Cinnamon is well known as a spice, sprinkled on toast and lattes. But extracts from the bark of the cinnamon tree have also been used traditionally as medicine throughout the world.

Benefits of Cinnamon:

Some research has found that a particular type of cinnamon, cassia cinnamon, may lower blood sugar in people with diabetes. However, other studies have not found a benefit. Studies of cinnamon for lowering cholesterol and treating yeast infections in people with HIV have been inconclusive. Lab studies have found that cinnamon may reduce inflammation, have antioxidant effects, and fight bacteria.

Cinnamon can be used as a post-meal digestive aid.  If you have heartburn or indigestion following a meal, try a cinnamon tea after the meal.  The cinnamon helps to stimulate a weak digestive system.

How Much Cinnamon:

Because cinnamon is an unproven treatment, there is no established dose. Some recommend 1/2 to 1 teaspoon (2-4 grams) of powder a day. Some studies have used between 1 gram and 6 grams of cinnamon. Very high doses may be toxic.

The best way to get cinnamon into your body is to bake it into a dish or sprinkle on food.  Raw cinnamon raw does not taste very good. It also does not dissolve very well in cold drinks so you can stir some into a hot drink, like tea, coffee, cider or milk. Drinking it in a warm drink may reduce cold and flu effects.

Or bake it into your food! Here is a truly decadent dessert from McCormick using this favorite spice combined with chewy caramel.

Cinnamon Caramel Bar

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 ½ cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • ½ cup (1 stick) melted butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 1 14 ounce package caramels, unwrapped
  • ¼ cup milk

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Mix flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in medium bowl. Set aside.
  3. Mix brown sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla and pecans in large bowl until well blended.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix well.
  5. Reserve 1 cup of the batter for later use.
  6. Spread remaining batter into lightly greased foil-lined 13×9-inch baking pan.
  7. Bake 15 minutes or until firm.
  8. Microwave caramels and milk in microwavable bowl on high 2 to 3 minutes or until caramels are completely melted, stirring after every minute. Cool 5 minutes or until slightly thickened. Pour over baked layer in pan, spreading to within 1/2 inch of edges.
  9. Drop reserved 1 cup batter by spoonfuls over caramel layer. Cut through batter with knife several times for marble effect.
  10. Bake 15 to 20 minutes longer or until center is set. Cool in pan on wire rack.
  11. Lift from pan. Cut into bars.