Cinnamon, back then it was used by the Egyptians in the embalming process. Being historically interesting this is a native plant of Ceylon, Sri Lanka and is also known as Ceylon cinnamon. Physicians from the medieval period use it as medicines for the treatment of coughing, hoarseness and sore throat. Varieties which are cultivated are as follows-
- Cinnamomum zeylanicum
- Cinnamomum Tamala
- Cassia cinnamon
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylacium) has been a part of Ayurvedic medicines since years, which is commonly known as “Dalchini” which is an evergreen tropical bushy plant that reaches up to a height of about 20-30 feet. The leaves of this tree measure about 3-7 inches long with oval or lanceolate shape. The bark is rough in texture, bearing yellow color with a pleasant odor. The fruit is oval and berry-like, which is purple in color with a single seed. We obtain cinnamon in the form of quills (cinnamon sticks), which have a diameter of about 6-10mm with sweet warm fragrance. Cinnamon, which is known for its aromatic properties, is used in making essential oils that are making an amazing contribution to the flavor of Indian cuisines.
The main chemical constituents of cinnamon are eugenol (5-10%), which is a phenol, cinnamaldehyde or cinnamic aldehyde (60-80%) and terpenes. Other chemical constituents that help dalchini attaining various properties are borneol, safrole, methyl eugenol, cymene, linalool, cinnzeylanol, cinnzeylanin, pinene, cinnacassiol, and cinnamyl alcohol. Because of its amazing chemical composition, it has various therapeutic properties like anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-oxidant. Cinnamon has proved to be an amazing herb that can be used in treating various deadly disorders.
- Kingdom: Plantae
- Phylum: Magnoliophyta
- Class: Magnoliopsida
- Order: Laurales
- Family: Lauraceae
- Genus: Cinnamomum
- Species: zeylanicum
Apart from being a native plant of Sri Lanka, it is also cultivated in Indonesia, Madagascar, Java, Sumatra, Guyana, Borneo, South America, Jamaica, West Indies, southern coastal region i.e. the Western Ghats and adjoining hills of western India.
- Hindi name- Dalchini
- English name– Cinnamon
- Punjabi name– Dalchini, Darchin
- Telegu name– Lavanga Patta
- Tamil name– llayangam
- Bengali name– Daruchini
- Malayalam name– Karuvapatta, llavarngathely
- Oriya name– Dalechini, Gudatwa
- Gujarati name– Taja
- Urdu name– Darchini
- French name– Cammelle
- Spanish name– Canela
- Rasa or Taste– Katu (pungent), tikta (bitter), madhura (sweet)
- Virya or Potency– Ushna (hot)
- Viapka or Post Digestive Taste– Katu (pungent)
- Guna or Qualities– Laghu (light), ruksha (dry), teekshna (piercing or sharp)
Effect on Doshas
Kapha, Vata hara – It is beneficial in reducing Kapha and Vata dosha due to its hot potency which triggers Pitta dosha.
Health Benefits of Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylacium)
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylacium) apart from imparting amazing flavor to cuisines has astonishing health benefits due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and diuretic properties. There are some medicinal uses of cinnamon are as follows-
1. Vishapaha (Toxicity)
It is very useful in flushing out toxic substances from the body.
2. Amhara (Relieves Ama)
It improves digestive disorders and balances metabolism.
3. Wound Healing (Krimihara)
Cinnamon oil is a detoxifying agent that heals wounds when applied externally and accelerates in curing insect’s sting.
4. Type 2 Diabetes
Madhumeh is now the most common disease in every age group in every corner of the world. This is symbolized by insulin resistance which results in fluctuations in blood glucose level. Here Cinnamon is an amazing replacement of sugar in the diet, which helps in reducing the high blood glucose level in blood.
5. Cinnamon in Neuro-generative Diseases
whenever we consume cinnamon it is metabolized into sodium benzoate, which causes an elevation in the amount of sodium benzoate in the brain. This, in turn, stimulates the level of chemicals in the brain and this results in the generation of new brain cells. Thus cinnamon really helps in treating many degenerative diseases of the brain, including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
6. Cinnamon in Treating Cancer
Cancer is the most life-threatening disease, which is characterized by uncontrolled cell growth. Cancer is increasing gradually at a high rate day by day. Surprisingly, cinnamon extract possesses some antitumor activity so it has the potential for using it in cancer prevention and treatment.
7. Cinnamon as Antifungal and Antibacterial
Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, which is one of the main components, plays an important role in treating various bacterial or fungal properties. It helps in inhibiting the growth of various pathogenic bacteria like Listeria and salmonella. This property of cinnamon can help in reducing tooth decay and bad breath. Cinnamon oil proves to be effective in treating respiratory tract infections caused by fungus.
8. Cinnamon in Heart Disease
Various cardiovascular diseases for instant cardiac arrest, arrhythmia, etc. which are considered as life-threatening diseases. Consumption of cinnamon reduces levels of LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, which is one of the causes of cardiovascular diseases.
9. Common Cold
It is an amazing herbal remedy, which has proved its efficacy to provide relief in common cold, cough, and migraines.
Dalchini is very effective in getting rid of dysmenorrhea, which is also termed as menstrual cramps. It also causes nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. This is the disorder in women’s reproductive system which is caused due to infection, fibroids or endometriosis. Cinnamon has proved to be really beneficial in reducing the effects of menstrual cramps.
Precautions and Side Effects
- An individual with gastritis and acid reflux problems can get affected by the consumption of cinnamon.
- Cinnamon triggers pitta so it’s harmful to people with bleeding disorders.
- Consuming cinnamon in pregnancy and lactation should be done only after consulting with a doctor or physician.
- Allergic reactions like runny nose, rashes in skin, redness in eyes, etc. may occur.
- An excessive amount of consumption can lead to vomiting, nausea, and hemorrhage.
- It can interfere in blood clotting and in lowering blood sugar levels.
- It may cause irritation or inflammation in mucous membranes present in stomach.