I was asked by a co-worker if honey and cinnamon is a cure all for every ailment known to man. I certainly didn’t know the answer to this question, so I did a little research on topic.
It appears there are a lot of nutritional and research information at our finger tips that supports honey and cinnamon as very good for us. I’m not sure that when combined they are a cure all for all that ails us. But the health benefit data is pretty impressive, especially when combining honey and cinnamon in the daily diet.
What most of us do know is that honey comes from a bee’s nectar and is known as a healthy food sweetener. And Cinnamon is a spice harvested from a dried plant tree bark grown in a tropical climate. Now we can build our knowledge base from here to see how this delicious tasting sweetener and spice can be so healthy for us.
Cinnamon History and Facts,
“Although cinnamon is grown within many countries such as Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Maurtius, Reunion and Guyana, it is also grown in South American, West Indies and other tropical climates. The best and “one true cinnamon” are native to Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and are known to date back to Chinese writings in 2800 B.C.” (Filippone, 2013)
Ceylon and Cassia are the two most common cinnamon species that can be purchased within the marketplace and known to have the most potent healthy properties. Both are great antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, etc. However, it is the ancient Ceylon cinnamon that is considered by some to be denser in curing nutrients. Many studies have identified Ceylon as the best diabetes preventative and combatant medicine, where other studies show cassia regulates blood glucose just as well. Both cinnamon spices show blood thinning agent coumarin in them. (Health Diaries.com, 2013)
Taking a closer look at the Cassia species, commonly known as Chinese cinnamon, or from Saigon Cinnamon is believed to cause liver damage when taken in high quantities because of its high concentration of anticoagulant properties, but considered safe when taken in moderation. However, the blood thinning agent found in Ceylon’s true cinnamon is considered of little to no risk due to low density of naturally occurring coumarin. Note: During times of injury, it is necessary for our blood to maintain its ability to coagulate. But taking excessive intake of plant coumarin content can pose a health risk. (WHfoods.com, 2013)
The 10 most common cinnamon health benefits,
- Blood sugar regulation – Several studies show cinnamon to be beneficial for type 2 diabetics, and is likely due to regulatory effect on blood sugar.
- Lowers blood cholesterol – Half a tsp of cinnamon per day can lower the bad cholesterol (LDL).
- Cancer prevention – The U.S. Depart of Agriculture in Maryland showed cinnamon reduced lymphoma and leukemia cancer cell proliferation.
- Anti-clotting – Cinnamon has an anti-clotting (blood thinning) affect on blood.
- Helps with yeast infection – Studies show cinnamon to have the ability to stop medication resistant yeast infections.
- Anti-bacterial – If added to food it stops food spoilage and bacterial growth. It is nature’s natural food preservative.
- Brain health – A study showed cinnamon to boost cognitive brain function and memory.
- Arthritis relief – Taking a half a tsp of cinnamon powder and combined with a tsp of honey before breakfast daily; a Copenhagen University study showed significant relief of arthritis pain after a week. And in one month patients participating in the study could walk without pain.
- High in nutrients – Calcium, iron, fiber and manganese.
- E. Coli fighter – A Kansas State researcher found cinnamon to fight E. Coli bacteria found in unpasteurized juices. (Health Diaries.com, 2006)
Chinese medicine practitioners say that if Cinnamon is organic, it is warming and nourishing for our kidneys. Both Chinese and folk medicine practitioners have used honey and cinnamon in combinations for years to cure, or heal what ails them. Both offer powerful “antibiotic, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory remedies, not only for humans but also for Animals.” Common conditions this organic sweetener and spice provide when used are claimed to remedy and/or cure: Upset Stomach, immune system, colds, cholesterol, bladder infection, indigestion, longevity, gas, toothache, influenza, skin infections, weight loss, cancer, fatigue, bad breath, general infection, etc. (Halcyon, February 27, 2013)
Honey History and Facts,
Honey has long been used as a nutritional and medicinal powerful antioxidant with antiseptic and antibacterial properties for the past 2,500 years which includes the days of Aristotle (384-322BC) and its use is well documented within Greek, Roman, Christian, Islamic and other historical text. Today, honey is still considered part of an alternative medicine. Holistic practitioners consider honey one of nature’s best all-around remedies. In its raw form, honey contains about 69% glucose and fructose enabling it to be used as the sweetener we know and love to eat.
Raw honey like fine wines has its own aroma, taste and color depending on the location that it was farmed. ‘This is a surprise to many people because most honey purchased in supermarkets in the United States is made from unidentified blends of honey with a similar taste and appearance between brands. Unblended honey from various geographic locations tastes different when produced of nectar from flowers and then sweet excretions of insects (honeydew) is not mixed, or chemically treated. Just like all flowers, grapes have different colors and aromas, and so does honey.
