Cinnamon powder is extracted from the bark of either Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum cassia trees. Traditionally used as a spice it has also been used medicinally. Cinnamon extract has antibacterial and antifungal effects as well as being calming to the digestive system. It can be used for stomach cramps, spasm, wind, vomiting, diarrhoea and poor appetite.
Cinnamon supplements also enhance insulin sensitivity making them useful diabetes and for weight loss. Clinical trials support this showing that cinnamon capsules had a significant lowering effect on blood sugars and lipids.
Other traditional uses of Cinnamon have been to apply it skin for treating areas of pain and inflammation. Care is needed as it can be a skin irritant and may cause dermatitis. In TCM it is considered warming and fortifying.
Powdered cinnamon can be taken in a dose of 1-3gm up to four times daily. Adding ½ a teaspoon to boiling water to make tea that can be taken with meals is another way to use this lovely herb.
Care should be taken when using with medication for diabetes as the combined effect may lower blood sugars too much. Supplements are not recommended in pregnancy but normal use in food is considered safe.
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