Stick to the basics: Try a dash of cinnamon

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Stick to the basics: Try a dash of cinnamon

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Cinnamon is one of the most frequently used medicinal herbs in oriental medicine, following licorice roots. While Sri Lankan cinnamon is often considered the “true” form, cinnamon from China is also popular. The Sri Lankan powder tastes sweet and has a light color, while that from China smells strong and is much less expensive. In Korea, cinnamon is raised only on Jeju Island and most of the powder on the market is from China.
Good cinnamon should smell strong and taste sweet and very sour when chewed. It makes sweet food taste even sweeter, which is why the powder is often used in cakes, pudding, cookies or apple sauce. Its uses in medicine, however, are no less diverse. The bark of a cinnamon tree can be used, among other things, to:
* Brush your teeth. Cinnamon is effective as an antibiotic ― its fragrance alone can kill bacteria. The bark of cinnamon trees is often used to prevent tooth decay. Brushing your teeth with warm water and a half-spoon of cinnamon solution will not only kill the bacteria in your mouth, but also help your breath.
* Treat yeast infections. “In homeopathic medicine, water boiled with cinnamon is prescribed for yeast infections,” said Oh Hong-geun, a professor at the Graduate School of Alternative Medicine at Jeonju University. To do so, place eight to 10 pieces of cinnamon bark into about 1 liter (four cups) of boiled water, simmer for about 5 minutes and then infuse it for 45 minutes.
* Cleanse your stomach. Research has found that cinnamon also kills helicobacter, a kind of bacteria that lives in human stomachs and causes gastric ulcers or cancer; the spice also kills staphylococcus, which causes food poisoning, and pathogenic colon bacillus O-157.
* Get rid of mold. Cinnamon is also known to be effective in getting rid of mold. Studies have found that the aflatoxin, the most dangerous mold toxin, which causes liver cancer, doesn’t grow in bread that has cinnamon in it.
* Mosquito repellent. According to “Donguibogam,” a medical book written by the physician Heo Jun in the Joseon dynasty, mosquitoes avoid the odor of burning cinnamon.
* Treat colds. When you have a fever or a stuffy nose, it’s good to drink half a cup of cinnamon water every three or four hours. Simply put a piece of cinnamon and cloves in two cups of water and boil it. When it starts to boil, pour in two spoons of lemon juice, a spoon of honey and two spoons of whiskey, and stir it for an additional 20 minutes.
“In oriental medicine, we recommend cinnamon to patients suffering from congestion or sneezing, because it helps heat the body and improves blood circulation,” said Jeong Hee-jae, an oriental medical doctor at Kyung Hee University Medical Center. “But those who have yellow mucus or phlegm should not take cinnamon, because it means they have a fever. Cinnamon should be avoided completely when the body is hot.”
* Better cycle heat to hands, legs and internal organs. Put 10 grams (0.3 ounces) of stick cinnamon, 20 grams of ginger and 800 milliliters of water into a kettle and let them simmer. Filter out the solid ingredients and add honey, pine nuts and sliced jujube.
* Relieve symptoms of menopause. Women who suffer from menopausal disorders or irregular monthly periods should drink cinnamon soybean milk, because the cinnamon helps stabilize the mind and body, and the soybean milk supplements female hormones. Soybeans have isoflavones, which acts similar to natural estrogen. In order to make cinnamon soybean milk, warm the soybean milk to just before the boiling point and add cinnamon powder or stick cinnamon.


by Park Tae-kyun
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