Cinnamon Chronicles

by | Oct 10, 2023 | Spice Alchemy, Spice Blog | 0 comments

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The Cinnamon Chronicles: Spice, Sweetness, and Healing

 

History of Cinnamon

Cinnamon, with its distinct aroma and rich history, is a spice that has travelled continents and time. Originating from the aromatic bark of trees in the Cinnamomum family, this ancient spice once held a place of luxury amongst commodities, revered by many civilizations. It was a treasured gift for monarchs and a prized item in the spice routes of early traders.

Historical records suggest that Cinnamon was extensively utilized by the ancient Egyptians not only as a flavourful addition but also for its embalming properties. By the medieval era, its reputation had spread to Europe, where it was a staple in various culinary and medicinal preparations.

Origin & Global Footprint

Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, previously known as Ceylon, which gives the ‘true’ cinnamon its name: Ceylon Cinnamon or Cinnamomum zeylanicum. This is differentiated from the more common variety found in supermarkets, which is Cassia. Through the years, cultivation spread to other tropical regions, but Sri Lanka still holds its reputation as the premier producer of the highest quality cinnamon.

Ayurvedic Traditional Use of Cinnamon

In the ancient science of Ayurveda, cinnamon, known as “Dalchini” in Sanskrit, holds a revered spot. Recognized not only for its warming aromatic fragrance but also for its myriad of health benefits, cinnamon has been a pivotal herb in Ayurvedic practices for thousands of years.

Balancing the Doshas: Ayurveda is built around the principle of the three doshas – Vata, Pitta, and Kapha. Cinnamon is particularly beneficial for balancing the Vata and Kapha doshas, thanks to its warming nature. This warming quality makes it excellent for improving circulation and alleviating symptoms associated with coldness and congestion.

Digestive Health: Ayurveda values cinnamon for its deepana (appetizer) and pachana (digestive) properties. It aids digestion by kindling the digestive fire, helping to reduce bloating, flatulence, and abdominal discomfort. Additionally, its astringent taste can help with diarrhea and its sweet post-digestive effect is nurturing for the digestive tract.

Respiratory Relief: Cinnamon’s warming properties have made it a favored remedy in Ayurvedic treatments for respiratory ailments. It’s often recommended for colds, coughs, asthma, and other respiratory issues, primarily due to its ability to reduce mucus and congestion.

Blood Sugar and Circulation: Traditionally, Ayurvedic practitioners have used cinnamon as a natural remedy to enhance insulin sensitivity and support better blood sugar control. Its warming nature also means it’s excellent for stimulating circulation, especially in those who often feel cold.

Mind and Spirit: Beyond the physical, cinnamon’s sweet and penetrating qualities have been said to uplift the spirit and calm the mind. It’s often used in Ayurvedic tonics to relieve stress and boost cognitive functions.

Incorporating cinnamon into one’s daily life, be it in meals, teas, or traditional Ayurvedic preparations, means weaving in a thread of ancient wisdom. It serves as a sweet reminder of nature’s potent remedies and the time-tested insights of Ayurveda.

Recent Evidence of Medicinal Properties

Recent scientific studies, like those of Ranasinghe et al. (2013) and Pathak & Sharma (2021), shed light on the myriad medicinal properties of ‘true’ cinnamon. This spice, packed with bioactive compounds, showcases potential in:

  • Anti-diabetic properties: Helping to improve insulin sensitivity.
  • Anti-inflammatory: Aiding in reducing inflammation in the body.
  • Antioxidant-rich: Combatting oxidative stress.
  • Cardioprotective qualities: Assisting in cholesterol management and heart health.
  • Neuroprotective effects: Holding potential against neurodegenerative diseases.
  • Potential antimicrobial, antiviral, and antifungal activities

In a Nutshell, what can cinnamon do for your?

For starters, cinnamon is a heart’s best friend. It has shown promise in helping maintain a healthy heart by supporting balanced cholesterol levels and regulating blood pressure. This is fantastic news for anyone wanting to keep their ticker in top shape!

Digestive discomfort after a meal? Cinnamon to the rescue! For centuries, this spice has been a go-to remedy for digestive issues. Its natural compounds help soothe the stomach, reduce bloating, and promote overall digestive health.

