The “True Cinnamon” or Sri Lankan Cinnamon is the dried inner stem bark of Cinnamomum Verum. Cinnamon plants are grown as bushes. When the plants are of two years age, they typically measure at about 2 meter in high and 8-12 cm at the base. It is at this stage they are ready for harvesting.
Cinnamomum verum is mostly cultivated in Sri Lanka, Malagasy Republic and Seychelles. It has originated in the central hills of Sri Lanka. In India, it is grown in one or two locations in Kerala. Cinnamon is a hardy plant and is cultivated in under varying conditions ranging from semi dried to wet zone conditions. The ideal temperature for growing cinnamon is between 20-30 degree C and rainfall between 1250 to 2500 mm. It thrives well as a forest tree at 300-350 meter above MsL.
Cinnamon leaf and bark oil are obtained by distilling the leaf and bark separately. Cinnamon bark is a popular spice with a delicate fragrance and a warm agreeable taste. It is used in the form of small pieces or powder. It is widely used in flavouring confectionary, liquors, pharmaceuticals and cosmetics. It is found to help diabetics in digestion of sugar. It has astringent; stimulant and carminative properties and can check nausea and vomiting. The cinnamon bark oil has anti-fungal properties and cinnamon leaf oil is widely used in perfumery and cosmetics
Health Benefits of Cinnamon:
Antibacterial Antiviral and Antifungal: Cinnamon contains an active component called Cinnamaldehyde and is known for its antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. It is also helpful in respiratory infections.
Antioxidant: Cinnamon is rich in antioxidants. The antioxidants in cinnamon have been found to have anti-inflammatory effects. Cinnamon fights against the infection and repair damaged tissue. It is useful in acute as well as chronic pain conditions such as arthritis.
Reduces Blood Pressure: Cinnamon contains a compound called-cinnamate It helps to reduce bad cholesterol in our body that reduces the risk of heart diseases.
Helps in Diabetes: Cinnamon has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters your bloodstream after a meal. Cinnamon powder is highly efficient in lowering blood sugar levels.
Neurodegenerative Diseases: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease are two of the most common types Neurodegenerative diseases.. Two compounds found in cinnamon help buildup of a protein called tau in the brain, which is one of the hallmarks of Alzheimer’s disease.
Protects Against Cancer: Cinnamon has anti-cancerous properties. It inhibits the growth of cancer cells and prevents the formation of blood vessels in tumors.
Digestion: Cinnamon is a well-known carminative, renowned for its digestive, anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties. Cinnamon extract helps to alleviate gastrointestinal problems.
Also read about the benefits of other commonly used spices like Ginger, Fenugreek, Fennel, Curry Leaves, Cumin Seeds, Coriander, Cloves, Cardamom, Bay Leaves, Basil, Asafoetida, Aniseeds, on our digestion and metabolism.
Aids Weight Loss: It improves the metabolic process and digestion. The high levels of antioxidants in cinnamon powder help in flushing out the toxins in our body. It also helps in cleansing away the accumulated fat. This regulates the entire system and helps weight loss.
You may also like to read Diet and Weight Loss.
Oral Health: The anti-bacterial properties of the cinnamon helps in bad breath by killing the plague and accumulated bacteria in the mouth. This helps in proper control over the problems of tooth decay as well as many kinds of gum diseases.
Skin and Hair Growth: Its antibacterial properties help to reduce skin infections like acne, eczema and rashes. Cinnamon helps remove the dead cells in the skin and keeps skin shiny and smooth.
Cinnamon can stimulate hair growth by improving blood circulation. It is also rich in anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties, which can reduce scalp problems like dry flakes, dandruff and itchy scalp.
Spices Board of India: Cinnamon | Spices Board (indianspices.com)