Sipping on my hot chocolate this morning I completely relished in the warm, spicy and earthy flavours of the cinnamon I had added. In clinic, it’s an adored remedy I prescribe as a food source for nourishment and nutrition or in a liquid formula that offers calming, warming and even anti-microbial and anti-diarrhoetic actions as well as helpful for menstrual irregularities and PCOS. Cinnamon has a long history for medicinal and culinary uses. Cinnamon or “sweet wood” as derived from Greece, was used by the Romans for respiratory and digestive illnesses. In Egypt, it was used to embalm mummies and also as a perfume. It was Christopher Columbus who introduced cinnamon to Eastern cultures and since they have embraced this valuable spice in which is hallmarked as a vital ingredient to many traditional culinary delights and natural medicines.
The major constituents of cinnamon are cinnamaldehyde (from the bark) that is responsible for the sweet taste and offers an anti-inflammatory, antitumour, cholesterol and lipid-lowering effects as well as anti-microbial and antiviral. Additionally, the major phenolic compounds or antioxidants are catechins, epigallocatechin gallate and ferulic acid that are similar to the activity of grapes and tea polyphenols. These biological activities have shown in research to be associated with positive health effects from participants who had diabetes, Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease.
In a randomized controlled trial, cinnamon was found helpful for women with menstrual cycle dysfunction and PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) help regulate their menstrual cycle. It is now well understood that insulin resistance is related to PCOS. The elevation in insulin is implicated in increased androgen activity in women particularly those who have the reproductive phenotype that includes, acne, excessive hair growth (hirsutism), obesity/metabolic syndrome, alopecia and oligomenorrhea (menstrual cycles longer than 35 days/fewer than 8 per year).
Going back to my hot chocolate, studies have found that adding cinnamon to beverages and including honey and milk allows better bioaccessibility of the polyphenols and cinnamaldehyde (antioxidants). Additionally, patients with non-alcoholic fatty liver who consumed cinnamon for a period of 12 weeks presented improvement and also suggested anti-depressant action was found during the treatment period.
What a great season to embrace hot-choc making with the family, cuddle up, drink up and let the delectable beverage improve your health and wellbeing with little effort at all!
Hot Choc recipe for four cups:
4 cups of your choice of milk (I like 1 cup water, 1 cup coconut milk, 2 cups almond milk)
½ tsp of Cinnamon powder (I like organic Cinnamon verum, higher antioxidant profile)
sprinkle of cardomon powder or several pods
1 heaped tablespoon of organic cacao
sprinkle (very little depending on your preference) cayenne pepper
1-2 scoops of Collagen powder (see Nutraorganics or contact me ☺
Gently simmer for 10 minutes and serve with a teaspoon of honey per cup.