Now, here’s an interesting tidbit: cinnamon might be your ally in balancing those sugar levels. Some studies suggest that it can play a role in maintaining stable blood sugar, which is especially beneficial for those monitoring their glucose.

And let’s not forget its anti-inflammatory properties. Our bodies, while amazing, can sometimes overreact, leading to inflammation. Cinnamon has compounds that gently calm this response, supporting our body’s natural healing process.

Lastly, if you’re all about maintaining a radiant glow, you’d be delighted to know that cinnamon’s antioxidants are great for skin health. They combat free radicals, those pesky culprits behind premature aging.

So, the next time you sprinkle some cinnamon on your oatmeal or brew a cinnamon-infused tea, know that you’re not just delighting your taste buds, but also giving your body a sprinkle of health and wellness. Embrace its goodness and explore the range of dishes you can enhance with this incredible spice. Don’t forget to check out the Spice Alchemy range; our Certified Organic Cinnamon is waiting to make its way into your pantry!

Flavour Profile of Cinnamon

This spice is nothing short of a culinary wonder. It exudes warmth, sweetness, and a subtle woody aroma, making it versatile in both savory and sweet dishes. The gentle heat and profound sweetness of cinnamon make it a popular ingredient in desserts, while its complexity enhances the depths of savory dishes.

Signature Dishes Using Cinnamon

Sri Lankan

  • Watalappan: A rich custard dessert infused with cinnamon and made primarily with jaggery and coconut milk. This delicacy carries a delicate balance of sweetness and spice.
  • Lamb Curry: Slow-cooked lamb in a fragrant blend of spices, with cinnamon taking the center stage, giving the curry a deep aromatic warmth.
  • Cinnamon Tea: Sri Lanka, famed for its tea, has a special brew that infuses high-grade black tea with the aromatic wonders of cinnamon.

Indian

  • Biryani: A fragrant rice dish layered with marinated meat or vegetables, where cinnamon is a key spice in the aromatic blend that permeates this rich dish.
  • Rogan Josh: A slow-cooked Kashmiri lamb curry infused with spices, with cinnamon providing a subtle, warm undertone.
  • Gajar Ka Halwa: A sweet carrot pudding cooked with milk, sugar, ghee, and generously flavored with cinnamon and cardamom.

Indonesian

  • Serabi: These are traditional Indonesian pancakes made with rice flour and coconut milk, sometimes flavored with a hint of cinnamon, and served with a variety of toppings.
  • Semur Ayam: A sweet and savory chicken stew, flavored with sweet soy sauce and spices including cinnamon.
  • Kolak: A sweet dessert soup made from banana or sweet potato, sweetened with palm sugar, and flavored with pandan leaves and cinnamon.

Lebanese or Middle Eastern

  • Maklouba: A spiced upside-down rice dish, usually made with eggplants, lamb or chicken, where cinnamon plays a key role.
  • Lamb Tagine: A slow-cooked stew with lamb, apricots, and a blend of spices including cinnamon.
  • Baklava: A sweet dessert made of layers of filo pastry filled with nuts and sweetened with syrup or honey. Cinnamon is a crucial spice in the nut filling.

European Dishes

  • Cinnamon Rolls: Soft rolls with a buttery cinnamon-sugar filling, commonly enjoyed for breakfast or as a dessert in many European countries, especially in the Nordic region.
  • Apple Strudel: A popular dessert in Central Europe, it’s a pastry filled with tart cooking apples, sugar, cinnamon, raisins, and breadcrumbs.
  • Mulled Wine: Especially popular during winter in Europe, this is red wine heated with a spice mix where cinnamon is dominant, often accompanied by orange zest, cloves, and star anise.

Cinnamon, with its storied past and promising health benefits, is truly a spice for the ages. While its intoxicating aroma can elevate any dish, its potential health benefits can nourish the body. Why not try it out in your next meal? Spice up your hot chocolate with a quill of cinnamon, and for a quality addition to your spice cabinet, don’t miss out on the Spice Alchemy range, featuring certified organic Cinnamon and other spice blends.

For more intriguing spice tales and recipes, continue exploring the Spice Alchemy Blog. Dive deep into the world of flavours and traditions. And remember, every sprinkle in your dish holds a story, waiting to be savoured and told.

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