Cinnamon is a bushy evergreen tree of the laurel family (Lauraceae) and the spice derived from its bark. The cinnamon tree grows in moist well-drained soils and rarely reaches more than 15 metres in height. The thick simple leaves have smooth margins and are usually oval; the veins are roughly parallel to each other. Young leaves are red and mature to a deep green. The small bisexual flowers are greenish to yellow and are borne in clusters. The fruit is a dark drupe.
Cinnamon comes in four types:
True cinnamon or Sri Lankan (Ceylon) cinnamon or Mexican cinnamon (Cinnnamonum verum or Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
Indonesian cinnamon (Cinnamomum burmanni)
Vietnamese cinnamon (Cinnamomum loureiroi)
Cassia cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum).
Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), the neighbouring Malabar Coast of India, and Myanmar (Burma) and is also cultivated in South America and the West Indies. The spice is made out of the dried inner bark and is renowned for its delicately fragrant aroma and warm sweet flavour.
Vitamins and minerals
Cinnamon has many nutrients, such as:
Vitamin A – helps form and maintain healthy teeth, skeletal and soft tissue, mucus membranes, and skin.
Thiamin – or vitamin B1, is a water-soluble vitamin found naturally in some foods and plays a vital role in the growth and function of various cells.
Niacin – or vitamin B3, helps keep the nervous system, digestive system and skin healthy.
Pantothenic acid – or vitamin B5, is necessary for making blood cells, and it helps you convert the food you eat into energy.
Pyridoxine - or vitamin B6, allows the body to use and store energy from protein and carbohydrates in food and helps form haemoglobin (the substance that carries oxygen around the body).
Vitamin C - plays a vital role in the body, including the maintenance of bones and teeth. Vitamin C also helps to boost your sleep, reduce sleep disturbances, relieve movement disorders, and decrease the dangerous effects of sleep apnoea.
Vitamin E - helps maintain healthy skin and eyes and strengthen the body's natural defence against illness and infection (the immune system).
Vitamin K - plays a key role in helping the blood clot, preventing excessive bleeding.
Beta carotene - is a provitamin; this means it is used by your body to make vitamin A
Folate - also known as vitamin B9 or folic acid. Folate is a natural form of vitamin B9 and is water soluble. It is found in many food plants. It is essential for DNA production, the development of red blood cells, and preventing anaemia. Folate is also important for preventing memory loss and boosting mood.
Riboflavin – also known as vitamin B2 - plays a crucial role in protecting the body from potentially harmful free radicals, which can cause damage to everything from skin, to hair, energy levels and even disease resistance.
Calcium – is an essential mineral and helps with muscle contraction, building strong bones and teeth, blood clotting, nerve impulse, transmission, regulating heartbeat and fluid balance within cells.
Magnesium - plays an important role in assisting more than 300 enzymes to carry out various chemical reactions in the body such as building proteins and strong bones, and regulating blood sugar, blood pressure, and muscle and nerve functions. Magnesium also acts an electrical conductor that contracts muscles and makes the heart beat steadily.
Sodium - Sodium is an essential electrolyte that helps maintain the balance of water in and around your cells. It is important for proper muscle and nerve function. It also helps maintain stable blood pressure levels.
Potassium - an essential mineral that is needed by all tissues in the body. It is sometimes referred to as an electrolyte because it carries a small electrical charge that activates various cell and nerve functions.
Copper - helps the body form collagen and absorb iron and plays a role in energy production.
Iron - Iron is a mineral vital to the proper functioning of haemoglobin, a protein needed to transport oxygen in the blood. Iron also has a role in a variety of other important processes in the body.
Manganese – Manganese is a cofactor for many enzymes and is involved in amino acid, cholesterol, glucose, and carbohydrate metabolism, bone formation, reproduction, and immune response. Manganese also plays a role in blood clotting and haemostasis in conjunction with vitamin K.
Phosphorus - an essential mineral that is naturally present in many foods. Phosphorus is a component of bones, teeth, DNA, and RNA, and plays key roles in regulation of gene transcription, activation of enzymes, maintenance of normal pH in extracellular fluid, and intracellular energy storage.
Health benefits of cinnamon
If you or any other person has any medical concern, consult with a healthcare professional. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something that you have read on this blog or in any linked materials. This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to replace medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Every person is different and may react to different herbs and teas differently. Never use teas or herbs to treat serious medical conditions on your own. Always seek professional medical advice before choosing home remedies.