Today is Siobhan’s birthday and in honor of the only person I’ve ever met on a first name basis with her UPS man, let’s talk about shopping. Today is the beginning of the online shopping season. I heard this on the news this morning as I did some stretching and bending. Since it pays to be flexible, this morning I’ve replaced my co-workers’ soymilk (with which I replaced cow milk) with almond milk. We’ll see soon if they run screaming – or even notice.
A few days ago, I found myself seated in the blast zone of a complete stranger expounding upon the medicinal uses of cinnamon for controlling blood sugar in certain kinds of diabetics and pre-diabetics. Her extended family, seated all around me, showed a propensity toward hyperglycemia. This stranger advised that drops of cinnamon oil – “It burns. Want some?” – or two teaspoons of cinnamon per day would help regulate blood sugar. I sat there picturing Cinnabon as the front line in the Battle of Good and Evil, with little raisins carried out on Red Cross stretchers and walnuts tending broken pecans. There was icing everywhere! Everywhere! And I resolved to look this up next time I sat down at the World’s Largest Encyclopedia. Which is where you are now. See?
According to Cheryl Korn, internet expert on everything from the Buffalo Sabres to the basics of organic food, cinnamon is made of surprising goo.
Cinnamon’s primary chemical constituents include cinnamadehyde, gum, tannin, mamitol, coumarins, and essential oils (aldehydes, eugenol, and pinene.)
It would be terrible of you to make a joke like, “Mamitol, Tannin! Coumarins and eugenol pinene!” so I won’t either. Probably.
Cinnamon has many medicinal purposes including calming a cough, which produces the spitting of a whitish phlegm in the elderly. They can chew or swallow a small pinch of cinnamon for effective relief. This also helps with the problem of cold hands and feet, especially at night.
Just half a teaspoon per day may reduce blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels by as much as 20 percent in Type II diabetes patients not taking insulin. Some research seems to point to cinnamon augmenting the action of insulin; however, this has yet to be proven.
Cinnamon is mildly carminative and can be used to treat nausea, flatulence and possibly diarrhea. It increases peripheral blood flow and is a urine stimulant. Cinnamon is also a great essential oil with antibacterial and antifungal qualities.
Then I had to look up carminative because it wasn’t – like fuck – a word commonly used around the dinner table. Wikipedia:
A carminative, also known as carminativum (plural carminativa), is a medicinal drug with antispasmodic activity that is used against cramps of the digestive tract in combination with flatulence. They are often mixtures of essential oils and herbal spices with a tradition in folk medicine for this use.
Wikipedia says: “See anti-foaming agent.” My stars! That is blunt.
Further sources rhapsodize:
In Chinese medicine, cinnamon is one of the most widely used “warming” herbs that aid in circulation and digestion. It is a common ingredient used in tea for nausea during pregnancy. It is also used following delivery to decrease hemorrhage. Cinnamon raises vitality, warms the system, stimulates all the vital functions of the body, counteracts congestion, improves digestion, relieves abdominal spasms and aids in peripheral circulation.
The essential oils contained in cinnamon include eugenol, cinnamic aldehyde, methyl-eugenol, tannin, and mannitol, which gives cinnamon its sweet flavor. It also contains cinnzelanin and cinnzelanol, which are both known insecticides. Try putting some liquid soap and cinnamon in a spray bottle and use on plants as an organic bug repellent. Cinnamon is also included in many medicinal recipes that are used for lice, scabies, and other skin parasites.
Cinnamon has antifungal, antiviral and antibacterial activities. It has been shown to suppress E. coli, staphylococcus, and candida albicans.
Between cinnamon and wearing flipflops in public showers, I should be okay, right? Maybe not.
Along with the medicinal effects come the side effects and interactions that medicinal cinnamon causes. Some people may be sensitive or allergic to cinnamon. Also, some people may develop dermatitis after exposure to it. Therefore, to take precautions to these possible side effects, only small amounts should be given to a person who lacks prier exposure to it. Chronic chewing of cinnamon gum or use of cinnamon flavored toothpaste can cause inflammation of the mouth, and lead to pre-cancerous growth. The highly concentrated cinnamon oil is more likely to cause side effects than the cinnamon powder. Cinnamon oil should never be ingested.
Cinnamon oil is exactly what that dinner guest recommended, so I’m back at the beginning. I don’t know anything for sure.
My coffee is tasty. Happy Birthday, Siobhan!