The amazing benefits of cinnamon
What is cinnamon?
Probably best known for its use in sweet treats and pastries, cinnamon is full of sweet and stimulating essential oils. At Pukka, cinnamon is a long-time favourite for invigorating, warming and generally making life more delicious.
Cinnamon’s spicy nature supports our ability to digest food and keep our blood sugar levels balanced after meals. It also supports a healthy circulation, leaving you feel positively uplifted for the rest of your day. Its delicious comforting flavour is perfect for anyone with a sweet tooth.
The term ‘cinnamon’ refers to the delicate aromatic bark of many different, yet closely related species. The cinnamons we use in blends such as our Three Cinnamon tea and Wild Apple and Cinnamon tea come from three different types that we source from Vietnam, Indonesia and India. These varieties contain the highest levels of the delicious and therapeutic essential oils.
So, why's cinnamon special?
Cinnamon is one of the most valuable plant remedies in human history, much favoured in both cooking and traditional herbal medicine for its warming digestive effects. It is packed with warning essential oils including cinnamaldehyde, which gives cinnamon its scent and delicious flavour. Pukka use the cassia variety, as it contains higher levels of essential oils than other cinnamon species. Like many popular spices, it has strong antibacterial and antifungal properties which is why it was so popular for culinary uses. In traditional herbal medicine cinnamon is used for its wonderfully warming, sweet and pungent properties. However, it also makes the herbal formula taste good and can mask the effect of bitter herbs!
What are the health benefits of cinnamon?
Aside from its many culinary uses, cinnamon’s health benefits have been widely researched and include (1)
Cinnamon’s warming effects support the digestion system and the ability to digest food by increasing the digestive fire (known as agni in Ayurveda) and digestive enzymes.
Cinnamon is especially helpful to balance blood sugar levels and promote a healthy gut microbiome.
Cinnamon stimulates circulation, helping to warm up the inner body as well as cold extremities such as hands and feet. It is included in our invigorating Revitalise tea blend for this reason.
Full of sweet and stimulating essential oils, cinnamon is a long-time favourite for invigorating, warming and generally making life more delicious.
How we grow and source our highest quality cinnamon
Our organic Vietnamese cinnamon comes from a certified fair-trade project in the hills of north Vietnam. At harvesting time, the valuable inner bark is peeled off and sun-dried, where it naturally curls into cinnamon quills. Being fair-trade certified ensures that the cinnamon farmers are paid a premium price and an additional sum is donated to the farmers’ cooperative to support social projects, which has helped the local community build a kindergarten and a bridge in the village. Protecting the forests where the cinnamon trees are planted also ensures the habitat is safeguarded and the slopes are protected from erosion. The forests are a diverse ecosystem where cassia cinnamon trees and wild plants and animals flourish together. So we get great cinnamon brimming in flavour and potent essential oils and the farmers make more income whilst protecting their beautiful ecosystem. We think it’s the best way to make a sweet cup of tea. After hearing about all of cinnamon’s amazing benefits, why not try it out by making a Wild Apple and Cinnamon Hot Toddy?
The cinnamon we use in blends such as our Three Cinnamon tea is the ‘cassia’ variety, which comes from several different Cinnamomum species in South East Asia; C. aromaticum, C. burmanni, C. bejolghota coming from Vietnam, Indonesia and India.
These varieties contain the highest levels of the delicious and therapeutic essential oils.
Cinnamon is often grown in semi-wild ‘forest gardens’. To the untrained eye it is hard to distinguish a tropical forest garden from a forest, but they are in fact carefully designed and highly efficient ‘agro-ecosystems’ that can contain an incredible diversity of multi-purpose herbs, shrubs and trees.
Fairly traded and Rainforest Alliance
Our Vietnamese cinnamon comes from a certified fair trade project in the hills of north Vietnam. The agreement ensures that the cinnamon farmers are paid a premium price and an additional sum is donated to the farmers’ cooperative to support social projects, which has helped the local community build a kindergarten and a bridge in the village.
Further south our Indonesian cinnamon comes from a project that is Rainforest Alliance certified; this means that the producers must adhere to the rigorous standards of the Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN), which provides assurance that farmers, farm workers, wildlife and the rainforest benefit equally from the trade of cinnamon.
Author: Marion Mackonochie
Senior Herbal Specialist
Marion is Senior Herbal Specialist at Pukka and a practising medical herbalist dedicated to furthering herbal knowledge and understanding. Degrees in pharmacology (UCL) and herbal medicine and a masters degree in plant chemistry and medicinal natural products (UCL) mean she is well placed to help plan Pukka’s extensive programme of herbal research, as well as advising across Pukka on herb benefits. She has worked on the Journal of Herbal Medicine since its launch in 2011 and is currently Associate Editor.
B.Sc qualified in herbal medicine (Middlesex Uni, 2009), M.Sc (mCPP) qualified in pharmacology & physiology (UCL, 2002), MSc medicinal natural products and phytochemistry (UCL, 2016)
Years of experience
12 years in medical herbalism
Member of College of Practitioners of Phytotherapy