All the muffin experiments reminded me of how much I love cinnamon! There are few aromas that make me happier. Probably for a good reason, since a Western Jesuit University study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and decreases feelings of frustration.
Closely related to the smell is the taste. What would apple pie be without cinnamon!? We use it in pancakes, waffles and baked goods. Adding a dash of cinnamon to coffee makes even the worst swill palatable. And a dash of cinnamon is the secret ingredient in tomato soup.
Over the centuries cinnamon has been used in anointing oil, embalming, perfume making and as a gift fit for kings and gods. Ancient people knew that cinnamon preserved food. What we now know is that it has a strong anti-bacterial component that inhibits bacterial growth and consequently, food spoiling. Chinese medicine men use it to treat almost any digestive disturbance from an upset tummy, to diarrhea and even morning sickness.
Many years ago I experimented with Cinnamon and honey as an antidote for pain. I tried rubbing on aching joints and drinking it in hot tea. I don’t exactly remember the specifics but I do know that even now, when I fell achy and sore, a drink of hot water with cinnamon and honey always makes me feel better.
Even longer ago, I was down in Mexico, miles from a doctor. I fell, cut my leg wide open and skinned up my elbow. This very kind old Mexican “witch” sprinkled cinnamon all over the wounds. Burnt like hell, but it stopped the bleeding. AND the cuts and abrasions healed up with no sign of infection. That anti-bacterial thing again, I guess.
Modern studies show that cinnamon lowers LDL and triglycerides which mean lower overall cholesterol. Other studies show that cinnamon reduces blood sugar levels and is an important treatment for Type 2 diabetes (you probably should leave the honey alone, however). And the other good news is that the improved insulin resistance may translate to weight loss.
Cinnamon is one of those few things in life that is both good and good for you! It is an essential in any kitchen and as it turns out is a great addition to your medicine cabinet as well.