Honey and cinnamon have been used for centuries to help improve people’s health and wellbeing. Honey is a food with a long history, going back to ancient texts from Greece, Rome, India, and Egypt. Cinnamon has been used in folk medicine in China and India for over 2000 years.
Honey and cinnamon both have therapeutic properties. What about when you use them together?
Cinnamon Health Benefits
These components are cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl alcohol, and cinnamyl acetate. The three components in the essential oils of cinnamon that give it its unique healing abilities are cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl alcohol, and cinnamyl acetate. The oils in these plants contain a chemical called cinnamaldehyde, as well as other volatile substances.
Cinnamaldehyde has been well-researched for its effects on blood platelets. Platelets are blood cells that help to form clots and stop bleeding. However, if they clump together too much, they can make blood flow inadequate. Cinnamon contains cinnamaldehyde, which helps prevent blood platelets from clumping. Cinnamon protects your health by preventing the release of arachidonic acid, which causes inflammation. This also makes cinnamon an “anti-inflammatory” food that can help reduce inflammation.
Cinnamon contains essential oils that make it an “anti-microbial” food. Cinnamon has been studied for its ability to stop the growth of bacteria and fungi, including the yeast Candida. Cinnamon extracts were often effective in halting the growth of yeasts that were resistant to the commonly used anti-fungal medication fluconazole in laboratory tests, though this was not always the case.
Cinnamon’s ability to kill bacteria makes it a good substitute for traditional food preservatives. Adding just a few drops of cinnamon essential oil to carrot broth and then refrigerating it can help to prevent the growth of the foodborne pathogenic Bacillus cereus for at least 60 days, according to a study published in the August 2003 issue of the International Journal of Food Microbiology. When the broth was refrigerated without the addition of cinnamon oil, the pathogenic B. cereus flourished, even though it was cold. The researchers also found that adding cinnamon not only helped preserve the broth, but also improved its flavor.
Blood Sugar Control
Cinnamon can help reduce the impact of high-carb foods on your blood sugar levels. Cinnamon slows the speed at which the stomach digests food, which in turn, reduces the spike in blood sugar levels that usually occurs after eating. The researchers measured how quickly the stomach emptied after the subjects ate the rice pudding. They found that when the rice pudding was seasoned with cinnamon, the stomach emptied more quickly than when it was not seasoned with cinnamon. Cinnamon added to the rice pudding lowered the rate at which the stomach empties and significantly lessened the rise in blood sugar levels after eating.
Cinnamon has the ability to help people with type 2 diabetes improve their insulin response, which in turn normalizes their blood sugar levels. Cinnamon has been shown to increase cells’ ability to use glucose in both test tube and animal studies. This is because cinnamon compounds stimulate insulin receptors and inhibit an enzyme that inactivates them. Researchers from the United States Agricultural Research Service have shown that less than half a teaspoon of cinnamon per day reduces blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. The study consisted of 60 Pakistani volunteers with type 2 diabetes who were not taking insulin. Subjects were divided into six groups. For 40 days, groups 1, 2, and 3 were given 1, 3, or 6 grams per day of cinnamon capsules while groups 4, 5, and 6 received placebo capsules. A daily intake of just 1 gram of cinnamon can reduce blood sugar levels by up to 20%. This spice can also help to lower cholesterol and triglyceride levels. When cinnamon was no longer consumed daily, blood sugar levels began to increase.
Research conducted using test tubes, animals, and humans has shown that cinnamon may improve insulin activity, which would help our cells to absorb and use glucose from the blood.
Richard Anderson and his colleagues at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center are conducting research that is providing a new understanding of how cinnamon enhances insulin activity. The most recent paper from Anderson et al. looks at the increase in insulin sensitivity from cinnamon, which is caused by a group of catechin/epicatechin oligomers. These oligomers increase the body’s ability to use glucose, as long as insulin is present, by 20 times. Some scientists were concerned that regularly consuming cinnamon might have toxic effects. A new study has found that the harmful compounds in cinnamon bark are mostly present in the parts of the bark that dissolve in fats, rather than water. These harmful compounds are present in very low levels in extracts of cinnamon that help to increase insulin levels.
A study published in December 2003 in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice found that cinnamon may be beneficial for insulin activity. The rats in this study who were given a daily dose of cinnamon had an absorption rate of 17% more blood sugar per minute than the control rats who did not receive cinnamon. The increase was attributed to the enhancement of the muscle cells’ insulin-signaling pathway by cinnamon.
In the December 2003 issue of Diabetes Care, it was found that in humans with type 2 diabetes, consuming as little as 1 gram of cinnamon per day could reduce blood sugar, triglycerides, LDL (bad) cholesterol, and total cholesterol. This study evaluated 60 people with type 2 diabetes, who were divided into 6 groups. The groups were evenly split between men and women, and ranged in age from 44 to 58 years. The first, second, and third groups were given 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon respectively, while the fourth, fifth, and sixth groups received 1, 3, or 6 grams of placebo. After 40 days of taking cinnamon, participants saw a reduction in blood sugar levels by 18-29%, triglycerides by 23-30%, LDL cholesterol by 7-27%, and total cholesterol by 12-26%. Those who received placebo saw no significant changes. The researchers found that cinnamon can help reduce the risk of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
Since cinnamon enhances insulin signaling, it has the potential to prevent insulin resistance, even in animals that consume a lot of fructose. Rat’s whose diet consisted of high levels of fructose were given cinnamon extract in order to improve their ability to use glucose. The study showed that the rats who were given the cinnamon extract had the same ability to use glucose as the rats who ate a normal diet.
