Cinnnamon – a spice with healing properties

cimmnamonCinnamon is a spice that is well known to Caribbean people and a number of researchers have found that apart from flavouring food, it has several remarkable health benefits.

According to the U.S, National Library of Medicine, which collects materials in major areas of health science, cinnamon can be used to help treat muscle spasms, vomiting, diarrhoea, infections, the common cold, loss of appetite, and erectile dysfunction.

It can also lower blood sugar in people with type one or type two diabetes.

(In type one the body’s immune system destroys the cells that release insulin, eventually eliminating insulin production from the body.Without insulin, cells cannot absorb sugar (glucose), which they need to produce energy.

Type two is formerly called adult-onset or non-insulin-dependent diabetes. As type two gets worse, the pancreas may make less and less insulin. This is called insulin deficiency.)

According to a study published in Diabetics Care, cinnamon may help improve glucose and lipids levels in patients with type two diabetes.

The authors of the study concluded that consuming up to six grams of cinnamon per day “reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, low-density cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type two diabetes.” and that “the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type two diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.”

In addition, a certain cinnamon extract can reduce fasting blood sugar levels in patients.

According to researchers at Tel Aviv University,  cinnamon may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease.Professor Michael Ovadia, of the Department of Zoology at  the university, said an extract found in cinnamon bark contains properties that can inhibit the development of the disease.

Recent scientific research found that feeding cinnamon to laboratory mice determined to have poor learning ability made them better learners.

“This would be one of the safest and the easiest approaches to convert poor learners to good learners,” said Kalipada Pahan, PhD, the lead researcher of the study and the Floyd A. Davis Professor of Neurology at Rush University Medical Center.

Some people are born naturally good learners, some become good learners by effort, and some find it hard to learn new tasks even with effort. Little is known about the neurological processes that cause someone to be a poor learner and how to improve performance in poor learners.

“Understanding brain mechanisms that lead to poor learning is important to developing effective strategies to improve memory and learning ability,” Pahan said.

The mice in the study received oral feedings of ground cinnamon, which their bodies metabolized into sodium benzoate, a chemical used as a drug treatment for brain damage.

When the sodium benzoate entered the mice’s brains, it increased a protein involved in memory and learning, decreased a protein that generates tonic inhibitory, and stimulated the ability to change the brain that generates, organises and stores memory.

These changes in turn led to improved memory and learning among the mice.

“We have successfully used cinnamon to reverse biochemical, cellular and anatomical changes that occur in the brains of mice with poor learning,” Pahan said.

The researchers found that after two days of training the mice to eat the cinnamon, the ” poor learning” mice had improved memory and learning at a level found in “good learning” mice. However, they did not find any significant improvement among good learners by cinnamon.

“Individual difference in learning and educational performance is a global issue,” Pahan said. “We need to further test this approach in poor learners. If these results are replicated in poor learning students, it would be a remarkable advance.”

In a related study, a neurological scientist at Rush University Medical Center, cinnamon may help stop the destructive process of multiple sclerosis (MS).

Penn State University researchers revealed that diets rich in cinnamon can help reduce the body’s negative responses to eating high-fat meals.

Cinnamon has a place both in the kitchen cupboard and on the medicine shelf.