It may be the last day of February,
but the past 2 weeks have been some of the coldest I’ve experienced since my Korean winter of 2010 when the world seemed to freeze over a period of 4 months. That’s the year when the UK was frozen and London’s Heathrow all but closed a week before Christmas. In the US, snow had hit every state, INCLUDING HAWAII!
So, now as we pile sweaters upon more sweaters in the lands of Kilts and Drams, I have a morning ritual that gives more benefit than the half wool, half acrylic outer layer I currently wear.
A whole lot – Certified Gluten-Free Oatmeal
A few big shakes – Ceylon Cinnamon
Handful – Pumpkin Seeds
More than I should – Black Molasses
Enough to cool it down for immediate eating – Rice Milk
Cinnamon is one spice you should never be without. Not only is it relatively cheap, but the health benefits rock the charts.
Here are the top things to know about Cinnamon with some tips on how to add it to your daily regimen.
Quick note… Cinnamon has 2 varieties:
- the ‘true’ species Cinnamomum verum (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) known as Ceylon or Sri Lanka Cinnamon
- the lesser species cinnamomum cassia known as Cassia.
And the difference is quite large. While Cassia still contains some of the nutrients and antibacterial, viral, and fungal abilities, Cassia has a different chemical constituency and pales in comparison. There is also a danger of thinning of the blood if used in excess. If Cassia is what you have, use 1/2 teaspoon daily for optimum benefit without worry of the adverse effects. Then when you run out, spring for the Ceylon.
All the benefits listed below are for the bark of the ‘True’, Ceylon variety.
#1 – The Ancient Chinese All Purpose Ingredient
Cinnamon was so revered in Ancient China that it was always used at the first sign of illness.
In addition, it is added to most medicines due to it’s ability to strengthen the effectiveness of other herbs in the tonics and teas.
It is one of the top warming herbs; heating your body from the core to your cold organs, then moving outward to warm the skin all while it disperses energy blockage found in the chest, shoulder, and neck.
It is especially good for weak kidneys, backache, and lack of sex drive. Pair it with powdered ginger for added effect – but not fresh ginger. Chinese Herbalists believe fresh ginger does just the opposite – creating a cooling and moistening effect on the body.
#2 – Cinnamon Oil is Anti-Everything
Here’s the list of the multitude of Anti-s;
- Fungal, inflammatory, bacterial, microbial, viral, depressant, infectious, parasitic, spasmodic…
- Cinnamon is also an immune stimulant, an astringent, and as mentioned before, a sexual stimulant
- As an antioxidant, cinnamon ranks second only to Clove… clove tea maybe, but are you really gonna put cloves on toast or ice cream, or pears, or pie, or oatmeal, or in a smoothie?
Testing has yet to find a virus, bacteria, or fungus that can survive in a dish of cinnamon oil. But use with extreme caution as cinnamon oil WILL irritate nasal passages, mucus membranes, and cause skin irritation… big time. You’ll need to dilute it with coconut or any other carrier oil at least 1:3. We get our cinnamon oil from here.
#3 – Increased Circulation – It’s for more than just keeping warm
Exactly that. Increased circulation serves every part of the body. From areas fighting inflammation, to veins and arteries, lungs and extremities, all the way to the brain. If you are a vegan and are curious about brain food that doesn’t involve fish oil, look no further. Cinnamon is a brain stimulant that has shown promise in inhibiting components found in Alzheimer’s brain plaque formations.
Along with the brain, cinnamon helps strengthen the heart and it aids digestion, weight loss, and abdominal pain. If you find yourself feeling lethargic, maybe a nice ginger and cinnamon tea would hit the spot as both fight fatigue and depression. And when paired with the herb, Dong Quai, the tonic acts to ease the pain and severity of menstruation.
#4 – Diabetes -
Before I address this final benefit, I want to remind you not to undertake a self healing program in regards to diabetes and cinnamon without the consultation and supervision of a doctor.
I’ve researched thoroughly and found that cinnamon not only increases circulation, but also assists in balancing blood sugar levels, making it extremely beneficial to those with diabetes or those susceptible to pre-diabetic conditions and the onset of Diabetes type 2.
Cinnamon improves glucose tolerance. It lowers blood sugar levels when the digestive system is dormant – also known as ‘fasting glucose sugar levels’ by 11-29%. The most promising study done in 2003 through Diabetes Care involved 60 patients taking cinnamon regularly and had reduced average fasting glucose levels, triglycerides, LDL Cholesterol, and total cholesterol by about 25% for each!
Again, don’t undertake a shift in your current medical program with regards to diabetes without discussing your options with a doctor. They might not understand the true power of cinnamon, but if you assert this is something you’d like to try, they can give you advice on how to monitor your levels properly.
So now, I turn the table back to you.
What can you do for yourself?
How many food items and meals throughout your busy day could you include a sprinkle, pinch, or portion of cinnamon? Some of my favorites are:
- anything involving Sweet Potatoes
- Pumpkin dishes
- Roasted Butternut squash
- Almond and banana smoothies
- Sprinkled on yogurt or rice-cream (ice cream made with rice milk)
- Gluten-free toast…
- Google search some more… here.
Healing with herbs, spices and natural ingredients isn’t about quantity. It’s about quality and consistency.
Can you do it now and tomorrow? And all week? How about all month? Now for a total shift… can you do it every day for the next 6 months? Take some preliminary tests on your blood sugar and cholesterol levels now to compare later.
Make a video for yourself detailing the way you feel everyday, then undertake a holistic change with cinnamon. What do you think you’ll say 6 months later when you watch that video again???
I’d like to know, as I’m sure you would too…
Where to buy…
A 160z bag of ground Organic Ceylon Cinnamon to last you a year! – around $21
A 50gram shaker of ground Organic Ceylon is good for a trial month – around $5
Both of these products are sold through Iherb.com, an online Vitamin store I LOVE and have been using for over 4 years. Their international shipping is extremely cheap (paid $15 for a 10lb box to Thailand!) and their prices are about the same as Amazon and much better than Whole Foods. $5 off if it’s your first order, too!
Or use it as an essential oil for maximum benefits. Be careful, as this one burns! Diffuse it or dilute with a carrier oil, at least 5:1 and apply topically to the soles of your feet. I get my favorite and trusted source here: mydoterra.com/holisticfamily
Sources used to write this article that weren’t included in the post:
Aroma Tools’ Modern Essentials
About Holistic Dad
Billy Bradley is a Wellness Coach and holistic living advocate, as well as an actor and an attachment parenting dad. He has travelled throughout Asia and Europe learning about nutrition, natural cuisine, and leading a healthy lifestyle. For Coaching and Speaking inquiries, contact him at email@example.com