Cinnamon does more than spice up your food; it can nice up your life!

I’ve always loved the smell of cinnamon and known that it is good for using as a spice in food, but recently I’ve found out how much more it can do for your health.

People sprinkle cinnamon on baked foods, in their coffee, in their oatmeal, and use the sticks and oils often as fragrance, just about anything that leads to greater taste and better smell. But who knew that cinnamon could impact more far-reaching things like boosting brain function, curing colds and even help with treating cancer.

Cinnamon’s use in the Fight against Cancer

There has been much research so far showing that cinnamon provides hope for people living with cancer. Researchers at the School of Life Sciences and Immune Synapse Research Center in the Republic of Korea tested cinnamon’s anti-tumor effects. They found that water-soluble cinnamon extract inhibited the growth and spread of cancer in laboratory cell cultures of various types of cancer including lymphoma, melanoma, cervical and colorectal cancer. Cinnamon extract was orally administered in mice models with melanoma and it significantly inhibited tumor growth. 

A Study done by the University of Maryland also showed where cinnamon reduced the proliferation of lymphoma and leukemia cancer cells.

 And here’s one I’d never consider. The Duke School of Medicine explains that sugar plays a big factor in cinnamon’s effect on cancer. The cinnamon starves the cancer cells of the sugar needed to sustain them.

Cinnamon for the Cold and Flu

On a smaller scale, with all the nasty colds and flu going around this time of year, it’s quite useful to know that cinnamon can help with reducing a cold, sore throat and cough. It is recommended that you drink cinnamon tea or cinnamon stick tea, within 5-10 minutes of experiencing sniffles or an itch in your throat. Cinnamon is highly recommended for phlegm coughs in Chinese traditional medicine. It is believed to have a warming effect on the body, and used as a stimulant for conditions that are thought to be caused by coldness. According to ancient Chinese texts, cinnamon “relieves wind chill” and “disperses cold” in the body.

Cinnamon and Brain Function

Now this is what peaked my interest the most. Of course I want to boost my brain function! Researchers at Wheeling Jesuit University in the United States found that smelling cinnamon can help improve memory and cognition in humans. The team of researchers found that people who were administered with cinnamon improved their scores on cognitive activities such as attention processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed.

 Another study published in the July 2009 issue of the “Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease” points out that cinnamon extracts inhibit the aggregation of tau proteins, a condition commonly seen in Alzheimer’s patients. Tau proteins are found in the membranes of nerve cells and play an important role in stabilizing them.

Cinnamon and Hormonal Issues

Now which woman wouldn’t say hooray for this one? Cinnamon contains a natural chemical called cinnamaldehyde, which studies have found increases the hormone progesterone and decreases testosterone production in women, helping to balance hormones. So we end up with a better mood :-).

Also, the University of Maryland, in their research, found that due to the high levels of manganese, Cinnamon may be excellent to control the effects of premenstrual syndrome (PMS). According to the University of Maryland web site, women who ate 5.6 mg of manganese in their diets each day had fewer mood swings and cramps compared to those who ate only 1 mg of manganese. 

Cinnamon even helps with acne control as it aids in removing blood impurities. With my acne situation, you know I’d find favour with this one.

Cinnamon also helps with natural birth control. Regular consumption of cinnamon after child birth delays menstruation and thus helps in avoiding conception. Wish I knew this one after having my first child, I could have breastfed him longer.

Cinnamon mentioned in the Bible

Good ole’ cinnamon is even mentioned in several books of the Bible, wow! In Exodus 30:22-25, God instructed Moses to include cinnamon in a mixture that would become “the sacred anointing oil.”

 And there’s more…

There’s a lot more on the list, but I really can’t mention them all in this blog, but one thing’s for sure, cinnamon is my new found spicy friend.

 Moderation is key!

I promise not to get carried away though, moderation is key. Consuming large amounts of cinnamon bark or moderate amounts of cinnamon oil may increase heart rate, breathing and perspiration. This may be followed by a state of sleepiness or depression. Cinnamon may also interfere with certain diabetes medications and antibiotics such as tetracycline. So talk to your doctor if you are unsure, but on average it is recommended that you have no more than ½ to 1 teaspoon of cinnamon in a day.


Guess what’s in your skincare products?

There’s a saying that “ignorance is bliss”, but I say ignorance will kill you.

A few months ago I decided to purchase a foundation that would make my face look flawless. When I approached the lovely skin care specialist she was quite surprised when I mentioned that I have acne. She acknowledged seeing a few blemishes but felt confident that I did not have acne, but just needed to be careful and mindful of environmental factors that could be causing me to break out. She also encouraged me to stop using the acne products that I was using, as they were only drying out my skin. She recommended a moisturizer and a face wash, which I bought from her, and started to use once my previously existing acne products were finished. As it turned out, my face broke out even more, so I brought that to her attention and she recommended yet another product, which I bought, tried and broke out even more. I continued to use the foundation however, as I needed it more than ever to cover up my flaws. But I brought my further breakouts to her attention and this time she recommended a moisturizer that had salicylic acid, and when I used it I noticed that my breakouts stopped, so I inquired if there was a complete kit. There was, so I started on that, and while I had no further breakouts, my face started to peel and to strip, and the products had a harsh smell. I noticed that I was also having a lot of nausea, but since I had spent over CI$40 on the products I figured I may as well get some of my money’s worth, so I continued to use them.

When I visited the store again seeking a body lotion, the owner’s assistant introduced me to yet another “great acne product”, which of course I just ignored by that time. I started to argue internally wondering how many different products could I possibly try? I certainly can’t try them all. So I thought, you know what, let me do some research to help me decide which product is best for me, because surely many products are out there that work, but I don’t wish to try them all. One thing led to another. While researching what were the best acne products, I came across products that were given scientific ratings based on health, environmental and societal benefits or risks.  What came next completely shocked me.

I found out that the face products I had bought from the skin care specialist received a rating of being among the worst 50 % of companies rated by the particular site doing the review, and that the products raised at least a low level of health concern. I delved further and found that there is an environmental working group ( that provides lots of health safety/risks information on product ingredients. I decided to research the ingredients in the body balm that I had purchased, and from what I found out I can tell you, it is knowledge that is bliss, not ignorance. The body balm in question is advertised as having “protective colloidal oatmeal, the super-saturating formula moisturizes for 24 hours to break the cycle of dry skin, leaving it smooth, healthy and gloriously soft.” That might be all true, but guess what? This very product also has some not so good ingredients such as triethanolamine, butylphenyl methylpropional and hexyl cinnamal. All these products are advised to be restricted when used in cosmetics and pose from low to moderate hazard, each having evidence of being a human toxicant. In fact, butylphenyl methylpropional is shown to be associated with endocrine disruption. Triethanolamine is classified as expected to be toxic or harmful, and hexyl cinnamal is considered to be a possible human immune system toxicant. Skin care specialists will no doubt argue that they have only put small amounts of these ingredients in their products, but my concern is this, what happens when you use these products over the long term? We all know that every little bit adds up. So while only small amounts of these hazardous and possibly toxicant ingredients are in our skincare products, with regular use we could be making ourselves sick.

These days I’m more attentive and more curious, so I continue to review what ingredients are in my products, including baby products. Just because they are made for babies does not mean they are completely safe. As for my acne products, I have now switched to an organic line, and within the coming months I intend to move on to healthier body care products.