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Cinnamon and Blood Circulation: Old Theories, New Evidence | East London Acupuncture & Massage Therapy
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East London Acupuncture & Massage Therapy

Cinnamon and Blood Circulation: Old Theories and New Evidence

12 October 2011

Cinnamon is a popluar and commonly used spice in Chinese Medicine, and one that I often advise people to add into their diet. In China cinnamon twigs (桂枝, guìzhī) and cinnamon bark (肉桂, ròuguì) are one of the most commonly used ingredients in herbal medicine formulas. They are warming and moving, unblocking the channels, getting rid of cold and aiding ‘Spleen Qi’ (i.e. helping the digestion).  Cinnamon is great for people who feel cold and have a slow digestion, with sypmtoms such as bloating, tiredness, flatulence and loose stools. It is also said to have an effect on blood circulation, and can be useful for women with painful periods or a irregular menstrual cycle.

Interestingly, a study carried out in a Korean university suggests that cinnamon bark (or Cinnamomum cassia to give it’s Latin name) can have a positive effect on angiogenesis, the physiological process involving the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels. This gives further strength to the Chinese theory that it can improve the way that the body circulates blood. Follow the link below if you’d like to see the abstract:

Stimulatory effect of Cinnamomum cassia and cinnamic acid on angiogenesis through up-regulation of VEGF and Flk-1/KDR expression

Other studies have shown that it can affect blood sugar and lipid (fat) levels.

A 2006 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation found that cinnamon extract had a moderate effect on reducing fasting plasma glucose concentrations in type 2 diabetics.

A large study published in Diabetes Care in 2003 reported that an intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduced serum glucose,triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in peoplewith type 2 diabetes.

A great way to get cinnamon into your diet, especially now that the colder seasons are starting to come in, is to have it in the morning as part of your breakfast, which should be, of course, one of the larger meals of the day. Try a warming bowl of porridge with a sprinking of cinnamon to taste. Add some honey or maple syrup for a bit of sweetness if you like too!

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