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Honey & Cinnamon – are they better together?

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Honey and Cinnamon are two natural ingredients with multiple health benefits however, do they become a more powerful healing agent when combined?

Honey has several health benefits connected to its antioxidant capacity and antibacterial properties in addition to being a healthier alternative to table sugar.    Most benefits of honey are associated with active compounds that are most concentrated in high quality, unfiltered honey.  Make sure you purchase unfiltered honey, as most of the highly processed honey on supermarket shelves offer very few health benefits.    Following are some well-known benefits of Honey

  1. May be an effective cough suppressant. One study found that honey was more effective at suppressing night-time coughs than dextromethorphan, the active ingredient in most cough syrups.
  2. May be a powerful treatment for wounds and burns. Applying honey to the skin may be a powerful treatment for wounds
  3. Honey may also be a sleep aid, memory booster, natural aphrodisiac, treatment for yeast infections, and a natural way to reduce plaque on your teeth.   These claims are yet to be verified and individual results vary depending on the quality of the honey and the overall health of the person.

Cinnamon is one of the most well-known spices and one of the healthiest spices in the world, however there are two major types of Cinnamon and each has different properties.   Both have health benefits but Ceylon Cinnamon is the better choice if you’re going to consume it regularly.

  1. Cassia Cinnamon, also known as Chinese cinnamon, is the most popular type in supermarkets. It’s less expensive, of lower quality than Ceylon cinnamon.
  1. Ceylon Cinnamon. This is known as “true cinnamon.” It is a little harder to find than Cassia cinnamon has a slightly sweeter flavour and is the better of the two.

Cinnamon’s health benefits are linked to the active compounds in its essential oil, however too much Cinnamon of any kind, is not always a good thing.

  1. May reduce inflammation. Long-term inflammation increases the risk of chronic disease. Studies show cinnamon may help reduce inflammation
  1. May help treat neurodegenerative diseases. A few test-tube studies suggest that cinnamon might help slow the progression of Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. These results need to be confirmed in human studies
  2. May help protect against cancer. A few animal and test-tube studies found that cinnamon helps prevent the growth and reproduction of cancer cells. However, these results need to be confirmed with human studies

Some have suggested that cinnamon may be a natural treatment for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), premenstrual syndrome (PMS), polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and food poisoning, however, there is insufficient evidence to support such claims.

Honey and Cinnamon combined:

Heart Health   Studies have shown that the health benefits of honey and cinnamon are similar and a mixture of the two may have the potential to lower the risk of heart disease by reducing several risk factors including cholesterol and high blood pressure.

Consuming honey is thought to lower LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglyceride levels by as much as 10%.   Honey may also increase HDL (good) cholesterol by about 3%.   A daily dose of Cinnamon works in almost the same way.

Both foods are rich in antioxidants, which have multiple benefits for the heart.    Polyphenol antioxidants found in both products may improve blood flow to the heart and prevent blood clots, lowering the risk of heart attack and stroke.   Honey and cinnamon both reduce chronic inflammation which is also a major factor of heart disease

Wound healing    Applied topically honey and cinnamon have well-documented healing properties that could help treat skin infections when the mixture is applied topically.   Honey and cinnamon each have the ability to fight bacteria and decrease inflammation, which assists with healing the skin.  When applied topically, honey has been used successfully to treat burns and other wounds and Cinnamon may provide some additional benefits for healing wounds, thanks to its strong antibacterial properties.   To use honey and cinnamon to treat a skin infection, mix honey with a small amount of cinnamon oil and apply it directly to the infected skin , but please remember to consult your health care practitioner before starting any wound treatment. 

Diabetes   Consuming cinnamon on a regular basis may be beneficial for those with diabetes and may also help prevent diabetes.   Numerous studies have shown that cinnamon decreases fasting blood sugar levels in people with the condition.  One of the ways cinnamon lowers blood sugar is by increasing insulin sensitivity. Cinnamon is thought to make cells more sensitive to the hormone insulin and help sugar move from the blood into the cells.  Honey also has some potential benefits.    Studies have shown that honey affects blood sugar levels less significantly than sugar, however, even though honey and cinnamon may be relatively healthier than table sugar as a sweetener, honey is still high in carbs, so should be used it in moderation.

Antioxidants   Both honey and cinnamon are excellent sources of antioxidants, which have multiple benefits for health.  Antioxidants protect from unstable molecules called free radicals, which can damage your cells.   Honey and Cinnamon are both rich in phenol antioxidants, which have been associated with a decreased risk of heart disease.   Consuming honey and cinnamon together will give you a powerful dose of antioxidants.

Summary   The combination of honey and cinnamon may offer benefits such as improving your heart health, treating wounds, and helping manage diabetes.   Honey and cinnamon are both beneficial for your health, however there’s no strong evidence that combining the two will multiply their effects in any way.

A word of caution!!

Please be aware that Cinnamon contains a compound called coumarin, which can be toxic in large doses. Coumarin content is much higher in Cassia cinnamon than in Ceylon cinnamon so where ever possible purchase Ceylon cinnamon.

If you consume the Cassia variety, limit your daily intake to 1/2 teaspoon (0.5–2 grams)If you purchase Ceylon cinnamon limit your daily intake to 1 teaspoon (about 5 grams) per day.  

Honey should not be given to infants under 12 months of age without advice from your Health Care Practitioner , and when using any  natural or pharmaceutical products  you should always check with you Health Care Practitioner before commencing any treatment.

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