Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, October 4, 2013


Spice is nice…

What are little boys made of?

Snips and snails, and puppy-dogs’ tails,

That’s what little boys are made of.

What are little girls made of?

Sugar and spice, and everything nice,

That’s what little girls are made of.

This is a funny little nursery rhyme from long ago that we still read to our children and grandchildren. Basically, it says that little boys are rough and tough, and little girls are prim, proper, and just “sweet”.

However, as far as the “sugar and spice” thing goes, that seems to be a combination, which according to the latest health news cancels each other out! Leaving girls made of – well, who knows what? But then, who knows what a “snip” is either?

However, the real issue here is not what the sexes are made of, but rather about spice - more specifically, cinnamon.

Cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices. It has a delicious, naturally sweet flavor, with its most popular uses being in hot chocolate, apple pie and, of course, cinnamon rolls.

Doctors are now finding that this popular spice offers surprising benefits for those suffering from diabetes, be it boy or girl.

Cinnamon has been used in traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda (an ancient system of health care native to the Indian subcontinent) for a variety of health conditions such as indigestion, colds, flatulence, nausea, diarrhea, and painful menstrual periods. It’s also believed to improve energy, vitality, and circulation, and to be particularly useful for people who tend to feel hot in their upper body but have cold feet. That would be me.

In Ayurveda medicine, cinnamon is used as a remedy for diabetes, indigestion, and colds, and it’s often recommended for people of the kapha Ayurvedic type (or depression).

The best argument for cinnamon being used as an all-natural diabetes supplement is from a medical study done in Pakistan. Study participants took an equivalent of one to six grams of cinnamon each day for 40 days while others took equal amounts of a placebo. Those taking the cinnamon saw significant improvements in their blood sugar, cholesterol, and triglyceride levels, even after discontinuing treatment.

The survey, which also asked participants to describe what they had eaten in the last 24 hours, found that more than 40 percent had not eaten a single piece of fruit, 20 percent had not eaten one vegetable, 55 percent had eaten red meat, and more than 44 percent had eaten at least one serving of luncheon meat or bacon that day.

So, in the future, cinnamon might be a promising “all-natural remedy” for some folks with diabetes. However, a standard has not been set, and it’s still in the experimental stage, so please do not reduce or discontinue your medicine to take cinnamon without speaking with your doctor.

Also, Cassia cinnamon, the kind of cinnamon normally found in grocery stores and in supplement form, naturally contains a compound called coumarin. At high levels, coumarin can damage the liver, and also have a “blood-thinning” effect, so cassia cinnamon supplements shouldn’t be taken with prescription anti-clotting medication, such as Coumadin (warfarin), or by people with bleeding disorders.

However, if you are suffering from a cold and, are otherwise in good health, there would be nothing wrong with sipping on a hot cup of cinnamon tea! I can’t say that it would clear the cold, but I can say that it would more than likely warm your cold feet! 

Cinnamon Tea

1 cinnamon stick

1 cup of boiling water

1 regular or decaffeinated black teabag

Sweetener (optional)

Place the cinnamon stick in a cup. Add boiling water and steep covered for 10 minutes. Add the teabag. Steep for one to three minutes.