WHAT IS CINNAMON? IT’S DIFFERENT TYPES, BENEFITS AND USES IN AYURVEDA
Cinnamon belongs to the family Lauraceae. It is obtained from the inner bark of trees in the genus Cinnamomum. The composition of cinnamon and its bioactive compounds differ according to the cinnamon species parts (fruits, leaves, twigs, and bark) and various extraction and purification methods. Since cinnamon has been used as a flavour additive for decades, it has several benefits for medicines worldwide and is traditionally widely used in Indian, Chinese, Persian, and Unani. The extract of cinnamon plays a vital role in all its antioxidant, antifungal , antilipemic, antihypertensive, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties and is used to treat various diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
Cinnamon is also called Dalchini in Hindi, and in Ayurveda, it is known as ‘Tvak’. There are several species of cinnamon; one of the indigenous species is Saigon cinnamon, found in southeast Asia. This can produce 1-5% of essential oil content and 25% of cinnamaldehyde in essential oil. The other one is cinnamon tamala, also known as ‘Tejpata’ or Indian bay leaf. This is native to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, China, and Bhutan. Several scientific investigations have shown many therapeutic effects of cinnamon, including antioxidant, antiviral, antifungal, antihypertensive, and immunomodulatory effects. It has more benefits in home remedies such as toothache, fever, amenorrhoea, diarrhoea, and the common cold
In pharmaceutical industry, nowadays these herbal plants are used as essential and volatile oils which are cinnamaldehyde, eugenol and cinnamyl acetate, and some other active compounds (coumarin, cinnamic acid, protocatechuic acid, and polyphenols), which also consist of macro- and micro nutrients (manganese, iron , potassium and some dietary fibre) Cinnamonaldehyde and trans-cinnamaldehyde are the major elements found in cinnamon. The bark is composed of procyanidins and catechins. Despite their role in biomedicine, plants still play an important role in human healthcare.
TYPES OF CINNAMON
|Taste And Colour
|Golden yellow colour,
Hot, aromatic taste
|Low coumarin content
|Therapeutic use for disease Oral mucositis, OM, anti-inflammatory effects (caryophyllene oxide, L- borneol)
Malabar coast of India
Light to medium reddish brown
|The lowest coumarin content
|Bark and leaf oils
Dark reddish brown
|Cheap and have high coumarin and strong aroma
|Dried outer layer
|Cosmetics to prevent skin ageing
(due to presence of flavonoids and antioxidant properties)
|Spicy and sweet
Dark reddish brown
|Rich in aroma and have high coumarin
|The inner bark of tropical cinnamon tree
|Anti-microbial, anti- fungal.
(Lauric acid, eugenol, and myrstaldehyde)
|Spicy but bitter
Dark reddish brown
|High aroma, high coumarin
|Dried inner bark of an evergreen tree
|Used in essence industries, widely used to add flavours to drinks and food (coumarin)
ACTIVITY OF CINNAMON
- Antioxidant Activity
Antioxidant compounds present in food play an essential role in human life and act as health-protecting agents against fats and oils. They also prevent food spoilage. To check the antioxidant properties, various herbal extracts of cinnamon are made, such as ether, aqueous, and methanolic extracts, that have shown considerable antioxidant activities. The aqueous and alcoholic extracts (1:1) of cinnamon inhibit fatty acid oxidation and lipid peroxidation in vitro. It has been reported that the ethanolic extracts show increased significant results as compared to the natural antioxidant alpha-tocopherol. Different flavonoids from cinnamon have been isolated and have free radical-scavenging activities and antioxidant properties.
Cinnamon bark contains procyanidins and catechins. Procyanidins include A and B-type linkages; they are extracted from cinnamon and berries and show good antioxidant activities. A recent study on the inhibitory effects of cinnamon shows that cinnamaldehyde possesses potential activity against nitric oxide production. Cinnamaldehyde is well known for its antityrosinase activity. Here, tyrosinase inhibitors suppress hyperpigmentation as well as some browning effects observed in mushrooms, fruits, and vegetables when they are exposed to sunlight and air. Hence, antityrosinase agents are associated with cosmetics, medicine, food, and a wide range of applications.
- Anti-Inflammatory Activities
There are several isolated flavonoid compounds like gossypin, gnaphlin, hesperidin, hibifolin, and quercetin; they all have anti-inflammatory properties. A recent study shows that 2- hydroxycinnamaldehyde isolated from C. cassia bark exhibited an inhibitory effect on the production of nitric oxide by inhibiting the activation of the nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB), indicating that this substance can potentially be used as an anti-inflammatory agent. Again, ethanolic extract shows significant anti- inflammatory effects, reducing the activation of Src/spleen tyrosine kinase (Src/Syk mediated NF- akB. Various compounds contained in C. ramulus showed anti- inflammatory effects by suppressing the expression of inducible nitric oxide production in the CNS, whereas the aqueous extract of cinnamon decreased the lipopolysaccharides induced tumour necrosis factor alpha levels in the serum.
