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The Story Behind Cinnamon

Nutrition Feature

Written by Samantha Lund

Beyond Ground Cinnamon

Cinnamon is a spice made from the bark of the genus Cinnamomum; it has a long history dating back to ancient Egypt. There are two types of cinnamon: Ceylon (aka “true” cinnamon) and cassia (the more common variety today). Cinnamon, as we know it, is made from shaving the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees and letting the shavings dry out, which is why they often are curled. Then, those cinnamon sticks (also known as quills) of inner bark are ground into cinnamon powder.

An Environmental Impact

Studies have shown that the cinnamon smell and essential oil can be used as an effective, healthy and environmentally friendly pesticide; it has been proven to kill mosquito larvae. It also works as a repellant for adult mosquitos. However, you should dilute the substance before putting it directly on your body because it is a common skin irritant.

The Benefits

  • Rich in iron and magnesium
  • Rich in fiber
  • Contains large amounts of highly potent polyphenol antioxidants
  • Rich in anti-inflammatory properties
  • Lowers cholesterol and improves blood pressure
  • Improves sensitivity to the hormone insulin
  • Lowers blood sugar levels
  • Improves dementia
  • Fights bacterial and fungal infections

Cinnamon Beauty Hacks

Lip Plumper

A pinch of cinnamon and a little Vaseline can be an effective lip scrub. You may feel a slightly tingly sensation, but after you let the mixture sit for a minute, wipe it off and apply another coat of Vaseline; you’ll notice fuller lips instantly.

Acne Face Mask

Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon mixed together and smoothed evenly over your face is an effective anti-acne treatment. Cinnamon has been proved to stop acne-causing bacteria, and the honey will reduce redness and provide moisture.

Hair Growth Treatment

A weekly cinnamon hair mask can stimulate hair growth. Combine cinnamon with honey or olive oil and watch your hair thicken over time.

Make it Tonight: Peanut Banana Cinnamon Smoothie

  • 1 cup vanilla soy milk (or skim milk)
  • 1 large banana (peeled and cut into chunks, or use a previously frozen banana)
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter
  • ½ tsp. cinnamon (plus more for sprinkling)
  • Optional: 1 tsp. honey (or turbinado sugar)
  • 3 ice cubes
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