What is Cinnamon? – Its Use in Food, Advantages, Side Effects & FDA Approval

What is Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon is used mainly as an aromatic condiment and flavoring additive. Cassia species induce a strong, spicy flavour and is often used in baking procedures.Cinnamon is available in either its whole quill form (cinnamon sticks) or as ground powder.

History & Origin of Cinnamon:

Cinnamon has been known from remote antiquity. It is native to India, Sri Lanka and Myanmar. It has been prized for its medicinal property for thousand years. It has been used for its anti-bacterial and anti-fungal activity. At that time, cinnamon was very expensive and used to a gift for kings. Now a days, it is very easily available at low prices in supermarkets.Cinnamon is made from grinding down the inner bark of cinnamon trees.

Uses of Cinnamon:

  • Cinnamon is used as an anti-oxidant in food products.
  • Cinnamon bark is used as a spice.
  • It is employed in cookery as a condiment and flavouring material.
  • It is used in the preparation of chocolate.
  • It can be used as preservative.
  • It is used as anti-bacterial product.
  • It is used to treat cough, arthritis.
  • It can be used in various cuisine, soups and other beverages.
  • It contains fiber, calcium, iron, and manganese

Advantages of Cinnamon

  • Cinnamon is used by food industry because it is a potent anti-oxidant and protects the body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals.
  • It can be used as natural preservative.
  • It has anti-inflammatory property, and helps body to fight against infections.
  • Due to its anti-bacterial activity, cinnamon is used to treat certain bacterial and fungal infections.
  • It reduces the risk of heart diseases.
  • It treats acne and promotes skin looks younger.
  • It lowers the blood pressure and also helps in lowering the cholesterol level in body.
  • It regulates the metabolism and thus maintains insulin level in body, thus it is a good ingredient for diabetic patients.
  • It provides anti-spasmodic effect and thus treats constipation.
  • It has potent anti-diabetic effect, which lowers blood sugar level.
  • Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease can be treated with cinnamon, as it can treat neurodegenerative disorder.
  • It is used in household due to its carminative action.
  • Certain reports have shown that cinnamon can protect cancer.
  • It protects teeth and gums and freshen breath.
  • It boosts brain functioning.

Disadvantages of cinnamon:

Cinnamon is having a lot of health benefits and there is no disadvantage of adding cinnamon in diet.

Side effects of taking excess cinnamon in diet:

Cinnamon is a rich source of coumarin. And the recommended daily coumarin limit is approximately 0.05 mg/pound (0.1 mg/kg) of body weight, or 5 mg per day for a 130-pound (60-kg) person. This means that just one to one and a half teaspoons of Cassia cinnamon could put you over the daily limit.

Taking excess of coumarin can lead to:

  • Liver damage.
  • Increases the risk of having cancer.
  • Mouth sores.
  • Very low blood sugar level.
  • Respiratory problems.

FDA Approval:

Cinnamon is regarded as safe by FDA to be added as condiment and flavouring agent in food products.

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