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Cinnamon - Cinnamomum cassiaIn addition to supporting healthy glucose metabolism, cinnamon has been shown to support healthy levels of lipids such as triglycerides, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein
From the earliest herbal writings almost 5000 years ago, cinnamon has imparted its exotic flavor to modern civilization. The two principal species of cinnamon, verum, and aromaticum, were treasured for enhancing food as well as for a host of important Health applications. This herb was more precious than gold, and spice traders zealously guarded their secret spice roads to Burma and Ceylon, the ancient sources of cinnamon. The explorations of di Gama and Columbus were inspired by the hope of finding new pathways to this herb, and it is fair to say that wars have been fought - and new continents discovered - all to feed the world's hunger for this spice.
Today's explorers wear lab coats and journey in uncharted scientific waters, but they still look to cinnamon for inspiration. And when looking at the activity of this ancient spice, scientists have recently discovered the metabolic equivalent of a new continent. Research at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) and other prestigious institutions suggest that cinnamon possesses a unique power amongst botanicals - it assists the body's conversion of sugar (glucose) into energy. As part of your healthy diet and lifestyle, Cinnamon promotes healthy weight management by helping glucose do its primary work - creating immediate cellular energy - rather than ending up as "stored" potential energy in the form of fat deposits.
Cinnamon contains a unique group of phytonutrients known as polyphenol polymers which have been shown in laboratory studies to both enhance and mimic insulin activity, increasing insulin-dependent glucose metabolism roughly twenty times. In other words, these laboratory studies indicate that, in the presence of these phytonutrients, glucose may convert more efficiently into energy rather than be stored as potential energy in the form of fat.
Cinnamon antioxidants may also fight bacterial, fungal, and parasitic infections, especially yeast infections of the mouth (oral candidiasis) in people with compromised immune systems.
Stomachic, carminative, mildly astringent, said to be emmenagogue and capable of decreasing the secretion of milk. The tincture is useful in uterine haemorrhage and menorrhagia, the doses of 1 drachm being given every 5, 10 or 20 minutes as required. It is chiefly used to assist and flavour other drugs, being helpful in diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, and to relieve flatulence.
Cinnamon Oil has a warm, spicy aroma that is warming and mentally stimulating. It helps support healthy respiratory and circulatory systems.
As its name of Bastard Cinnamon implies, the product of this tree is usually regarded as a substitute for that of the Cinnarmomum zeylanicum of Ceylon, which it closely resembles. The cultivated trees are kept as coppices, and numerous shoots, which are not allowed to rise higher than 10 feet, spring from the roots. Their appearance when the flame-coloured leaves and delicate blossoms first appear is very beautiful. The fruit is about the size of a small olive. The leaves are evergreen, ovaloblong blades from 5 to 9 inches long. The trees are at their greatest perfection at the age of ten to twelve years, but they continue to spread and send up new shoots. The bark may be easily distinguished from that of cinnamon, as it is thicker, coarser, darker, and duller, the flavour being more pungent, less sweet and delicate, and slightly bitter. The stronger flavour causes it to be preferred to cinnamon by German and Roman chocolate makers. The fracture is short, and the quills are single, while pieces of the corky layer are often left adhering. The best and most pungent bark is cut from the young shoots when the leaves are red, or from trees which grow in rocky situations. The bark should separate easily from the wood, and be covered inside with a mucilaginous juice though the flavour of the spice is spoiled if this is not carefully removed. The wood without the bark is odourless and is used as fuel. When clean, the bark is a little thicker than parchment, and curls up while drying in the sun. It is imported in bundles of about 12 inches long, tied together with strips of bamboo and weighing about a pound. It is the kind almost universally kept in American shops. The dried, unripe fruits, or Chinese Cassia Buds, have the odour and taste of the bark, and are rather like small cloves in appearance. They have been known in Europe as a spice since the Middle Ages, being then probably used in preparing a spiced wine called Hippocras. Now they are employed in confectionery and in making Pot-Pourri.