Cinnamon for Pain

Cinnamon is a widely used spice with an abundance of health benefits. Although it’s a natural addition to a morning bowl of oatmeal or an apple pie, you may soon be looking for more ways to include this warming spice into your meals. Cinnamon has been used since before 2000 B.C. in Chinese medicine for a multitude of health issues and it’s no less effective today.

As reported in Biochemical Pharmacology, an extract from cinnamon bark inhibits the initiation of inflammation. Another study of cinnamon extracts by the University of Western Sydney School of Medicine concluded that cinnamon and its components may be useful in the treatment of age-related inflammatory conditions. Because of the inflammation-lowering effect of cinnamon, it can be beneficial in pain management for arthritis and other chronic diseases.

A study published in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research evaluated pain intensity and duration of pain in 114 women during the first 72 hours of their menstrual cycle. The group that received a 420-milligram capsule of cinnamon experienced significantly lower menstrual pain than the placebo group.

The University of California-Davis Department of Nutrition conducted a meta-analysis of clinical studies on the effect of cinnamon intake on people with Type 2 diabetes and/or prediabetes and concluded that cinnamon intake, either as whole cinnamon or as cinnamon extract, results in significantly lower fasting blood glucose. And Diabetes Care, a journal of the American Diabetes Association, reported on a study of 60 people with Type 2 diabetes in which the groups receiving either 1, 3, or 6 grams of cinnamon per day all experienced reduced serum glucose, triglycerides, LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and total cholesterol. These findings suggest that incorporating cinnamon into the diet of people with Type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.

Cinnamon regulates blood sugar levels, so ingesting it can help tame the sugar monster. Try tossing a few cinnamon sticks, orange slices, and chunks of fresh ginger into a pitcher of water to enjoy throughout the day, or snack on cinnamon-spiced nuts.

Now that sugar cravings are under control, instead of reaching for a sugar-laden drink or snack when fatigue strikes, take a whiff of cinnamon essential oil. A study conducted at Wheeling Jesuit University discovered that cinnamon’s aroma increased participant alertness, motivation, and performance, and decreased fatigue while driving.

Cinnamon’s health benefits don’t stop there. According to a study by researchers at Amity University in India, cinnamon can keep your pearly whites healthy by protecting them against dental cavities, plaque, and gingivitis. Try a drop of cinnamon essential oil in a tablespoon of water and swish for a minute or two after brushing your teeth.

Incorporating cinnamon into your diet is easy because it complements many other flavors. Here are a few delicious and simple combinations to get you started: add to sweet potatoes, acorn, or butternut squash before roasting; chicken or vegetable soup; cooked rice; vegetables such as green beans, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, and eggplant; fruits such as apples, blueberries, plums, and oranges; nuts such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans; yogurt; and especially homemade hot chocolate. Enough talk — it’s time to sprinkle on the love.

Want to try more pain-fighting foods? Check out our selection of delicious and healthful recipes!

Susan Ojanen is an integrative nutrition coach in Bristol, Tennessee, and owner of She is passionate about helping clients worldwide achieve their health goals by creating sensible and maintainable lifestyle changes.

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