Cinnamon Challenge here on our Facebook page

10 Evidence-Based Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a highly delicious spice.

It has been prized for its medicinal properties for thousands of years.

Modern science has now confirmed what people have instinctively known for ages.

Here are 10 health benefits of cinnamon that are supported by scientific research.

1. Cinnamon is High in a Substance With Powerful Medicinal Properties

Cinnamon is a spice that is made from the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum.

It has been used as an ingredient throughout history, dating back as far as Ancient Egypt. It used to be rare and valuable, and was regarded as a gift fit for kings.

These days, cinnamon is cheap, available in every supermarket and found in all sorts of foods and recipes.

There are two main types of cinnamon (1):

  • Ceylon cinnamon: Also known as “true” cinnamon.
  • Cassia cinnamon: This is the more common variety today, what people generally refer to as “cinnamon.”

Cinnamon is made by cutting the stems of the cinnamomum tree. The inner bark is then extracted and the woody parts removed from it.

When it dries, it forms strips that curl into rolls, called cinnamon sticks. The sticks can be ground to form cinnamon powder.

This is what cinnamon looks like:

The distinct smell and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part, which is very high in a compound called cinnamaldehyde (2).

It is this compound that is responsible for most of cinnamon’s powerful effects on health and metabolism.

Bottom Line: Cinnamon is a popular spice. It is high in a substance called cinnamaldehyde, which is responsible for most of the health benefits.

2. Cinnamon is Loaded With Antioxidants

Cinnamon in a Glass Bowl

Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.

Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols (3, 4, 5).

In a study that compared the antioxidant activity of 26 spices, cinnamon wound up as the clear winner, even outranking “superfoods” like garlic and oregano (6).

In fact, it is so powerful that cinnamon can be used as a natural food preservative (7).

Bottom Line: Cinnamon contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants.

3. Cinnamon Has Anti-Inflammatory Properties

Tea With Cinnamon and Lemon

Inflammation in the body is incredibly important.

It helps the body fight infections and repair tissue damage.

However, inflammation can become a problem when it is chronic (long-term) and directed against the body’s own tissues.

Cinnamon may be useful in this regard, because some studies show that the antioxidants in it have potent anti-inflammatory activity (3).

Bottom Line: The antioxidants in cinnamon have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help lower the risk of disease.

4. Cinnamon May Cut the Risk of Heart Disease

Heart and Stethoscope

Cinnamon has been linked with reduced risk of heart disease, the world’s most common cause of premature death.

In people with type 2 diabetes, 1 gram of cinnamon per day has beneficial effects on blood markers.

It reduces levels of total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while HDL cholesterol remains stable (8).

More recently, a big review study concluded that a cinnamon dose of just 120 milligrams per day can have these effects. In this study, cinnamon also increased HDL (the “good”) cholesterol (9).

In animal studies, cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood pressure (3).

When combined, all these factors may drastically cut the risk of heart disease.

Bottom Line: Cinnamon can improve some key risk factors for heart disease, including cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure.

5. Cinnamon Can Improve Sensitivity to The Hormone Insulin

Insulin is one of the key hormones that regulate metabolism and energy use.

Girl Smelling Cup of Coffee

It is also essential for the transport of blood sugar from the bloodstream and into cells.

The problem is that many people are resistant to the effects of insulin.

This condition, known as insulin resistance, is a hallmark of serious conditions like metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.

Well, the good news is that cinnamon can dramatically reduce insulin resistance, helping this incredibly important hormone to do its job (10, 11).

By helping insulin do its job, cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels, which brings us to the next point…

Bottom Line: Cinnamon has been shown to significantly increase sensitivity to the hormone insulin.

6. Cinnamon Lowers Blood Sugar Levels and Has a Powerful Anti-Diabetic Effect

Cinnamon Powder

Cinnamon is well known for its blood sugar lowering effects.

Apart from the beneficial effects on insulin resistance, cinnamon can lower blood sugar by several other mechanisms.

First, cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a meal.

It does this by interfering with numerous digestive enzymes, which slows the breakdown of carbohydrates in the digestive tract (12, 13).

Second, a compound in cinnamon can act on cells by mimicking insulin (14, 15).

This greatly improves glucose uptake by cells, although it acts much slower than insulin itself.

Numerous human trials have confirmed the anti-diabetic effects of cinnamon, showing that it can lower fasting blood sugar levels by up to 10-29% (16, 17, 18).

The effective dose is typically 1-6 grams of cinnamon per day (around 0.5-2 teaspoons).

Bottom Line: Cinnamon has been shown to both reduce fasting blood sugar levels, having a potent anti-diabetic effect at 1 to 6 grams per day.

7. Cinnamon May Have Beneficial Effects on Neurodegenerative Diseases

Standing Cinnamon Sticks

Neurodegenerative diseases are characterized by progressive loss of the structure or function of brain cells.

Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease are two of the most common types.

Two compounds found in cinnamon appear to inhibit the buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease (19, 20, 21).

In a study looking at mice with Parkinson’s disease, cinnamon helped to protect neurons, normalize neurotransmitter levels and improve motor function (22).

These effects need to be studied further in humans.

Bottom Line: Cinnamon has been shown to lead to various improvements for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in animal studies.

8. Cinnamon May Be Protective Against Cancer

Cancer is a serious disease, characterized by uncontrolled growth of cells.

Vintage Cookbook With Cinnamon Sticks

Cinnamon has been widely studied for its potential use in cancer prevention and treatment.

Overall, the evidence is limited to test tube experiments and animal studies, which suggest that cinnamon extracts may protect against cancer (23, 24, 25, 26, 27).

It acts by reducing the growth of cancer cells and the formation of blood vessels in tumors, and appears to be toxic to cancer cells, causing cell death.

A study in mice with colon cancer revealed cinnamon to be a potent activator of detoxifying enzymes in the colon, protecting against further cancer growth (28).

These findings were supported by test tube experiments, which showed that cinnamon activates protective antioxidant responses in human colon cells (29).

Whether cinnamon has any effect in living, breathing humans needs to be confirmed in controlled trials.

Bottom Line: Animal studies and test tube experiments indicate that cinnamon may have protective effects against cancer.

9. Cinnamon Helps Fight Bacterial and Fungal Infections

Coffee With Cinnamon

Cinnamaldehyde, the main active component of cinnamon, may help fight various kinds of infection.

Cinnamon oil has been shown to effectively treat respiratory tract infections caused by fungi.

It can also inhibit the growth of certain bacteria, including Listeria and Salmonella (30, 31).

The antimicrobial effects of cinnamon may also help prevent tooth decay and reduce bad breath (32, 33).

Bottom Line: Cinnamaldehyde has antifungal and antibacterial properties, which may reduce infections and help fight tooth decay and bad breath.

10. Cinnamon May Help Fight The HIV Virus

Cinnamon Sticks

HIV is a virus that slowly breaks down the immune system, which can eventually lead to AIDS if untreated.

Cinnamon extracted from Cassia varieties is thought to help fight against HIV-1 (34, 35).

This is the most common strain of the HIV virus in humans.

A laboratory study looking at HIV infected cells found that cinnamon was the most effective treatment of all 69 medicinal plants studied (36).

Human trials are needed to confirm these effects.

Bottom Line: Test tube studies have shown that cinnamon can help fight HIV-1, the main type of HIV virus in humans.

It is Better to Use Ceylon (“True” Cinnamon)

Not all cinnamon is created equal.

The Cassia variety contains significant amounts of a compound called coumarin, which is believed to be harmful in large doses.

All cinnamon should have health benefits, but Cassia may cause problems in large doses due to the coumarin content.

Ceylon (“true” cinnamon) is much better in this regard, and studies show that it is much lower in coumarin than the Cassia variety (37).

Unfortunately, most cinnamon found in supermarkets is the cheaper Cassia variety.

Take Home Message

At the end of the day, cinnamon is one of the most delicious and healthiest spices on the planet.

It can lower blood sugar levels, reduce heart disease risk factors, and has a plethora of other impressive health benefits.

Just make sure to get Ceylon cinnamon, or stick to small doses if you’re using the Cassia variety.

Source: Authority Nutrition

Ceylon cinnamon lowers blood sugar better than drugs

For us here at Pure Cinnamon and Sundara Botanical, our parent company, when we speak of Cinnamon we are speaking of Ceylon Cinnamon, not Cassia Cinnamon. Ceylon Cinnamon has 200 times less Courmarin (a potentially harmful compound) than Cassia Cinnamon. Ceylon Cinnamon contains much higher levels of Cinnamon Oil as well.

Here is an article from naturalnews.com that explains the benefits and the risks of using Cinnamon from Ceylon against using Cassia Cinnamon.

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Ceylon cinnamon lowers blood sugar better than drugs: Study

Type 2 diabetes is definitely among the more frustrating diseases, in that the conventional treatment model requires daily oral medicine or constant needle pricks while providing no lasting cure. But a growing body of research suggests that regular supplementation with cinnamon could help in thwarting the onset of diabetes, and potentially even provide better relief than mainstream therapies for already-diagnosed diabetics.

Most Australians are familiar with cinnamon as a tasty spice used in oatmeal, pumpkin pie, egg nog and a variety of other often holiday dishes. But a recent meta-analysis published in the Journal of Medicinal Food found that cinnamon is also capable of lowering fasting blood glucose levels. Paul Davis, a research nutritionist at the University of California, Davis, (UCD) recently explained his work to NPR.

