Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices known. The Bible references cinnamon and it was used in ancient Egypt as a beverage flavoring, medicine, and as an embalming agent. So treasured was cinnamon that it was more precious than gold. Cinnamon was also being used in China, being mentioned in one of the earliest books on Chinese botanical medicine, somewhere around 2,700 B.C. The popularity of this spice has continued throughout history. Cinnamon became one of the first commodities traded regularly between the Near East and Europe.
Cinnamon has unique healing abilities from essential oils found in its bark. These oils contain active components called cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol, plus a wide range of other volatile substances.
The cinnaldehyde in cinnamon helps prevent unwanted clumping of blood platelets. Cinnamon is also an anti-inflammatory. The essential oils also contribute to cinnamon being classified as an anti-microbial, helping to stop the growth of bacteria and fungi. Because of these anti-microbial qualities, it can also be used in preservation, heck; Egypt had that figured out long ago.
Cinnamon is also helpful in regards to blood sugar; slowing the rate the stomach empties itself, which helps to reduce the rise of blood sugar. Studies are ongoing, but there is no doubt that the addition of cinnamon to your daily diet helps. The US Agricultural Research Service and others have ongoing testing and the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reported in June 2007 on findings as well. There are many other ongoing tests so you know that researchers will be bombarding us with some wonderful news before long.
In addition to its essential oils, cinnamon is also an excellent source of the trace mineral manganese and a good source of dietary fiber, iron, and calcium. A 2 teaspoon serving (4.52 grams) has 12 calories, 38% of your daily manganese, 10% of your daily fiber, 9 ½ % of your daily iron and 5 ½ % of your daily calcium. So add some cinnamon to your diet, it's healthy and it tastes good too.