The ancient ritual of smudging has regained popularity in the modern world. In recent years, people have used plant smoke to “cleanse” a space, clarifying the energy of negativity. The practice involves burning herbs and plant resins for spiritual and medicinal reasons, and it was used by indigenous peoples around he world.
You may be surprised to know that most of the “cinnamon” sold in Europe and North America is actually not cinnamon at all. It is a similar spice more properly known as cassia, and it does not provide the valuable health benefits of Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean. Cassia, sometimes called Chinese cinnamon or Saigon cinnamon, is grown primarily in Indonesia, China, Vietnam, Japan and Korea.
Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years to seas food and for its medicinal qualities. Ancient Egyptians used cinnamon in their embalming rituals. The Emperor Nero showed his devotion to his late wife by having a year’s supply of cinnamon burned on her funeral pyre.
There are several differences between the two cinnamons. Ceylon cinnamon costs more and is more difficult to find. It is more refined, lighter and sweeter than cassia, and it is a better choice for use in sweet desserts. The heaver cassia cinnamon is suited to savory dishes.
A more important difference, however, is the level of coumarin, a natural compound that functions as a blood thinner when ingested. Cassia has a much higher level of coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon. In fact, patients on blood thinning medications such as warfarin are encouraged to limit their intake of cinnamon, but this applies much more to cassia than real cinnamon.
Both kinds of cinnamon are very good sources of manganese, a trace mineral essential to healthy bones and the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats. They are both rich in dietary fiber, iron and calcium. Fiber and calcium work together to lower the likelihood of colon cancer, reduce cholesterol levels, and relieve constipation and diarrhea.
Here are six reasons to eat the real cinnamon, every day:
1. It lowers blood sugar levels. – Cinnamon normalizes blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics by reducing insulin resistance. Less than half a teaspoon a day reduces blood sugar levels.
2. It improves heart health. – A research study completed in 2003 found that type 2 diabetic subjects who ate between one and six grams of cinnamon (about 2 teaspoons) daily for 40 days lowered their blood sugar levels by 18 – 29 percent, and also reduced triglycerides by 23 to 30 percent, their LDL (bad) cholesterol by 7 to 27 percent, and their total cholesterol by 12 to 26 percent.
3. It assists in blood clotting. – Extensive research has shown cinnamon supports the healthy clotting of blood platelets.
4. It fights bacteria and fungus – Ayurvedic medicine prizes cinnamon for its anti-microbial qualities. Cinnamon fights not just bacteria, but also viruses, fungi and Candida.
5. It boosts memory and protects the brain.- The simple act of smelling cinnamon, or chewing cinnamon flavored gum, improves brain activity. Research shows it improves memory attention, and cognition.
6. It improves digestion. – Traditional Chinese medicine uses cinnamon for flatulence, nausea and diarrhea. It supports digestion of fruit and dairy products.
Although both cassia and Ceylon cinnamon offer some health benefits, spend a little extra month and get the real thing. You will notice it is a lighter shade of brown, a finer texture and a sweeter scent – and it is work the extra expenditure of time and money.
Most of us have now heard of mindfulness, but you may have only a vague understanding of the term. Mindfulness is often recommended to reduce stress and anxiety. Scientists have proven its positive health outcomes in terms of neuroscience, and people all over the world are enjoying the benefits of this increasingly popular practice.
If you’re a fan of Indian food, you are probably familiar with turmeric. This bright orange herb gives curry its vibrant color, and it is used in most Indian dishes. What you may not know is that Ayurveda, the traditional medicine of India, uses turmeric as a medicinal ingredient.
Arnica flowers and roots have been used for health purposes for hundreds of years. If you are live an active lifestyle, consider adding arnica oil to your alternative health first-aid kid. Arnica oil is an exceptional treatment for exercise injuries, bruises and sprains.
A new study suggests if your parents lived past 70 years of age, you are 20 percent less likely to die from heart disease. You may also have lower rates of vascular disease, heart failure, stroke, high cholesterol and high blood pressure. The study’s co-author is Luke Pilling, a research fellow in epidemiology and public health at the University of Exeter Medical School.
When you were a kid, were you fascinated by the ability of a lizard to regrow its tail? Did you know deer regrow their antlers? Imagine if we humans could regenerate limbs that have been injured or lost!
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy has come to be considered the “gold standard” in treating patients with depression through psychotherapy. Because therapists using CBT must undergo extensive training, the National Health Service in the U.K. often has a long waiting list for patients seeking mental health treatment for the condition. Now a new study shows that another type of psychotherapy, behavioral activation therapy, is equally effective.
Healthy teeth and gums impact more than your appearance. Health studies have identified links between oral health and overall health. Researchers are unsure whether the links are a matter of cause and effect or simply correlative, but there is no doubt the condition of your mouth is relevant to the health of your entire body.
Scientists have made a breakthrough discovery in understanding multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that attacks the central nervous system. In a study published in Frontiers in Neurology, researchers from the University of Surrey have found a misfolded, or “rogue” protein in MS. This discovery indicates MS has more in common with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and ALS than previously recognized, as earlier research has demonstrated a similar rogue protein plays a role in those diseases. They hope this discovery will lay the groundwork for greater insights into MS, and new treatments for neurodegenerative diseases.