“Yes, it does work,” Davis stated to NPR about the blood sugar-regulating effects of common cinnamon. “According to our results, it’s a modest effect of about 3 to 5 percent,” he added, noting that cinnamon is on par with many older generation diabetes drugs in terms of efficacy.

But where cinnamon has a real leg up on all those drugs prescribed for diabetes is its safety profile. Apart from isolated claims that the coumarin content in cinnamon could potentially be harmful to the liver — one would have to consume ghastly amounts of cinnamon for it to ever become harmful, despite all the hype — there are no harmful side effects associated with consuming therapeutic doses of cinnamon.

“Cinnamon intake, either as whole cinnamon or as cinnamon extract, results in a statistically significant lowering in FBG [fasting blood glucose] and intake of cinnamon extract only also lowered FBG,” wrote Davis and his colleagues about their findings. “Thus cinnamon extract and/or cinnamon improves FBG in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.”

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Ceylon cinnamon a better choice than the more common cassia cinnamon, say experts

Related research published in the journal The Annals of Family Medicine observed similar benefits with regard to lipid levels. Researchers from Western University of Health Sciences’ College of Pharmacy found that cinnamon intake helps lower levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and triglycerides, two substances commonly associated with heart disease.

“The consumption of cinnamon is associated with a statistically significant decrease in levels of fasting plasma glucose, total cholesterol, LDL-C, and triglyceride levels, and an increase in HDL-C levels,” wrote the authors.

So will just any old cinnamon do? An increasing number of experts say no, as cassia cinnamon, the most common variety in North America and Europe, contains high levels of coumarin. Though the jury is still out on whether or not coumarin is actually harmful, sticking with Ceylon cinnamon, a more rare yet more potent cinnamon variety, can provide optimal benefits with minimal risk.

Often referred to as “true” cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon contains much higher levels of cinnamon oil compared to cassia varieties. At the same time, cassia cinnamon contains upwards of 200 times more coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon, containing up to 8 percent coumarin by volume. Comparatively, Ceylon cinnamon contains a mere 0.04 percent coumarin by volume.

As far as their general medicinal value, both cassia and Ceylon cinnamon have been found to aid in gut health and free radical scavenging. Science has shown that cinnamon may also be beneficial in preventing stomach flu, improving digestion, alleviating the symptoms associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), guarding against candida infections, treating arthritis and even preventing and treating cancer.

“Several studies have indicated that cinnamon has the ability to fight off bacteria,” writes Kevin Gianni of RenegadeHealth.com. “One animal study found that a particular component in cinnamon impaired the proliferation of cancer cells and slowed tumor growth,” he adds.

Source: naturalnews.com

Turmeric and black pepper fight cancer stem cells

A new study shows that a combination of turmeric and piperine can limit the growth of stem cells for breast cancer — the cells that conventional treatment have the hardest time eliminating.

My friend Madhuri Kakarala is a physician at the University of Michigan; she’s a cancer specialist and a PhD researcher. But she’s also a nutritionist, and, like me, during her final years of medical studies she was diagnosed with cancer — a stage IV cancer of the thyroid. Madhuri decided to invest all her talent as a researcher and clinician in the task of getting well, and she rapidly arrived at the conclusion that nutritional change could significantly improve her response to her cancer treatment.

Because Madhuri is from an Indian background, she was most interested in the medical and culinary traditions of her country, and particularly fascinated by the promising effects of turmeric in the prevention and treatment of cancers.

This month Madhuri published an important article on the effect of turmeric on breast cancer stem cells. [1] Stem cells are at the center of a theory that seeks to explain why cancer can sometimes return, despite apparently effective treatment. This is because even when all the cancer cells have been eliminated  these cancer stem cells that have lied dormant and escaped treatments may be able to form entire new colonies of cancer cells. So to prevent relapse, it’s essential that we learn how to eliminate the stem cells. But unfortunately, because they don’t actively renew themselves through cell division like other cancer cells do, most existing treatments that target cancerous cells (like radiotherapy and chemotherapy) aren’t effective against stem cells. For this reason, the pharmaceutical industry has a whole sector of research devoted to developing new therapies to target and destroy stem cells.

For several years now, Madhuri’s lab at the University of Michigan has been studying the effect on breast cancer of curcumin — one of the most active substances in turmeric — and piperine, which is a substance active in black pepper. In her latest study she demonstrates that concentrations of curcumin and piperine which can be obtained through diet or from dietary supplements are capable of eliminating breast cancer stem cells, without causing any damage to the normal breast cells. In other words, this isn’t a general toxic effect on cells, like conventional anti-cancer treatments have, but an ultra-selective impact on cancer stem cells alone.

