Ceylon Cinnamon : Cinnamon And Diabetes

What is cinnamon?

The cinnamon is a spice from the dried bark of cinnamon trees, in particular of genuine or Ceylon cinnamon tree. Cinnamon comes ground than typical brown powder or quite as cinnamon (rolled, tubular piece of bark) in the trade. Rod cinnamon called also cinnamon. Smaller branches and leaves are used for the production of cinnamon oil.


Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices, which was supposedly already 3000 years BC in China used as such. The finer known Ceylon cinnamon was 1498 by the Portuguese Navigator Vasco da 'discovered Gama on the island of Ceylon, the today's Sri Lanka,' and so to Europe. Sri Lanka remains one of the largest growing areas for Ceylon cinnamon. In the Europe of the 16th to the 18th centuries, cinnamon was considered as one of the most expensive and precious spices. So, burned, for example, the merchant Anton Fugger the promissory notes Karls V. 1530 before his eyes in a fire from cinnamon sticks and thus demonstrated its wealth.


The aroma of the cinnamon tree goes back to the cinnamon oil contained in it, which is 75 percent of cinnamaldehyde (in the flavoring directory: Fl number 05014). Other major flavors are particularly during the Ceylon cinnamon (also occurring in cloves) Eugenol (Fl-number 04003 and the cassia cinnamon and the scent of woodruff coumarin.

Cinnamon is used in many areas of use:

As a spice
Cinnamon is used primarily for flavoring hot beverages (tea) and spirits in the Indian and Near Eastern cuisine for meat dishes. We used a portion of the bark (cortex cinnamomi in Latin) of the Ceylon cinnamon tree-namely the thin inner layer between bark and bark means, the tube-like to stick cinnamon (or to cinnamon or Zimtröhre) rolls up once it is separated from the wood. There are telescoped six to ten of the finest inner bark, and allowed to dry. The thinner the bark, the finer the flavor that makes the rod. These cinnamon rolls can be used for long because they lose their flavor slowly. To determine the quality, it is for the Ceylon Cinnamon own measure of value (unit: Ekelle). The best cinnamon is evaluated with the numbers (Ekellen) 00000, then the quality drops to Ekelle 0, then continue on until I Ekelle IV. From the condition of the roles of the producer price depends decisively. The imported to Europe spice cinnamon is widely referred to as quality "Hamburg" and is considered the worst quality available roles, but is different in taste not of the other levels of quality when it is ground. For the European market the cinnamon is almost always ground. He is in Central Europe, mainly in connection with sugar, for desserts, cakes and mulled wine, especially at Christmas time common, rare for savory or spicy food or meat dishes.

Also in Asia cinnamon powder is used for the production of spice mixtures. Waste from manufacturing, and also the chips cinnamon oil is obtained which is used for flavoring and liquors as a fragrance in the perfume industry. Regionally, the leaves are used like bay leaves.

The spice trade is different (Cinnamomum cassia) between the Sri Lanka native Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum JS Presl) and the slightly sharper seasoning, originating from China cassia cinnamon. Until the 1960s, Vietnam was the main source of cassia cinnamon, due to the effects of the Vietnam War, the Zimtproduktion in the highlands of Sumatra (Indonesia) was accelerated. In Vietnamese cuisine Cinnamon is very popular in connection with meat dishes.

In contrast to Ceylon cinnamon, a relatively thick layer of bark is rolled up into a roll in cassia cinnamon.

In therapy
A possible hypoglycaemic effect of cinnamon in the early stages of diabetes mellitus is controversial in modern medicine. In a first pilot study, the efficacy of larger doses of cinnamon was (1-6 grams) were investigated on blood sugar and blood fat levels. Here's one way to lower fasting blood glucose, triglycerides, total and LDL-cholesterol was observed. In another study of 79 patients a reduction in blood sugar levels, but not the force as a "long-term blood sugar levels" HbA1c and blood lipid levels could be observed. Cinnamon extract met according to previous knowledge, the criteria of a plant dietetic adjuvant therapy in type 2 diabetes, a proof of concept of the use of cinnamon in diabetes mellitus according to the criteria of evidence-based medicine is still out. Cinnamon oil and cinnamon bark have made ​​a good antimicrobial activity. This is mainly due to the effect of cinnamaldehyde, the main component of the essential oil contained in the cinnamon; especially active components are p-cymene, linalool and o-Methoxizimtaldehyd.

