Cinnamon: A Possible Remedy for Diabetes, Yeast Infections, and Other Conditions

Cinnamon: A Possible Remedy for Diabetes, Yeast Infections, and Other Conditions

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  1. A familiar spice found in most kitchens, cinnamon may help in the fight against diabetes, yeast infections, and other ailments. Cinnamon is obtained from the bark of two varieties of the cinnamon tree–Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum aromaticum. For centuries, it has been valued as a culinary and medicinal ingredient. Herbalists and healers have traditionally used cinnamon for treating digestive disorders. The ancient Egyptians used it as an embalming spice. In 2010, scientists are researching the health benefits of cinnamon’s components.

    Diabetes

    Some studies suggest that cinnamon may help type 2 diabetics metabolize sugar properly. In a 2003 study published in Diabetes Care, researchers studied the effects of cinnamon on 60 type 2 diabetes patients. In the study, 30 patients received 1, 2, or 6 grams of cinnamon each day, while 30 other patients received placebos. The group receiving the cinnamon supplements showed a decrease in blood glucose levels, while the placebo group showed no significant change.

    However, some researchers have found no improvement from cinnamon intake. According to an article in the May, 2010 issue of the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology, test results may depend on the type of cinnamon or medication used by the subjects. More research is needed on the effects of cinnamon on type 2 diabetes.  

     Yeast Infections

    Cinnamon essential oil contains cinnamaldehyde and eugenol, compounds which appear to give the spice its antimicrobial properties. A 1974 study in the Journal of Food Science showed that cinnamon in bread dramatically reduces mold growth in the bread. Preliminary studies suggest that cinnamon is effective against Candida albicans, the fungus that causes yeast infections and oral thrush. Additional research is needed to evaluate cinnamon’s antifungal properties.

    Digestive Upset

    Traditionally, cinnamon has been a favorite remedy for gastrointestinal ailments. Herbalists recommend cinnamon tea as a carminative, or anti-gas, remedy. Its astringent and antispasmodic properties decrease discharge and appear to soothe diarrhea, nausea, and cramps. Commission E, which evaluates herbal remedies for the German Government, recommends cinnamon for relief from gastrointestinal symptoms. To prepare cinnamon tea, break a cinnamon stick into several pieces and place in a cup. Pour boiling water into the cup, cover, and steep for 10 minutes. Use occasionally for digestive upset.  

    Caution

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) includes cinnamon in its Generally Recognized as Safe list (GRAS) as a food additive. However, caution is necessary when using cinnamon in larger amounts than are normally found in foods; even a daily ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon may be excessive. Essential oils, including those found in cinnamon, can be highly toxic when taken internally. Large amounts of ground cinnamon may induce abortion. Side effects or allergic symptoms, such as skin rash or mouth sores, may develop in some individuals. Do not ingest cinnamon oil, large amounts of ground cinnamon, or cinnamon supplements, without a doctor’s supervision, or if you are pregnant or nursing. 

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