There is an email that goes around a few times a year listing all the miraculous health benefits of cinnamon. I know when it makes the rounds because just about everyone on my email list likes to forward it to me. My father got it a few years back and started using honey and cinnamon mixed together as a health tonic for his arthritis. It prompted him recently to ask me if there was a difference in which cinnamon people chose. He wanted to know if anything in the email was true.
Yes! Cinnamon can be just as amazing as the Internet makes it out to be. Yes! It matters which type of cinnamon you use for a supplement.
Different Types of Cinnamon
Most people think cinnamon is cinnamon. They are used to buying either the powder or the sticks at any local grocery store. Few look at the latin name on the jar or care what it is.
Most of the cinnamon that is found at the store is actually Cinnamomum cassia or Cinnamomum burmannii. Cassia is used in commerce because it is sturdy and doesn’t fall apart. It is easy to keep the sticks from breaking and grinding your own cinnamon with cassia isn’t a maddening mess. Cassia has a robust, spicy, warm flavor.
True Cinnamon (aka Sweet or Ceylon)
True cinnamon is also called “sweet” cinnamon. It is rarely found in stores unless you visit a specialty spice retailer. Sweet cinnamon goes by the latin name of Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum zeylanicum. You might also have this in your cupboard labeled as Ceylon cinnamon, but be careful to check for the latin name regardless. True cinnamon is very fragile. It often comes in chips because sticks simply don’t hold together very well. Grating it would be next to impossible, so instead it is best to run the chips through a coffee grinder for fresh cinnamon. Where cassia is rich and spicy, true cinnamon is sweet and light.
Which one should you use?
Both cinnamons contain beneficial compounds. You may look at the impossible list in your email as a combination of what each variety can do separately. In a cursory glance through the plant research being done on cinnamon, it appears that cassia has more studies on the reduction and control of blood sugar while true cinnamon is being used more often for its anti-inflammatory properties.
As you head into holiday baking and making, you might consider which cinnamon you want to use. How cool is it that you can tailor your meals to the health needs of your guests by changing the variety of the cinnamon you use?
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
- Anti-bacterial – It is especially good for combatting food poisoning caused by E. coli.
- Stimulant- It is a safe stimulant that does not contain caffeine.
- Improves circulatory health
- Cinnamon has compounds within it that keep our platelets from sticking together. This prevents improper clotting.
- Cinnamon improves the condition of the blood, helping to reduce cholesterol.
- Improves digestive health
- Cinnamon can be used to settle an upset stomach.
- Improves respiratory health
- Cinnamon can be helpful in a cough formula to reduce a fever and to reduce congestion.
How about you?
Which cinnamon do you have in your cupboard? Are you inspired to try another kind?