Cinnamon is an extremely powerful antioxidant, outperforming most other spices and chemical food preservatives when it comes to preventing oxidation.
Cinnamon’s Scent Boosts Brain Function
Research led by Dr. P. The study found that chewing cinnamon-flavored gum or just smelling cinnamon enhanced participants’ cognitive processing. Cinnamon specifically improved participants’ attention processes, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor speed while working on a computer-based program. The participants were exposed to four different smells: no smell, peppermint, jasmine, and cinnamon. Cinnamon was the clear winner in terms of positively affecting brain function. The results of these studies have encouraged researchers to investigate whether cinnamon could help improve cognition in the elderly, people who get anxious during tests, and perhaps even people with diseases that cause cognitive decline.
Benefits of Honey
- Helps Fight Allergies
Honey that contains bee pollen can help improve immunity and reduce allergy symptoms. This is because the pollen can act as a form of immunotherapy. Research suggests that consuming local pollen can help to decrease a person’s sensitivity to it, which can in turn lessen allergy symptoms.
- Provides Antioxidants
Honey has antioxidants that help protect the body from disease by blocking free radicals. Polyphenols and other antioxidants found in honey help fight disease and support enzyme activity.
- Supports Sleep
Honey helps promote restorative sleep. It prevents the brain from searching for fuel, which can keep you up at night, and helps restock the liver’s glycogen supply.
Honey helps the body produce melatonin, which makes us sleepy, by stimulating the release of tryptophan.
- Relieves Cough
A single does of honey may help to reduce coughs and mucus production, according to research. One study found that honey was just as effective as drugs that are commonly used in over-the-counter cough medicines.
- Aids Wound Healing
Studies have found that honey can help fight bacteria and speed up the healing process of wounds. Furthermore, honey creates an environment that is not ideal for bacteria to live in. It is effective in treating wounds, burns, and skin ulcers.
How Honey and Cinnamon Work Together
Both honey and cinnamon have powerful antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties. This is why ancient cultures have used them to relieve a variety of health conditions.
The controlling of inflammation, fighting against free radicals, and the boosting of immune function are generally centred around the powerful effect these two superfoods have on the body.
- Combat Allergies
Both cinnamon and honey can help alleviate allergies and their symptoms. Cinnamon’s ability to control the powerful allergen house mites was evaluated in a study.
House dust mite allergies have become a global problem, and researchers from the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment found that at least 45 percent of young people with asthma are allergic to house dust mites.
The research found that cinnamon was the most potent agent in killing the highly allergic house mite. This is due to cinnamon’s component cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamon oil is poisonous for cats and should not be used in cat households.
Honey can also help reduce the symptoms of allergies. If you eat a teaspoon of raw honey every day, your immune system will get stronger and you will become less sensitive to pollen from local plants.
An article published in the International Archives of Allergy and Immunology found that consuming birch pollen honey before the allergy season helps to reduce symptoms by 60%. The group that was treated with honey experienced twice as many asymptomatic days, had 70 percent fewer days with severe symptoms, and used 50 percent less antihistamines compared to the group that took conventional medications for allergies.
- Improve Diabetes Symptoms
Cinnamon and honey can help regulate blood sugar levels. The journal Nutrition Research has published research that suggests that people with diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease could see benefits to their lipid profile, liver enzymes, insulin resistance, and high-sensitivity C-reactive protein if they took up to 1,500 milligrams of cinnamon supplements daily.
Honey has been observed to lead to lower elevation of plasma glucose levels in diabetics compared to dextrose and sucrose, according to a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food. Some people think that the insulin-increasing effects of cinnamon can help to cancel out the sugar high that honey causes, making a mixture of the two a food with a low glycemic index.
- Fight Acne and Skin Infections
The combination of cinnamon oil and honey is used to treat skin conditions all over the world because of their antimicrobial capacity. Researchers from Iran discovered that honey is more effective than conventional medicine in treating wounds, burns, and skin problems. Honey has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and antioxidant properties.
An article from Phytotherapy Research in 2017 showed that using cinnamon essential oil can help to prevent various inflammatory substances that contribute to skin inflammation and changes in tissue. It can work as a powerful anti-inflammatory agent to help soothe some skin conditions and improve the immune response.
- Relieve Common Cold and Other Respiratory Issues
Cinnamon and honey can help relieve symptoms of a cold or respiratory infection, like a sore throat. They do this by fighting infections, boosting immunity, and providing antioxidants.
The cinnamon essential oil was found to be highly effective in slowing the growth of a number of bacteria and fungi in a study published in the American Journal of Chinese Medicine. The study showed that cinnamon oil can help prevent the growth of E. coli, candida and staph aureus — all microorganisms that can cause a number of diseases, including the common cold.
A study has found that honey is more effective than no treatment in reducing cough frequency, and may even be more effective than the antihistamine diphenhydramine. Honey is a natural sweetener that has many benefits including being loaded with protective antioxidants. These antioxidants help fight respiratory conditions and many other health issues.
Cinnamon has antimicrobial properties which, when combined with raw honey, help boost the body’s immunity and fight respiratory infections such as the common cold. If you contract a respiratory condition, consuming cinnamon and honey may help you recover more quickly.