Cinnamon - Trivia of Spice

Origin: Imported from China to Egypt as early as 2000 B.C., Cinnamon was given as a prestigious offering to Monarchs. It is even featured with positive and symbolic meaning in the NY Times All-time Best Seller, The Bible, in the books of Exodus and Proverbs.

Plant: A small evergreen tree with oblong leaves and little green flowers with an unpleasant smell. Inside the tree's small purple berry is a single seed. Cinnamon is harvested by growing the tree for two years and then cutting it back in order to grow shoots from the tree's roots over the duration of the next year. The shoots are then stripped of their bark and dried. After naturally drying, the outer portion is removed and only a minimally thin inner bark is used. Finally, the thin bark is layered with other pieces and once more left to dry into the recognizable curled strips. This final result, known as the quill is then cut into spicejar-sized pieces. The oil, also highly utilized is prepared by pounding the bark, soaking it in sea water and then distilling it.

Quality: The best cinnamon comes naturally out of Sri Lanka, as well as commercially grown farms in Brazil, Madagascar, Sumatra, West Indies, Vietnam, and more. It possesses a very thin smooth bark with a light-yellowish brown color. Its fragrant odor is particularly sweet, warm and it gives a very pleasing taste, the result of the concentration of its cinnamon oil.

Benefits: U. S. Department of Agriculture found in studies that using a half teaspoon of cinnamon daily lowered many dangerous blood related levels, including blood sugar in diabetics (especially Type-2), cholesterol, triglyceride and Low Density Lipo-proteins (LDL's). The same result is achieved by adding cinnamon in tea. To be furthered researched is a notion that ingesting cinnamon can lower blood pressure and whether or not excessive amounts of the fat-soluable components of cinnamon are safe from toxicity.

The Oil of cinnamon also has its benefits - boosting brain function. Research by the Association for Chemoreception Sciences found that products with cinnamon oil enhanced resesarch participant's cognitive processing, especially, in computer-based tasks such as attentional processes, virtual recognition, working memory, and visual-motor speed.

Blurb: When mentioning cinnamon, desserts such as the cinnamon roll come to mind first. However, in all purpose cinnamon does more than just make your food taste good. It also qualifies as an "anti-microbial" food, stopping the growth of bacteria as well as fungi such as yeast (Candida). In laboratory tests, growth of yeast with resistance to anti-fungal medication was often stopped by cinnamon extracts. With this data, cinnamon even proves itself worthy as a natural food preservative...but really, to us it just tastes and smells great!

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