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  Latin Name Cinnamomum zeylanicum
English Name Cinnamon
Hindi Name Dalchini
Part Used Bark

Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and as a medicine. Cinnamon is high in antioxidant activity. The essential oil of cinnamon also has antimicrobial properties. This property may allow cinnamon to extend the shelf life of foods. Cinnamon's unique healing abilities come from three basic types of components in the essential oils found in its bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances. Cinnamaldehyde (also called cinnamic aldehyde) has been well-researched for its effects on blood platelets. The cinnaldehyde in cinnamon helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets. (The way it accomplishes this health-protective act is by inhibiting the release of an inflammatory fatty acid called arachidonic acid from platelet membranes and reducing the formation of an inflammatory messaging molecule called thromboxane A2.)

Cinnamon's ability to lower the release of arachidonic acid from cell membranes also puts it in the category of an "anti-inflammatory" food that can be helpful in lessening inflammation. Cinnamon's essential oils also qualify it as an "anti-microbial" food, and cinnamon has been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida. In laboratory tests, growth of yeasts that were resistant to the commonly used anti-fungal medication, was often (though not always) stopped by cinnamon extracts. Cinnamon may significantly help people to improve their ability to respond to insulin, thus normalizing their blood sugar levels.

 Not only does consuming cinnamon improve the body's ability to utilize blood sugar, but just smelling the wonderful odor of this sweet spice boosts brain activity. In addition to its unique essential oils, cinnamon is an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese and a very good source of dietary fiber iron and calcium.


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