More than a tasty cooking and baking spice, cinnamon has numerous health benefits. Cinnamon stimulates circulation, assists digestion, and may even support metabolic balance. Beyond providing a warm, spicy, comforting taste and aroma, Ayurveda tells us there are so many reasons to make cinnamon part of your regular routine! Read on for more on cinnamon essential facts and Ayurveda cinnamon benefits!
Due to its warming nature, cinnamon bark helps balance of Kapha and Vata. There is some debate as to which type of cinnamon is best. Cinnamonum aromaticum, referred to as “cassia” is more widely available and less expensive. On the other hand Cinnamonum verum/zeylanicum is commonly referred to as “true cinnamon.” The good news is that both species have similar health benefits. However, “true cinnamon” is safer to take in higher doses. Therefore, it is preferred if you are taking cinnamon as a supplement.
Why cinnamon? There are so many Ayurveda cinnamon benefits! Here are some of the main ways in which cinnamon supports optimal wellness.
Rich in antioxidants and polyphenols, cinnamon also supports healthy digestion. Ayurvedic practitioners have traditionally incorporated cinnamon into teas and various culinary dishes. It is a considered a carminative, meaning it relieves gas and regulates the digestive process. Cinnamon can be sprinkled onto various foods in the form of a spice. This well-loved spice incorporates into sweet and savory dishes alike! Consider adding cinnamon to stir fries, vegetable curry, and of course golden milk and chai.
Excessive buildup of phlegm and mucus in the respiratory system is a surefire sign of excessive Kapha. While it may be necessary to adjust your diet and lifestyle if you’re a Kapha type who experiences this common problem, adding the right ingredients to your food will also help to balance your energies, improving respiration as a result. Also, cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and circulatory stimulant. All these factors increase its effectiveness in dealing with sluggishness and excess mucus.
Cinnamon can also have a beneficial impact on your appearance. To take advantage of these effects, mix a small amount of powdered cinnamon with water and apply it to your skin. Leave it in place for about 10 minutes before rinsing. Because cinnamon has natural antibacterial and antimicrobial properties, applying it to your skin can help guard against acne. Also, its circulation-boosting properties won’t hurt!
Furthermore, cinnamon has natural moisturizing properties. Thus, if you have dry skin, you may want to consider incorporating cinnamon into a DIY face scrub.
Boosting Joint Comfort
Poor digestion often results in the buildup of ama. Ama is an ayurvedic term that essentially means “undigested food matter.” This heavy, sticky substance clogs up digestion and can impede healthy organic function. In addition, these impurities often accumulate around the joints. Over time, this may lead to discomfort, pain, and disease.
And thus another reason to use cinnamon more often! By improving digestion, cinnamon will guard against the accumulation of excess ama, and thereby set the stage for healthy joints. Plus, remember that cinnamon is an anti-inflammatory, which will certainly help if you are looking to ease or avoid join discomfort.
Regulates Blood Sugar
Last but certainly not least, cinnamon shows much promise in regulating blood sugar. According to Ayurvedic Practitioner and MD Dr. Akil Palanisamy (2015):
“Cinnamon shows exceptional promise for treating metabolic issues like elevated blood sugar and abnormal lipids.“
Researchers have found that cinnamon may help reduce fasting blood glucose levels, total cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides (1). Also, due to its potential for regulating blood sugar and metabolic issues, cinnamon may be helpful in easing PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome). This is likely because insulin resistance and metabolic abnormalities are often linked to PCOS (1).
Essential Facts about Cinnamon Bark
- Botanical: Cinnamomum verum/zeylanicum or Cinnamomum aromaticum
- Sanskrit: Tvak, Svadvi, Tanutvak and Darusita or Darushilla
- Hindi: Dalchini
- English: Cinnamon
- Rasa (taste): Pungent, bitter, sweet
- Guna (qualities): Light, dry, piercing
- Virya (action): Warming
- Vipaka (post-digestive effects): Pungent (purifying)
- Dosha (constitution): Balances Vata and Kapha
Cinnamon is native to the Indian subcontinent, but most specifically Sri Lanka.
Cinnamon bark comes from an evergreen tropical tree that grows up to 30 feet and has dark green leaves. The flowers of this plant are small and yellowish to white. The bark of younger trees are smooth and pale while the bark of older trees are brittle and rough.
The bark is peeled off after the trees are six or seven years old. The inner bark of the tree is collected and usually ground into powder.
Cinnamon bark is rich in antioxidants, flavonoids, polyphenols, and a good source of minerals like potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, zinc, and magnesium. It also contains the health benefiting essential oil of eugenol.
Cinnamon Bark: Usage and Dosage
When it comes to Ayurveda cinnamon benefits, there is some nuance in terms of usage and dosage. Much of this depends on one’s dosha (constitution). This means the right formula for each dosha type may vary.
For instance, if you’re a Pitta type, mix cinnamon with cardamom and fennel for maximum effect. Vata types should mix with cardamom and ginger. If you’re a Kapha type, along with cardamom and ginger, you may want to add some black pepper and cloves for a little extra heat.
The ancient Ayurvedic recipe, Chyawanprash, is a wonderful superfood jam that balances all doshas. Consuming this each day will deliver a dose of cinnamon as well as numerous other potent ingredients.
If you like cinnamon, we hope this article has given you a few more reasons to enjoy this tasty, spicy-sweet bark! The Ayurveda cinnamon benefits are numerous—as are the ways and reasons to enjoy this lovely spice.
(1) Palanisamy. A. (2015). The paleovedic diet: A comprehensive program to burn fat, increase energy, reverse disease. New York, NY: Skyhorse Publishing.
Reviewed by Dr. Jayant Lokhande, MD (Botanical Drugs), MBA (Biotechnology)