Cinnamon is a popular spice at Christmas time, used to flavour everything from mulled wine to pumpkin pie. And, unlike many Christmas foods, this one might actually be good for you.
Cinnamon, the bark of a small evergreen tree, has been used as a medicine for centuries, if not millennia. It is widely used in traditional Chinese medicine for treating, among other things, acute traumatic pain and “weak digestion”. In Ayurvedic medicine it is used to treat arthritis, diarrhoea and menstrual irregularities.
In Western medicine, it has been known for decades that cinnamon contains biologically active substances (polyphenals) that act in a similar manner to insulin. As a result, it has been proposed that the spice might be beneficial for diabetics. However, a systematic review of the evidence, published in Diabetes Care in 2008, didn’t support using cinnamon for glucose control in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes.
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