Cinnamon is a powerful spice that has been used medicinally around the world for thousands of years. It is still used daily in many cultures because of its widespread health benefits, not to mention its distinctly sweet, warming taste and ease of use in recipes.
According to researchers, out of twenty-six of the most popular herbs and medicinal spices in the world, cinnamon actually ranks #1 in terms of its protective antioxidant levels!
The unique smell, color and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part of the tree that it grows from. The health benefits of cinnamon come from the bark of the Cinnamomum verum (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) tree. The Cinnamomum verum tree can also be synonimously referred to as a Cinnamomum zeylanicum. These scientific terms simply refer to a true cinnamon tree. This bark contains several special compounds which are responsible for its many health-promoting properties, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid and cinnamate.
Researchers have concluded that cinnamon health benefits can be obtained in the form of its pure bark, essential oils, in ground spice form (which is bark powder) or in extract form when its special phenolic compounds, flavonoids and antioxidants are isolated. These compounds make cinnamon one of the most beneficial spices on earth, giving it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting and potential cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities.