Health / recipies

Cinnamon and Honey (FYI) more than you want to know…

Have you heard all the hub-bub about Cinnamon and honey?   Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known to mankind and honey’s popularity has continued throughout history. Cinnamon’s essential oils and honey’s enzyme that produces hydrogen peroxide qualify the two “anti-microbial” foods with the ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi. Both are used not just as a beverage flavoring and medicine, but also as an embalming agent and are used as alternatives to traditional food preservatives due to their effective antimicrobial properties. In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), cinnamon is viewed as possessing heat or yang, and is thus used to cure ills stemming from excess yin or coldness. Honey, in this system, is viewed as a neutral substance, balanced between yin and yang. Ancient practitioners of India’s healing tradition, Ayurveda use cinnamon to help heal gum disease, erectile dysfunction, and many other conditions.   In Ayurvedic medicine, honey is known as ‘Yogavahi’, which means “the carrier of the healing values of the herbs to the cells and tissues”. It is believed that when combined with another substance (eg a herb or spice) in a formulation, the special quality of honey enhances the medicinal qualities of that formulation and helps them reach the deeper tissues in the body more effectively. 

Honey can be used without any side effects for many diseases. Today’s science says that even though honey is sweet, if taken in the right dosage as a medicine, it does not harm diabetic patients. Honey possesses natural anti-bacterial properties. Honey poured on wounds or burns prevents infection and promotes healing. Regular consumption of honey and cinnamon together, when combined with an overall healthy diet and moderate activity level, can prevent heart disease by clearing clogged arteries.

Drinking honey and cinnamon in lukewarm water results in them moving through the bladder and cleansing it, as well as clearing infections there. Drinking this beverage on a regular basis can also relieve, and in some cases entirely cure, arthritis pain.

This drink also strengthens the immune system, helping ward off colds as well as some viruses. Applying a paste of honey and cinnamon to infected gums can ease pain and bleeding as well as slow the progression of the infection.

Honey and cinnamon also provide energy, making people more mentally alert and ready for physical activity.

The two biggest claims for honey and cinnamon are that they enhance the ability to lose weight, and they are effective against some forms of cancer.
Cinnamon and honey can boost your health, both separately and in combination. However, our modern dependence on the pharmaceutical industry has fooled us into believing that medicines should be able to provide a cure regardless of lifestyle. Pharmaceutical industry’s “magic bullet” drugs make one set of symptoms disappear, only to create a new set of symptoms.  We need to understand that diseases result from imbalances, so finding health and balance again requires a recalibration of choices about how we live. A couch potato who follows up a dinner of fried chicken and potato chips with a dessert of cinnamon and honey will receive few health benefits. You are more likely to reap the full healing power when you include honey and cinnamon as part of your healthy lifestyle.

Weekly World News, a magazine in Canada, on its issue dated 17 January, 1995 has given the following list of diseases that can be cured by Honey and Cinnamon as researched by western scientists.

 

  • HEART DISEASES: Make a paste of honey and cinnamon powder, put it on toast instead of jelly and jam and eat it regularly for breakfast. It reduces the cholesterol and could potentially save one from heart attack. Also, even if you have already had an attack studies show you could be kept miles away from the next attack. Regular use of cinnamon honey strengthens the heart beat. In America and Canada, various nursing homes have treated patients successfully and have found that as one ages the arteries and veins lose their flexibility and get clogged; honey and cinnamon revitalize the arteries and the veins.
  • ARTHRITIS: Arthritis patients can benefit by taking one cup of hot water with two tablespoons of honey and one small teaspoon of cinnamon powder. When taken daily even chronic arthritis can be cured. In a recent research conducted at the Copenhagen University, it was found that when the doctors treated their patients with a mixture of one tablespoon Honey and half teaspoon Cinnamon powder before breakfast, they found that within a week (out of the 200 people so treated) practically 73 patients were totally relieved of pain — and within a month, most all the patients who could not walk or move around because of arthritis now started walking without pain.
  • BLADDER INFECTIONS: Take two tablespoons of cinnamon powder and one teaspoon of honey in a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It destroys the germs in the bladder….who knew?
  • CHOLESTEROL: Two tablespoons of honey and three teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder mixed in 16 ounces of tea water given to a cholesterol patient was found to reduce the level of cholesterol in the blood by 10 percent within two hours. As mentioned for arthritic patients, when taken three times a day, any chronic cholesterol-could be cured. According to information received in the said Journal, pure honey taken with food daily relieves complaints of cholesterol.
  • COLDS: Those suffering from common or severe colds should take one tablespoon lukewarm honey with 1/4 spoon cinnamon powder daily for three days. This process will cure most chronic cough, cold, and, clear the sinuses, and it’s delicious too!
  • UPSET STOMACH: Honey taken with cinnamon powder cures stomach ache and also is said to clear stomach ulcers from its root.
  • HAIR LOSS: Those suffering from hair loss or baldness, may apply a paste of hot olive oil, one tablespoon of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder before bath and keep it for approx. 15 min. and then wash the hair. It was found to be effective even if kept on for 5 minutes.
  • GAS: According to the studies done in India and Japan, it is revealed that when Honey is taken with cinnamon powder the stomach is relieved of gas.
  • IMMUNE SYSTEM: Daily use of honey and cinnamon powder strengthens the immune system and protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks. Scientists have found that honey has various vitamins and iron in large amounts. Constant use of Honey strengthens the white blood corpuscles (where DNA is contained) to fight bacterial and viral diseases.
  • LONGEVITY: Tea made with honey and cinnamon powder, when taken regularly, arrests the ravages of old age. Use four teaspoons of honey, one teaspoon of cinnamon powder, and three cups of boiling water to make a tea. Drink 1/4 cup, three to four times a day. It keeps the skin fresh and soft and arrests old age. Life spans increase and even a 100 year old will start performing the chores of a 20-year-old.
  • RASPY OR SORE THROAT: When throat has a tickle or is raspy, take one tablespoon of honey and sip until gone. Repeat every three hours until throat is without symptoms.
  • PIMPLES: Three tablespoons of honey and one teaspoon of cinnamon powder paste. Apply this paste on the pimples before sleeping and wash it off the next morning with warm water. When done daily for two weeks, it removes all pimples from the root.
  • SKIN INFECTIONS:Applying honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts on the affected parts cures eczema, ringworm and all types of skin Infections.
  • WEIGHT LOSS:  Use honey and cinnamon in a 1:2 ratio (one part cinnamon, two parts honey)… put the cinnamon in a cup or bowl  boil one cup of water.  pour water over the cinnamon and let it steep for 30 minutes,  once the liquid has cooled, add honey. Always add honey to the cooled liquid – hot liquid will destroy the enzymes in the raw honey,  drink half of the resulting “tea” before going to bed. Cover and refrigerate the rest… drink the other half first thing in the morning… do not add anything to the recipe and only drink on an empty stomach, first thing in the morning and right before bed.  When taken regularly, it reduces the weight of even the most obese person. Also, drinking this mixture regularly does not allow the fat to accumulate in the body even though the person may eat a high calorie diet.  Typical claims of benefits that you will find for drinking this concoction include:
    •    1. Inches will be lost before you will notice the scale creeping downward.
    •    2. The cinnamon and honey cleanses parasites, fungus and bacteria out of the digestive tract.
    •    3. You may experience side effects due to the release of toxicity.
    •    4. You may experience increased energy, better sex drive and a better mood.
    •    5. The formula will block your body from gaining fat.
  • CANCER: Recent research in Japan and Australia has revealed that advanced cancer of the stomach and bones have been cured successfully. Patients suffering from these kinds of cancer should daily take one tablespoon of honey with one teaspoon of cinnamon powder three times a day for one month.
  • INFERTILITY: Yunani and Ayurvedic Medicine have been using honey for thousands of years to strengthen the semen of men. If impotent men regularly take two tablespoon of honey before going to sleep, their problem will be solved.
  • In China, Japan and Far-East countries, women, who do not conceive and need to strengthen the uterus, have been taking cinnamon powder for centuries. Women who cannot conceive may take a pinch of cinnamon powder in half teaspoon of honey and apply it on the gums frequently throughout the day, so that it slowly mixes with the saliva and enters the body.
  • A couple in Maryland, USA, had no children for 14 years and had lost hope of having a child of their own. When told about this process, husband and wife started taking honey and cinnamon as stated above; the wife conceived after a few months and had twins at full term.
  • FATIGUE: Recent studies have shown that the sugar content of honey is more helpful rather than being detrimental to the strength of the body. Senior citizens who take honey and cinnamon powder in equal parts are more alert and flexible. Dr. Milton, who has done research, says that a half tablespoon of honey taken in a glass of water and sprinkled with cinnamon powder, even when the vitality of the body starts to decrease, when taken daily after brushing and in the afternoon at about 3:00 P.M., the vitality of the body increases within a week.
  • BAD BREATH: Gargle with one teaspoon of honey and cinnamon powder mixed in hot water first thing in the morning

**************NOTES ****************

Please read this about Life Saving notation about Cinnamon before you try using the regular on the shelf cinnamon…

Please read this about buying the right type of honey

Just to clarify …boil the WATER NOT THE HONEY to make tea, you should not directly boil honey AND The honey used needs to be REAL RAW UNPASTEURIZED HONEY. If it says PURE honey it is most likely pasteurized. It is best to only buy honey that says RAW or UNPASTEURIZED on the label. The difference is that the enzymes are all heated out of the pasteurized honey.  Don’t worry… Honey is the only food on the planet that will not spoil or rot. Never boil honey or put it in a microwave. To do so will kill the enzymes in the honey. Make sure your honey is untreated and unprocessed and not heated. This will have the greatest benefit.

warnings about cinnamon intake:

Ceylon cinnamon has been hailed as the “true cinnamon” or the “real cinnamon” that possesses outstanding health benefits especially for the diabetics and those challenged by obesity and high cholesterol issues. Unfortunately this cinnamon which is native to Sri Lanka and sourced from the plant Cinnamomum zeylanicum is rather unknown to most people. In the United States and many parts of Asia, what the majority of us have been buying from the Supermarket and groceries and consuming is actually not the real cinnamon but Cassia cinnamon, which comes from a different plant called Cinnamomum cassia, also known as Chinese cinnamon that are mostly cultivated in China and Indonesia. While the two species of cinnamon share certain characteristics such as antimicrobial, and in terms of inhibiting the growth of fungi and yeast, and regulating blood sugar, their contents differ much in terms of the amount of coumarin, which is a naturally occurring substance with strong blood-thinning properties. The coumarin level in Ceylon cinnamon is negligibly small, while that in Cassia cinnamon is an appalling 1200 times higher. The ingestion of large amount of coumarin or consumption of coumarin over a prolonged period of time can cause serious health damages and a negative impact on the liver and kidney. German FDA has warned against consuming the excessive intake of Cassia bark due to its coumarin content.- often in supermarkets you don’t buy true cinnamon, but cassia (chinese cinnamon bark), which is a cheap cinnamon from China, Vietnam and Indonesia. it contains a potentially dangerous substance called coumarin. (unfortunately, Saigon cinnamon is actually cassia. look for CEYLON cinnamon!)
– cassia should be avoided by pregnant women, those with liver disease, and diabetes
– coumarin is toxic to the liver, is an anticoagulant (it thins the blood), and has been shown to cause cancer in rodents
– the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) for coumarin of 0.07 mg per kg of bodyweight per day
– if you consume cassia over a period of time (such as with oatmeal a few times a week), you can greatly exceed your TDI
– cassia cinnamon should only be used sparingly, as a very light sprinkling, and not in teaspoon amounts

Try to only buy CEYLON cinnamon. and again, conduct your own research, as it is YOUR health.  Because there is no way to tell if the cinnamon powder has been made from the Ceylon or true cinnamon versus the Cassia cinnamon, and most bottles of cinnamon we buy (including the bottle I currently have in my kitchen) do not indicate the type of cinnamon tree the cinnamon is sourced from. In many countries this Ceylon cinnamon is just not imported in the country. Check directly with the supplier to ascertain its origin of the cinnamon before buying the cinnamon powder. If I find a brand that can be verified I will update the post…if you find one can you do the same?

Cinnamon Sticks

As for the cinnamon sticks, there are several ways of determining whether you are getting the real deal. I’ve taken a picture of the two types and placed them side by side. Study the following table and check the cinnamon sticks in your kitchen right away to find what you have been eating all this time.

ceylon versus cassia cinnamon image
Ceylon Cinnamon
Cassia Cinnamon
A highly valued culinary and medicinal spice. Price can be 10 times or more than the Chinese cinnamon.
Commonly available and very cheap. You get a bag of the sticks for less than a dollar.
Tan brown in colour.
Reddish dark brown.
Thin and paper-like textured bark that forms multiple layers when rolled up.
Uneven thick bark that forms only a few layers when rolled up.
Fragile, easily broken.
Tough, difficult to grind to powder.
Delicate, sweet with subtle notes of clove.
Pungent, full-bodied taste.

Storage Tips: Like all other spices, cinnamon loses its strength in fragrance and color over time. Store your cinnamon powder or sticks in air-tight bottles in a cool place, away from any moisture, sunlight or heat. Racks above the stove or near a window are poor storage choices. Refrigerating spices is not recommended due to the high humidity level in fridges. For large quantities of spices, you may want to store them in air tight containers in the freezer compartment. The shelf life of properly stored cinnamon is about 4-5 years for whole cinnamon and 2-3 years for ground cinnamon.

WHICH HONEY TO BUY?

Raw local honey directly from a trusted beekeeper. Local honey comes from the bees that live in your neighborhood and is well known to be a great immune booster against seasonal allergies.  If bee farms and beekeepers aren’t within any possible reach for you and accessing the freshest raw or any local farmers’ market is out of the question, then regular, commercial honey from the stores and online shops would probably be what you are looking at. Now those who have been screaming “DO NOT buy grocery store-brand honey” would probably be appalled by the statement I just made. But they don’t seem to have any idea how remote access to beekeepers can be for some people. You see, the idea of eating honey is about replacing as much refined sugar as possible in your diet. Where beekeepers are not within reach, 100% pure honey from the store is still better off than refined sugar. The same logic applies when comparing other sweeteners – one would be far better off with table sugar than high fructose corn syrup or any artificial sweetener.

First, before we try to understand the marketing labels on honey, we need to know that not all honey is “created” equal. Multiple factors related to the floral source of the honey can affect the quality of honey, for instance weather, soil, landscape, environment pollution level, etc.

which honey to buy imageMaking choices on which honey to buy for us consumers can appear to be complicated when so many beekeepers from different parts of the world are shouting unverifiable claims that they offer the best and purest honey in the world. Also, some honey varieties have more medicinal value than others due to its higher anti-bacterial properties.

The appeal of raw honey is that is unprocessed, unheated and has all its live, nutritious enzymes preserved; however, there are no strict legal requirements for claiming and labeling honey as “raw”. You may find raw honey that are unprocessed but slightly warmed to retard granulation for a short period of time and allow light straining and packing into containers for sale. Claims of “pure honey” on labels can be ambiguous and may not necessarily be equivalent to 100% pure honey as the product may contain “real honey” in an unknown amount. Many brands, including those labelled as “natural”, offer honey that is pasteurized or treated with heat to slow down the process of crystallization so that they remain smooth and are presentable on the shelves. They are also well filtered, and thus look clean and speck-free. I agree this could be partly due to allergy concerns, but many consumers also associate honey containing pollens and brown substances, and even crystallization with impurities and poor quality and refuse to buy it. What a sorry irony.

