Which spice do you think is in the same ‘healthy’ league as red wine, dark chocolate and berries? Yes, we are talking about cinnamon – a native spice of the lush and sunny Caribbean, South America and Southeast Asia. The tingling flavour and aroma of this bark comes from essential oils that are rich in antiviral, antifungal, antibacterial and antioxidant qualities. It is especially rich in the antioxidant flavonoid, which controls various kinds of inflammation in our body expertly.
Cinnamon can become your go-to spice for anxiety, depression, irritability symptom control as well as to improve performance and motivation. Use it as scented car freshener to feel comparatively more relaxed even in heavy traffic. Try some soothing cinnamon tea at work to stay focused without being all wound up. This spice can help children too with ADHD symptom control by reducing oxidative stress in the body. Including it in your daily diet or even using it as candles or air freshener can help greatly with mood and stress levels. Let’s explore some other ways to use this super spice for enhancing our general wellbeing.
7 Ways to Use Cinnamon for Health and Beauty
Aches and pains:
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties that help lower swelling and inflammation. What it amounts to is that you can use it for natural pain management as in muscle soreness, toothache, menstrual pain and even advanced age-related aches and pains. It’s powder, oil, leaf oil or essential oil can be used to combat varied types of inflammations.
Clean and wipe dry your aching tooth. Now, apply a couple drops of cinnamon oil to the affected tooth and it’s neighboring ones. This will tide you over till you visit your dentist. Apply leaf oil or essential oil well diluted with water for muscle and joint soreness, sprains and even arthritic pain. Arthritic pain also responds well to the concoction of a cup of hot water, teaspoon of cinnamon powder and a teaspoon of honey taken regularly. However, be mindful of the fact that this is essentially a very warming brew and might not go well with certain medical conditions like high blood pressure.
Cold and flu:
The warming quality of this spice that increases blood oxygenation level comes in handy for taking care of cold and flu. It also has effective antibacterial properties that help relieve symptoms of cough, cold, bronchitis, chest congestion and such other respiratory conditions. Mucilage, a water-soluble fiber present in cinnamon works well in soothing a sore throat.
Enjoy a hot cup of cinnamon ginger tea to help relieve cold symptoms. Else, take a tablespoon of honey spiked with 1/4th teaspoon of cinnamon powder twice a day for about 3 days (or until symptoms mitigate). This will be helpful in countering a sore throat, clear sinuses or chronic cough.
In traditional western medicine as well as in Ayurvedic medicine, this tree bark has appeared as a gut-friendly spice. Catechins (an antioxidant) present in cinnamon not only helps with digestion but prevents bloating, constipation, IBS and more. It comes in quite handy especially after a heavy or spicy meal. If you know you are going to have a heavy meal, take 2 tablespoons of honey with a pinch of cinnamon powder beforehand. This will relieve any acidity building up and help digest the meal more comfortably. Else, have a hot cup of cinnamon tea to relieve the discomfort after a generous meal.
The antibacterial and antifungal properties of cinnamon work well for taking care of your feet. Soak your feet for about 15 minutes in a bath of 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder, 5 tablespoons of lemon juice, 1 cup milk, 1 teaspoon olive oil and 1 liter tolerably hot water. This helps take care of foot fungal growth or bacterial infection and also leaves the feet feeling soft and smooth.
Cinnamon is great for treating acne, eczema and other non-chronic skin issues because of it’s antibacterial qualities. Along with promoting collagen production, as part of a facial scrub, it can make the skin look firmer, nourished as well as more plump and supple. Mix cinnamon powder, olive oil, almond oil and sea salt or brown sugar to make a quick facial scrub. To tackle acne and pimples, apply a 1:4 mixture of cinnamon powder and honey. Leave it overnight before washing off with warm water in the morning. Repeat weekly until needed.
To make a cinnamon face mask, mix 1 tablespoon oatmeal, 2 tablespoons banana puree with 1 teaspoon yogurt, 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder. Not only will it give your skin a natural glow, but also help with rosacea, acne, pimples, and any other kind of facial skin rash.
This is a great spice for hair care too whether you use it as a scalp scrub or hair mask. To give a clean and rejuvenated makeover to your scalp, mix a teaspoon of coarsely ground cinnamon powder with a hair oil of your choice whether almond, olive oil or coconut oil. Scrub gently in circular motion for 10-15 minutes. Leave it on for 20 minutes to half an hour and then wash off with a mild shampoo.
For a refreshing hair mask, mix a teaspoon each of cinnamon powder and honey with a tablespoon of olive or almond oil and a whole egg. Leave it on for about half an hour. Wash it off with your regular shampoo for gorgeously soft tresses.
Food for thought (or rather, the brain):
Including cinnamon in our daily life can boost our cognitive function and brain health. Oxidative stress on our brain appears as age-related degeneration of brain function where the cells morph and self-destruct. One well-known instance can be Alzheimer’s. Cinnamon has certain properties that can work towards easing the symptoms and impairments to a considerable extent.
This spice works in two general ways. One, it activates the neuroprotective proteins to reduce accelerated brain cell damage, thus slowing the disease advancement down. Two, the cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin contents of cinnamon protects the structure and function of neurons by keeping the protein tau from accumulating. Though normally found in cell structures and essential for neuron function, tau protein accumulation can lead to dysfunction like Alzheimer’s.
Though cinnamon has been widely used in ancient and herbal medicine for blood pressure and diabetes symptom control, modern medicine research has been too sparse and inconclusive to provide reliable proof of it’s efficacy. So, it’s advisable to consult your physician before taking medicinal doses of cinnamon for any serious health condition like BP, diabetes, heart ailment or such others.
The flavonoids, antioxidants, manganese and phenolic compounds of cinnamon make it a very powerful spice with loads of physical and mental health benefits. Whether used in the form of essential oils, extract, bark or powdered spice, cinnamon remains nature’s own antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, disease protecting and immunity boosting super spice. Now gobbling those delicious cinnamon rolls to extinction won’t have so much power to send you on a diet guilt trip, will they 🙂 ?
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