Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years in recipes and for medicinal purposes. While it was once reserved for gifts to kings and royalty it is now available in most markets around the world. So what is it?
Cinnamon is prepared from the inner bark of trees known as Cinnamomum. Dried strips of this inner bark curl into rolls known as cinnamon sticks or quills. From this point, the cinnamon sticks can be ground into a powder or made into an extract. The essential oils found in cinnamon, particularly cinnamaldehyde, give this spice its unique properties and even its flavor and aroma.
Throughout history, this spice has been used as an ingredient dating back to Ancient Egypt as well as a staple in traditional Chinese medicine. During this period cinnamon was regarded as a rare and valuable commodity and often reserved as gifts for kings and royalty. Now we can find it at a low price in almost any market around the world.
All cinnamon is not the same though. While both of the two main types of cinnamon are healthy the have varying colors, flavors, textures, and essential oil contents. Cassia cinnamon is the most common variety today and what people generally refer to as "cinnamon." This type is derived from the Cinnamomum cassia tree, also called Cinnamomum aromaticum.
Cassia cinnamon is native to Southern China and is also known as Chinese cinnamon. This species of the spice tends to be a dark brown-red color with thicker sticks and a rougher texture than Ceylon cinnamon. It is also very cheap and considered lower quality than Ceylon cinnamon but is still the most commonly consumed variety around the world. This is the type that is often found at your local supermarket.
The "true cinnamon" or Ceylon cinnamon originated in Sri Lanka and southern parts of India. Just like cassia cinnamon, this variety also comes from the inner bark of a tree, but this species comes from the Cinnamomum verum tree. Ceylon contains many tight sticks with soft layers that are a tan-brown color and provide a highly desirable quality and texture.
Ceylon is a less-common variety that has been praised as a cooking spice for centuries and is quite expensive compared to the common cassia cinnamon. This delectable dessert spice has a delicate and mildly sweet flavor that gives many dishes their final touch. You will have better luck finding this one at a five-star restaurant, specialty foods store, or online than you will at your local supermarket.
Despite the differences in, flavor, color, texture, and price, both ceylon and cassia cinnamon contain the essential oil cinnamaldehyde which gives both varieties their flavor and aroma. Research also suggests that cinnamaldehyde is responsible for many of the health benefits this spice provides. Benefits that we thought were important enough to include cinnamon in our gold superfoods blend that is designed to detox, rejuvenate, and relax the body while speeding recovery and providing anti-inflammatory properties.
There has been documented use of cinnamon for its health benefits and medicinal properties for thousands of years from the Ancient Egyptians to Traditional Chinese Medicine. Now in the modern era, we know through scientific research and study that many of these benefits have been proven to be true.
Cinnamon is packed with powerful antioxidants including polyphenols that can protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. This superfood spice may be the antioxidant king of all cooking spices. When compared to 25 other antioxidant-containing spices cinnamon is the clear leader, even over superfoods like garlic and oregano.
The worlds leading cause of death is heart disease and cinnamon may be an easy way to help reduce your risk. 1 gram or about half a teaspoon of cinnamon has been shown to have beneficial effects on blood markers in people with type 2 diabetes. It also reduces levels of “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, while allowing “good” HDL cholesterol to remain at stable levels.
In a more recent study, a 120mg dose of cinnamon per day can promote these benefits and even increase "good" HDL cholesterol. Finally, cinnamon has been shown to reduce blood pressure in animal studies. While this still needs to be studied further in humans, research seems to suggest that this popular spice may be a great way to promote cardiovascular health.
Chronic inflammation is a harmful condition affecting many people every day. While it can be a beneficial defense response in the body, chronic levels of inflammation can lead to disorders and diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune disease, cancer, and more. This is why the intake of anti-inflammatory foods and supplements is essential for the optimal health of many people living today. Cinnamon is just one of many foods that have been shown to be beneficial in regards to lowering levels of inflammation in the body due to its potent antioxidants.
These are just a few of the many benefits this sensational spice can bring to your diet. All from a tree bark that is easy to add to your meals and snacks. Whether you buy it in the spice aisle, at a health store, on Amazon, or find the ease and convenience of a supplement like our Organic Superfood Golds that has the benefits of cinnamon and 11 other superfoods in one scoop!