Cinnamon Is one of our favourite spices and a remarkably familiar flavour. You must have tasted it on your porridge, cinnamon cakes, Cinnamon tea or sprinkled it on your hot chocolate. Its sweet aroma has a soothing effect that immediately reminds us of freshly baked cinnamon rolls in the oven. But have you ever wondered where it comes from? It is perhaps a little bit surprising, but this fragrant spice is the bark of the trees. It grows in the lush green forests in a country called Sri Lanka (in Asia in the Indian Ocean). Sometimes, it is referred to as the teardrop of India because it looks a little bit like a droplet falling from the coast of India.
The Plantation of Cinnamon
The cinnamon plants grow well along the southwest coast of Sri Lanka and in the low hills, this is because they are both areas where the heavy monsoon rainfalls making them very humid and green. After being planted the tree takes around two years to grow to be 12 to 15 feet tall. The trees are of a certain height. The farmers know the trees are ready to harvest. They are continually planting new cinnamon plants to make sure they always have enough to keep up with demand. The farmers train the plants to grow as straight as possible they do. This because straight branches mean straight sticks of cinnamon.
The cinnamon in Sri Lanka is harvested by hand, using a blade like a machete. It takes a lot of hard work to cut down the trees. Especially as Sri Lanka is such a hot and humid country but the people who do it are very skilled at it. Then, the trees are cut and tied together before loading them onto a truck. Before taking to the peeling factory, the branches are dipped in water to soften the bark to remove it easily. Then this man called a peeler removes nuts from the branch as well as the outer bark.
To the parts of the World.
In Sri Lanka, Peeling bark from the branch is a very skilled and traditional job. so that the fragrant in the bark is peeled off and packed together.
The bark naturally curls together forming sticks that are called cinnamon quills. These quills are placed high up near the ceiling and left to dry in the heat of the day. These quills are then bundled up before being weighed and packed into containers to send to the different countries in the world.
It is available in quills and the powdered form as well in our nearby grocery stores and supermarkets.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon apart from its culinary uses.
1. Cinnamon prevents candida.
It has powerful antifungal properties that could be effective in treating and preventing candida overgrowth in the digestive tract. Studies have shown that it can lower the amounts of dangerous Candida albicans which is a yeast that causes candidiasis and fungal infections and can cause a variety of digestive and autoimmune issues.
2. Cinnamon preserves brain function.
It is extremely rich in antioxidants because this is extremely useful in preserving brain function. Research shows that it can boost brain function and help defend against the development of neurological disorders. Such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease which is now becoming more common among elderly people. It helps block the build-up of specific proteins in the brain and reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. This spice also protects neurons against oxidative stress which can help to preserve brain function and prevent cognitive decline.
3. Cinnamon helps with diabetes.
Cinnamon powder is becoming well known for its anti-diabetic effects which is why it is considered one of the best foods for diabetics. It lowers blood sugar and improves insulin sensitivity. People with diabetes type 2 can experience significant positive effects on blood sugar markers just by supplementing with cinnamon extract.
4. Cinnamon fights infections and viruses.
It contains natural antimicrobial, antibiotic, anti-fungal and antiviral properties and the essential organized powerful immune-boosting compounds as well. Cinnamon oil particularly can also protect against bacterial infections and common conditions like colds and strep throat.
5. Cinnamon has high antioxidant levels.
Antioxidants are extremely important compounds and have recently got a lot of attention especially because it slows down the ageing process. It contains antioxidants that reduce free radical damage.
6. Cinnamon protects your brain.
It does a great job in improving heart health. It also increases circulation and improves tissue repair which may be especially helpful to fight off heart attacks heart disease and strokes.
7. Cinnamon lowers cancer risk.
The antioxidant properties of cinnamon protect our cells against DNA damage cell mutations and cancerous tumour growths. It comes from a compound called cinnamaldehyde which can inhibit tumour growth and protect DNA against damage. It also kills off cancer cells but its most impressive actions against cancer are seen in colon cancer where it can improve the health of the colon reducing the risk of colon cancer.
8. Cinnamon is good for skin health.
The potential benefits for the skin are rooted in its antibiotic and antimicrobial property which can help protect the skin from irritation, rashes, allergic reactions and infections. The best thing to do and use in this area is a cinnamon essential oil which can be applied directly into the skin and reduce inflammation swelling pain and even redness and even acne. I suggest you mix it with some honey for the application.
9. Cinnamon is good for oral hygiene.
It protects against certain strains of bacteria that can cause bad breath, tooth decay, cavities and mouth infections. The essential oil has all the antimicrobial properties which combat bacteria and other infections in the mouth and act as a natural mouthwash.
It is extremely used spice in weight loss drinks these days. Drinking Cinnamon tea every morning or twice a day helps in inch loss.
There may be some side effects of having excessive Cinnamon. Let us learn about it in our next blog ‘ Side Effects of too much cinnamon.’