- Anti-Diabetic Activity
Cinnamon is isolated and coined as an “Insulin Potentiating Factor(IPF). Cinnamon extracts lower not only blood glucose levels but also cholesterol levels. A purified polymer of hydroxychalcone, i.e., methylhydroxychalcone (MHCP), has the ability to stimulate glucose oxidation. Also, some insulin-like molecules have been found, and polyphenol type A polymers have been isolated. A new compound from hydrocinnamic acid derivatives named as Naphthalene methyl ester has identified blood glucose- lowering effects. Cassia cinnamon is used for diabetes.
- Antimicrobial Activity
Cinnamon oil’s effects on various bacteria (Pediococcus halophilus and Staphylococcus aureus), fungal (Aspergillus flavus, Mucor plumbeus), and yeast species (Candida lipolytica, Pichia membranaefaciens). The cinnamon oil represents antimicrobial action; a recent study investigated that C. zeylanicum acts against fluconazole-resistant candida species. Also plays a role in the formation of biofilms. Staphylococcus epidermidis is one of the leading causes of biofilms.
CINNAMON IN AYURVEDA TREATING DISEASES
It helps correct indigestion. According to Ayurveda, ingestion is a state of improper and incomplete digestion. The main reason for indigestion is severe Kapha, which causes agnimandya (weak digestive fire). Taking a dose of cinnamon can improve agni (burn stomach) and help you digest the food easily. This is due to the deepan (apetizer) and pachan (digestive) properties, respectively.
Cinnamaldehyde, eugnol, cinnamic acid, and coumarin are the main components. By adding 2 inches of cinnamon to 1.5 cups of boiling water in a pan at a medium flame for 5-6 minutes. Then pour it into a cup and squeeze 1⁄2 lemon into it. Drink this twice a day for effective weight management.
- Hair Growth
This helps with hair regrowth and controls dandruff due to its rukhsna (dry) and tikhsna (sharp) properties.
- Skin Ageing
To increase the production of collagen and elastin, apply the paste of bark or oil to the affected area to achieve healthy and glowing skin. Mix 2-3 tablespoons of honey with 1 tablespoon of cinnamon powder to form a paste.
- Dental Health
It improves the strength of teeth and relieves bad breath due to its katu (pungent) and tikta (bitter) nature. Here, cinnamon oil and powder are used as ingredients in toothpaste and ayurvedic manjan (tooty powder). One can apply cinnamon oil directly to the tooth in case of toothache.
- Neurodegenerative disease: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s
Defects in neurotransmission can cause Parkinson’s disease. A disease condition ‘Vepathu’ is’ caused by vitiated vata dosha, is described in Ayurveda, and is correlated with Parkinson’s disease. In vitro evidence has indicated that cinnamaldehyde and sodium benzoate may protect against oxidative induced cell death. Many neurodegenerative diseases may exert neuroprotective effects in a growing body, due to its unique aroma and flavour.
- Allergic Conditions
Cinnamon gives relief in cases of nasal alllergy. This can be cured if we take it with honey. An allergy results in the accumulation of ama (toxic remains in the body due to improper digestion). This is due to the imbalance of kapha dosha. Cinnamon prevents the formation of ama due to its ushna (hot) nature and also helps in balancing kapha, thus managing the symptoms of allergy. Take 1-2 pinches of cinnamon powder and mix it with honey to make a paste. After eating light food, swallow it twice a day.
- Menstrual Pain
One of the best home remedies to reduce pain during menstruation, or dysmenorrhea,. This condition is known as kasht-artava. This is controlled by Vata – dosha. So in women, vata should be under control to manage dysmenorrhea. This controls the aggravated vata dosha.
The above article concludes the uses of cinnamon in different diseases. The significant health benefits of numerous types of cinnamon have been discussed. Overconsumption can lead to certain disorders. Modern research shows treatment of disorders in allopathy. According to Ayurveda, cinnamon has been used as a spice in daily life without any side effects. Although numerous activities of cinnamon are in the form of bark, essential oils, phenolics, flavonoids, and some isolated components,. Each of them plays an important role in the advancement of human health. Each and every species of cihasscribes particular uses. As C. zeylanicum shows anti-tyrosinase activity, C. osmopholum shows a great anti-inflammatory effect.
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