As an essential oil 
We distinguish the essential oil from the leaves of the of the bark, which is obtained by steam distillation. The cinnamon leaf oil consists of 80% phenols, sesquiterpenes, aldehydes and esters. The cinnamon bark oil has 70% cinnamaldehyde, 10% phenols, monoterpenes, sesquiterpenes, esters and Monoterpenole as ingredients. Both essential oils are very irritating to the skin.

Essential oil of cinnamon leaves and the cinnamon bark should not be used in pregnancy as it affects blow-promoting. However, if the birth difficult precedes can be stimulated by the application of cinnamon labor. For cinnamaldehyde promoting effects could be detected on the progesterone synthesis in the experiment.

As Incense
Both flower and bark on combustion the typical flowery cinnamon odor free.

Health risks
Add cinnamon - especially in cheap cassia cinnamon (also: Chinese cinnamon) - coumarin regarded as harmful in high doses is included. In finished products almost exclusively this coming from China, Indonesia and Vietnam cassia cinnamon is processed. The coumarin content of both types of cinnamon differs considerably: While he is the cassia cinnamon in about 2 g per kg coumarin, Ceylon cinnamon are found in the same amount of only about 0.02 g of coumarin.

Coumarin can cause headaches, extreme overdose liver damage, liver inflammation and even cancer cause, as determined in probably only partially transferable to humans animal experiments with rats in overdose and in sensitive people. Such studies did not exist in humans so far.

In studies in Germany (Nordrhein-Westfalen) Zimtprodukte were, for the first time in January 2006, found that, to the 37-fold had exceeded the maximum value of the coumarin component, according to the valid regulation flavors. In June 2006, warned the first time, then, the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) in a statement to the consumption of large quantities of cinnamon and cinnamon-containing products: Even with consumption of 20 grams of the highest loaded Cinnamon daily (equivalent to many brands of a set of three pieces) over a longer period, the maximum tolerable intake would be achieved in infants. A second opinion of BfR refers to cinnamon capsules that are sold for the treatment of diabetes mellitus type II. Further checks were announced in October 2006 by the Ministry of Consumer Protection. Here Zimtprodukte were discovered in Rhineland-Palatinate, which had 103 mg coumarin per kilogram, while the maximum value of the time valid German Aromenverordnung only 2 mg / kg was (until 1 November 2006, however, 67 mg / kg).

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment has confirmed the published 2006 TDI (tolerable daily intake, tolerable daily intake) of 0.1 milligrams per kilogram of body weight per day based on new data for inclusion and bioavailability of coumarin in September 2012. At the same time, the BfR suggests that exceedances of the TDI are only possible if large quantities are consumed in cinnamon-containing foods every day. In infants with a body weight of 15 kg, according to the BfR TDI at a daily intake of 6 g cinnamon or gingerbread 100 would be exhausted.

Coumarin heard loud valid flavors Regulation EC 1334/2008 on substances that may not be added as such to food (Annex III, Part A of the flavors Regulation) and subject to certain limits, if it occurs naturally present in flavorings and food ingredients with flavoring properties (Annex III , Part B). The maximum allowable rates depend on the type of food between 5 mg / kg in desserts and 50 mg / kg in traditional and / or seasonal bakery ware containing a reference to cinnamon in the labeling.

But should also be noted that in many other products, such as in breakfast products, gingerbread, pudding, mulled wine, various teas, spice blends (z. B. Curry) and even in cosmetics cinnamon can be included. This daily ration should, "contaminated" products, yet clearly are such in accordance with the personal consumption under the recommendations of the BfR.

A clear evidence of the alleged dangerousness of coumarin during normal use of coumarin-containing spices do not exist, however. In all studies, a harmful effect occurred only after extreme overdoses on in experiments on rats.

In the domestic sphere, it is recommended to use the more expensive Ceylon Cinnamon, in the Asia-shops (esp here. Tamil shops), health food stores, pharmacies or drug stores can be obtained and because of the low coumarin content is considered safe.

The Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) accuses the food industry to use the cheaper cassia cinnamon instead of the more expensive Ceylon Cinnamon for cost reasons. However, the food industry denies the accusation, arguing that cassia cinnamon will used mainly for its excellent taste. Even the typical cinnamon flavor on the stand baking process better. Furthermore, it was not simply for quantitative reasons to use the Ceylon cinnamon, since this it was too rare.

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