“This shows that these compounds are not toxic to normal breast tissue,” Madhuri says. “Women at high risk of breast cancer right now can choose to take the drugs tamoxifen or raloxifene for prevention, but most women won’t take these drugs because there is too much toxicity. The concept that dietary compounds can help is attractive, and curcumin and piperine appear to have very low toxicity.”

The possible anti-cancer properties of curcumin and piperine have been the object of many other studies. But this study is the first to show that they may have a targeted effect on stem cells. Medications like tamoxifen or raloxifene only act against cancers that are sensitive to estrogen. If curcumin and piperine can target stem cells, they have the potential to be useful in many types of breast cancer, particularly those that aren’t estrogen-sensitive — and these are often the most aggressive.

Madhuri’s study was performed on cell colonies in Petri dishes, in lab conditions. So we haven’t yet reached the stage of a clinical study that would establish guidelines for recommendations to take turmeric supplements at specific dosages for certain types of cancer. However, given that turmeric and pepper, taken as part of a normal diet, are practically never toxic in any way, it seems to me to be perfectly reasonable to recommend that all of us regularly consume a soupspoon of turmeric every day, with a pinch of pepper. You can use it in all your cooking, just like I’ve been doing for years.

Caution: Note that it is often safest to avoid turmeric during chemotherapy as well as a three days before and after the treatment. This is because it can – rarely, but it can – interfere with some chemotherapy treatments and reduce their benefits.

Reference: 1. Kakarala, M., et al., Targeting breast stem cells with the cancer preventive compounds curcumin and piperine. Breast Cancer Research & Treatment, 2009.

Source: http://www.anticancerbook.com/post/Turmeric-and-black-pepper-fight-cancer-stem-cells.html

Turmeric, the spice of life

Not far from the surfer’s paradise of Hanalei, on Kauai’s north shore, grows a spice as golden as a Hawaiian sunrise that might just offer our bodies the same kind of healthy glow.

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Turmeric powder and roots

It’s called turmeric — a member of the ginger family – that, before it’s washed, looks a bit like an ugly carrot. Turmeric is not a root, but a rhizome, which means its stem is where all the good stuff is found.

Native to India, turmeric has been around for thousands of years, but only recently has it caught on here in the West.

And now, people can’t get enough.

When asked how many thousands of pounds of turmeric he expects to ship out this year, Phil Green replied, “Major tonnage!”

Phil and his wife, Linda, bought a 45-acre farm over a decade ago. They had planned a semi-quiet retirement, until turmeric became one of the most talked-about new superfoods.

Cowan asked, “Did you know what it was?”

“Barely!” laughed Linda. “To me, turmeric was a powdered spice in a jar that stayed on your shelf until you needed it in a curry recipe, you know?”

Curries are its most common use, but turmeric’s taste is only part of its allure.

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Scattered to the wind, it’s a sacred part of Hindu ceremonies. It’s also been used as a dye for fabrics — it’s even what gives mustard its bright, yellow hue. But the very thing that makes turmeric so colorful — a compound called curcumin — is what some researchers say also makes it a powerful weapon against disease.

Biophysicist Ajay Goel has been studying its medicinal qualities at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas.

“We’re doing clinical trials on Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, arthritis, diabetes,” said Goel.

“And it seems to have an effect on all these different conditions?” Cowan asked.

“Absolutely. It is such a wonderful compound that has been shown to work in every single instance people have tried.”

Goel says thousands of studies have shown that, in a concentrated-enough dose, the curcumin in turmeric has not only proven to be an effective antioxidant and anti-inflammatory, but also shows promise in preventing and even treating something as serious as cancer.

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Turmeric capsules

“What we’re trying to understand is, what are the processes, what are the mechanisms of how it functions?” Goel said.

“So you know it works for the most part, but you’re not quite sure why?”

“Yes, exactly.”

While he says more research needs to be done, the word in already out at trendsetting restaurants like Café Gratitude in Los Angeles. There, turmeric is mixed with steamed almond milk, or blended into a shot served with a dose of cayenne pepper.

Café Gratitude’s co-owner, Ryland Englehart, said, “In a petri dish, that can knock out, like, diseases. I mean, it’s crazy. It’s become a phenomenon. It is the buzz word in the health world.”

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So much so, Google’s Food Trends Report called turmeric a rising star of 2016.

Cowan asked Englehart if turmeric was as good as its hype.

“People love it, they come back for it,” he replied. “Do I exactly know what it’s providing for people? No.”

The Greens aren’t sure, either. But if it’s both healthy and a cash crop, so be it.

“Farmers grow what people want, what people demand,” Linda Green said. “And so we kept increasing because it kept selling.”

We’ve all heard the advice: “Eat the colors of the rainbow.” And in Hawaii, this brightly-colored spice just might be the pot of gold at the end of one, too.

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