“Depending on the proportions of flowers in the area where bees collect nectar and the timing of the collection of honey from the hives, honey may be either:
- Multifloral honey: Created from the nectar of many types of flowers around the hive, or
- Single flower or monofloral honey: Created mainly from one type of flower or honeydew
Once you have tried unblended honey from a single flower source or location, you’ll likely not seek blended brands because you’ll enjoy the unique flavors that each one offers. (Honey Traveler.com, 2013)
It is also interesting to note that honey is the only sweetener that will not spoil. Instead, when it sits for periods of time, it will turn to a form of sugary base, but will not spoil. It should never be micro waved or heated, because this destroys the enzymes and natural curing properties of it. (New Realities.com, 2013)
There appears to be one health concern for a specific demographic,
The USDA National honey board and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services state “Do not let babies eat honey.” This is because the spores of the botulism bacteria are found in dust and soil that find their way into the honeydew. The immune systems of infants is not developed enough to defend against this type of potential “paralytic disorder’ in which an infant is given anti-toxins and placed in infant care on a respirator. ‘Dr. Jatinder Bhatia a Georgia neonatologist who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics Committee on Nutrition. “She has never seen a case of infant botulism. She also mentions, honey in cereals is fine because it’s a cooked product. It’s the bottled honey that presents a health risk to infants.” (Edgar, 2013)
The 10 most common honey health benefits,
- Helps with skin ailments – Honey dressings have been used to treat burns, scrapes, irritations from post surgical process and ulcers caused from radiation. Bees produce the enzyme hydrogen peroxide, “sound familiar” which is found in honey and eases skin ailments.
- Relief from mosquito bite – Since honey has anti-inflammatory properties it’s a good option to help reduce the itch and irritation.
- Honey is an immune booster – Since honey is full of polyphenols found in plant life, it is a known antioxidant that protects cells from free radical damage. It is also promoted as a heart healthy nutrient and cancer preventer.
- Digestive health – A study published in BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2006 found that honey used in place of sugar reduced gut microflora of male mice.
- Acne treatment – Honey can effectively treat acne vulgaris, a skin condition caused by infection and inflammation on the face, chest and back. (Shape.com, 2013)
- Energy source – Honey can be easily converted into glucose energy for working muscles and accepted by the most sensitive stomachs. It is very easy to digest.
- Weight loss – When honey is consumed with warm water it helps to digest fat stored in the body. Similarly, a combination of lemon juice, honey and cinnamon help reduce weight as well.
“Normally, to digest sugar, the vitamins and minerals stored in body are utilized, rendering the body devoid of these nutrients. These nutrients are essential to dissolve fats and cholesterol. Thus when you eat too much sugar you tend to increase weight not just because of the calories but due to lack of vitamins and minerals. On the contrary, honey being a good source of nutrients helps you in reducing weight (Organic Facts.net, 2013).”
Improving athletic performance – Honey maintains blood glucose levels and muscle glycogen restoration after the workout. Blood glucose and muscle glycogen is the preferred fuel food when intense exercise activity is required.
A valued source of Vitamins and Minerals – Depending on the flowers used in apiculture (beekeeping), honey commonly contains Vitamin C, Calcium and iron. Concentrates of vitamins and mineral contents vary.
Antibacterial and antifungal – It can be used as a natural spread on antiseptic. (Organic Facts.net, 2013)
Folk remedies have been around for generations and there is a reason why they stand the test of time. For instance, to knock out a common cold in one or two days make a warm tea, add 1 teaspoon of honey and ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon. It is best to buy the powdered or grind the cinnamon sticks from the plant species previously mentioned. There are many remedies that include honey and cinnamon to cure what ails you. If you want to know more recipes, simply research on folk remedy medicines that include this natural sweetener and spice.
My favorite breakfast is a big bowl of raisin brand, or oat flakes, 2 tsp of honey, 1/2 tsp of ground cinnamon and 1% low fat milk.
For daily antioxidant, immune, weight loss, common cold, organ health and so much more, science supports adding raw honey and cinnamon to Cereals and hot drinks a couple times a day to promote good health. There are lots of ways you can incorporate these two food nutrients into your diet if you’d like to take advantage of their healthy properties.
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“What Is the Difference Between Cinnamon and Cassia?” The Worlds Healthiest Foods. WHfoods.com, n.d. Web. 10 May 2013.
Woodard, Marc T. “Mirror Athlete’s Fitness Secrets!” Mirror Athletes Fitness Secrets. Mirror Athlete Inc., 7 Apr. 2013. Web. 10 May 2013. <http://www.mirrorathlete.com/2013/04/07/foods-and-drugs-that-dont-mix-well/>.
Author: Marc T. Woodard, MBA, BS Exercise Science, ARNG, CPT, RET. 2013 Copyright. All rights reserved, Mirror Athlete Inc., www.mirrorathlete.com, Sign up for your Free eNewsletter.