Imported, foreign honey can be much cheaper than local honey, and this makes it extremely hard for small local beekeepers to compete with the big honey suppliers who are exporting in huge volumes to different countries. So, support your local beekeepers by buying local honey but be wary, as a lot of foreign honey is now locally packed and sold as “local honey”. For instance, America imports most of their honey from China to repackage and label it as their local products. Nonetheless, I reckon it’s not an easy subject to deliberate when the harsh reality of life sets in and cuts deep – while beekeepers find it ridiculous to sustain pleasures in beekeeping when confronted with dire livelihood issues, consumers feel it’s impossible to support relatively more expensive local honey with their limited spending power.

Whether it has to be organic honey depends on whether you are an ardent believer of organic foods as a whole. For honey to be certified organic, the manufacturer has to meet a set of stringent organic standards and conditions during the honey production (set by a organic agriculture certification body), which include source of the nectar, honey bees foraging area, bees management, honey extracting process, transportation, processing temperature, and packaging materials. Go for organic honey if you feel that it’s a healthier choice worth paying the extra and you could have that peace of mind by eating honey that has been tested and guaranteed to be free of any residues of pesticides or environmental pollutants.

Another very important consideration regarding which honey to buy (at least for me as a consumer) is the palate. Taste of honey labelled “floral blend” or “multiflora” varies according to the different floral types from which nectar is collected. If you are not satisfied with eating honey of unidentified floral varietals, then explore the mono-floral varietals. Choose a floral varietal that goes down well with you especially if you are taking direct or mixing it with just water for daily consumption. Taste can be very subjective and personal, so not every variety is going to wow everyone. If you are using honey in your beverage and other foods, experiment with get a few varietals, do some trial and error to see how combinations of food and honey types work for you. Generally, for food or dishes with very distinct, strong taste, go for a mild light taste honey, whereas for food that is blander, you can try a stronger honey to create a tastier concoction, e.g English breakfast tea tastes a world of difference when a flavoursome honey such as a leatherwood or eucalyptus floral varietal is added to it. But of course, if you are prepared for a more adventurous experience with honey, you can break all rules and combine any type of honey with any type food. Possibilities with honey flavour nuances are never-ending.

A final note on which honey to buy – I believe in eating the best of what you can find and afford. There are people who tell me this right in the face when they discovered I’m a honey enthusiast: “Sorry, I don’t eat honey because I can’t afford it.” And what can I say? I believe you would agree with me that it is a totally valid reasoning. (That is why so many countries which are not as affluent use honey only as a medicine and consuming it for pleasure or using it as a health supplement for better body immunity are just not part of their culture.) There is a also a group of honey suppliers who is trying to sell me certified honey that is “fit for the kings and minsters” and of course at an exorbitant price (which I shall not disclose here because it’s going to sound like extortions for most people.) Well, I can’t comment too much on this because I am not of that royal league. And what is price when the worth of honey cannot be appreciated? Why care so much about what some beekeepers are charging for their honey. Honey is too precious to be wasted on any, rich or poor, who can’t see its value. So, your choice of honey really depends on a combination of factors such as price, affordability, accessibility to beekeepers and trusted commercial brands, how much you believe in the health and healing benefits of honey, and how far you are willing to go in pursuing good sugar and getting to the bottom of the source and quality of the honey. At the end of the day, my opinion is, even if raw honey is unavailable, commercial honey can still be many times more superior than refined table sugar, high fructose corn syrup and any artificial sugar. I’m not against buying cheap honey, but I would say think twice and double check, because it’s all too easy to find fake or adulterated honey sold at the price of rare floral varietals such as Corsican honey, but just impossible to get quality pure honey at the same low price as corn syrup.

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