We often think of cinnamon as some fun warming spice you sprinkle on your toast when sick or put around the house in stick form to ensure your wintry pad is more festive than your neighbor (Karen, ugh).
Recently it’s association has turned darker, from the disaster that is Fireball to the, even more, disastrous disaster that is the “Cinnamon Challenge.” Regardless, cinnamon is a powerful entity that deserves proper respect.
Here are seven more things you probably didn’t know about cinnamon.
1. There Are Two Predominant Types Of Cinnamon – And The More Common One Is Dangerous
Right off the bat, cinnamon is already rattling your world. Americans are used to the Cassia variety (from Indonesia and China), even though the Ceylon plant is considered the real, true spice (from Sri Lanka, Madagascar, and the Seychelles), which is popular for tea.
A key difference between the two is that Cassia has much, much more coumarin in it than Ceylon. The toxic chemical compound is what makes consuming cinnamon in large quantities such a terrible and dangerous idea, and, actually, what makes cinnamon in general kind of a risky move for pregnant women.
2. Cinnamon Will Prevent Bugs From Feasting On You
Cinnamon oil, which sounds like a delicious addition to anything, destroys the hell out of mosquito larvae, as it turns out. So think of cinnamon as an environmentally friendly pesticide in a way by adding a few drops or sprinklings to your sunscreen or lotion.
3. You Can Lighten Your Hair With Cinnamon
Mixing a few spoonfuls of cinnamon into a paste — with honey or actual conditioner — will lighten your hair once applied and allowed the sunshine to get at it.
4. Cinnamon Used To Be At Least 15 Times More Expensive Than Silver
Back in the day — we’re talking first century A.D. — cinnamon carried an ungodly price tag, especially in Rome. It was considered a precious commodity, given its high demand and low supply. Once the regularity of foreign exploration kicked in, the spice became more available and, therefore, more affordable.
5. Cinnamon Can Regulate Your Blood Sugar (And A Whole Lot More)
In an analysis in the Journal of Medicinal Food, there was a noted 3-5% decrease in blood glucose levels. It’s not any replacement for medicine, of course, but it’s proven to be beneficial for those concerned with diabetes.
There have also been studies that suggest cinnamon can lower lipid levels, such as LDL-cholesterol and triglycerides. Additionally, cinnamon also contains dietary fiber and is high in nutrients like manganese, calcium, iron, and zinc.
6. A Roman Emperor Burned A Whole Lot Of Cinnamon After Killing His Wife
Supposedly, during a petty argument about him spending too much time at the races, Roman Emperor Nero kicked his wife in the gut so hard that it led to her death. To atone for the murder, he torched as much cinnamon as he could find at the funeral pyre since it was a much rarer commodity than it is today, to show his dead wife how sorry he was.
7. Cinnamon Was An Ingredient In Embalmings And Blessings
Though you may think of cinnamon as a light, fun spice, it has some heavy historical background. It helped preserved the dead in ancient Egypt (with a nice scent to boot) and Moses, according to the Old Testament, added it to holy oil for anointing.