Indian Spices: Cinnamon

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Indian Subcontinent has been a treasure trove to many spices and herbs. Cinnamon is one great spice of India with tremendous medicinal values. The spice is available all through the year but is of utmost significance during winters. The spice that is used as Cinnamon is actually the inner bark of the many trees of the genus Cinnamomum. The bark is used either directly or in the ground form in many a sweet and savory dishes.

Cinnamon is one essential rather indispensable spice in the Indian cuisine. It is a major component in the Indian garam masala. Kashmiris make a special hot nutritive drink with Cinnamon that helps them stay warm during the frigid winters; the drink is called ‘kehwa’. The spice is adored for its sweet, pungent taste. Cinnamon is available in the market as Chinese cinnamon and Ceylon Cinnamon. Ceylon Cinnamon is not widely available though, but has a sweeter taste than the Chinese flavor.

Cinnamon’s medicinal properties are because of the very effective essential oils found. Cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate and cinnamyl aclochol are the active chemicals found in cinnamon. Besides these, there are a many other volatile substances that render the spice some miraculous healing properties.

The cinnamaldehyde of cinnamon prevents the unnecessary dumping of blood platelets. It achieves this by inhibiting the release of arachidonic acid from the platelet membranes. Owing to this reason cinnamon is considered an anti-inflammatory food.

Cinnamon is also known for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. The essential oils of cinnamon are said to preserve food for many days. A recent research proved that a few drops of Cinnamon essential oil added to 100 ml of carrot broth secured it from bacteria for almost 60 days.

Cinnamon is proved to be a very effective cure for Blood pressure and diabetes. Seasoning food especially high carb food with Cinnamon significantly checks the raise of blood pressure. Cinnamon offers effective cure to type 2 diabetes by improving the patient’s response level to insulin.

Cinnamon is a low calorie edible spice. Cinnamon is high in dietary fiber, manganese, calcium and iron. High dietary fiber content in Cinnamon offers effective weight management. Cinnamon helps in developing stronger bones, teeth. It is good for hair. Cinnamon also helps keep cholesterol content in the blood under check thus preventing many a heart disease.

The strong sweet, pungent aroma of Cinnamon is said to stimulate cognitive abilities of the individual. Research says that Cinnamon is a great memory enhancer.

Go for cinnamon that smells the sweetest to ensure freshness. Do make it a part of your life by making herbal tea of Cinnamon or seasoning your high carb food with it. Whether you smell or eat, cinnamon does wonders to your life by enhancing its quality and of course longevity.

Anu Veluri

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