Powers of Herbs and Spices: Cinnamon.

26 06 2009

Cinnamon is, for many raw foodists, a very reliable friend. You want something sweet and comforting? Apple sauce, cinnamon and honey equals happy days.

Fortunately, cinnamon has many health benefits. In fact, the more you eat, the better.

Cinnamon is the inner bark of  a small tree, the Cinnamon Tree. There are two types of cinnamon, Chinese and Ceylon, of which Ceylon is generally more difficult to come by.

Studies have been made, which concluded in the suggestion that cinnamon oil and cinnamon extract have anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and anti-parasitic properties. The dreaded and common yeast infection, caused by Candida Albicans, has been shown to be severely inhibited by cinnamon. Cinnamon also helps ease the discomfort of excess gas.

Cinnamon has a warming effect on the body and so can be used to solve cold related discomforts. This includes colds and flu, and circulatory problems.

For those ladies that are prone to urinary tract infections, cinnamon has been shown to suppress completely the bacteria which causes this discomfort.

Buying

When buying cinnamon, be sure to smell it. Cinnamon should have a sweet smell, an indication that it is fresh.

Storing

Cinnamon should be kept in a sealed container in a cool, dark place. Ground cinnamon, like other powdered spices loses its flavor quickly. Ground cinnamon should keep for 6 months. Cinnamon sticks are able to retain their flavor for longer periods of time and should last for a year or more.

Preparing

If you are going to grind your own cinnamon, be sure to use Ceylon. Grinding the cinnamon quills in a coffee or spice grinder will result in a ground cinnamon with a pungent taste.