Dalchini popularly known as cinnamon is one of the miraculous spices gifted by mother nature. Dalchini benefits go far beyond its pleasant taste and aroma. Surprisingly, Dalchini health benefits made it a popular spice after turmeric amongst health enthusiasts. Modern scientific research in universities and medical research centers around the world have proven what traditional Indian medicine, Ayurveda, claimed for ages about dalchini diverse medicinal applications. Dalchini has positive effects on both the physical and mental health of a person. This article will help you understand the health benefits of dalchini, how to choose Dalchini and how to use dalchini effectively in daily life.
Introduction to Miraculous Dalchini
There is hardly anyone who doesn’t consume dalchini in one or another form. Almost everyone has tasted dalchini in garam masala or sambhar masala or Indian sweets or rolls. Before going into the details of the various health benefits of dalchini, it is a good idea to provide a brief introduction to dalchini for those who are unaware of what it is.
Dalchini is a spice derived from the inner bark of several trees belonging to the “Cinnamomum” genus.
- Cinnamomum cassia: This is a native form of China and is most commonly used in kitchens. This variety is mostly sold in U.S and Canada. They are strong flavored and hollow sticks.
- Cinnamomum Verum ( true cinnamon): This is a native form of Sri Lanka and is known as Ceylon cinnamon. This is highly-priced and less commonly used. They are sweet and mild flavored. The sticks are stuffed and curled up.It looks like Cigar in appearance.
- Cinnamomum burmannii (Indonesian Cinnamon) & Cinnamomum loureiroi (Vietnamese Cinnamon ) are other varieties found in markets.
- Most commonly found dalchini in Indian markets are a mix of cassia and Ceylon varieties.Dalchini is found in small bark form and powdered form as well. (1) (2)
Various names of Dalchini :
- Hindi name: Dalchini.
- English name: Cinnamon.
- Telugu name : Dalcina Chekka.
- Bengali name : Daruchini.
- Tamil name : Ilavankappattai
- Malyalam name : Karuvappatta.
- Kannada name : Dalcinni.
- Gujarati name : Taja.
- Greek name : Kinnamomon
- Sri lanka : kurundu
- Javanese/Sumatrans : Kayu manis.
Health Benefits of Dalchini
1. Dalchini for Brain health
Dalchini has an enhancing effect on the brain. According to research, when dalchini is consumed as a flavoring agent or as when inhaled boosted the participant’s brain functions related to attention, virtual recognition, working memory, and visual-motor reaction rate.
The research was conducted in two ways. By using a computer program participants’ brain function was analyzed. In the first phase, participants were given various flavors of Chewing Gum. Among the flavors was Dalchini.
In the second phase, they were tested after they had inhaled four odors, again, one of which was Dalchini.
The results showed a clear relationship between the efficiency of the brain and the effect of various flavors and odors of dalchini. The final analysis pointed that dalchini had the strongest bolstering effect on the efficiency of brain functions. (3) (4)
2. Dalchini for Alzheimer’s Disease
Decades of research have shown that there is no cure for mental disorders like Alzheimer’s and progressive dementia. It is the bane for the elderly and results in the complete breakdown of their day-to-day activities.
Recent research has raised hope in medicinal science, the spice Dalchini can delay the onset of or mitigate the effects of Alzheimer’s. The reason is two essential compounds in dalchini: Cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin that helps in protecting the brain health in these mental disorders.
Tau Protein is predominantly formed in brain cells (neurons). Among tau’s multiple functions in healthy brain cells, a very important one is the stabilization of the internal microtubules. Normal tau protein forms part of a microtubule. Microtubules help transport nutrients and other important substances from one part of the nerve cell to another.
In Alzheimer’s Tau proteins are misfolded and abnormally shaped in brain cells. The tau protein fails to bind properly resulting in clumps formation. These clumps and their knots & tangles become worse as the disease progresses.
How Dalchini helps in Alzheimer’s disease?
Cinnamaldehyde present in dalchini prevents the formation of tau knots. It binds itself to the cysteine residues of the tau protein, preventing its oxidation. Oxidation of the residue modifies its structure which contributes to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
The great thing is that cinnamaldehyde while preventing the progression of Alzheimer’s by protecting the tau protein. It can remove itself from the protein ensuring that there is no alteration in the protein’s work.
In layman’s terms; cinnamaldehyde works as a hat that protects your face and head from oxidation.
The other compound, Epicatechin, is a known powerful antioxidant that shields cysteine residues in tau protein and prevents clump formation. This also takes care of the byproducts resulting from the oxidation of brain cell membranes which can also harm the tau proteins.
Studies have indicated a strong link between diabetes and the occurrence of Alzheimer’s disease. High blood glucose can lead to the excessive formation of oxidants that cause oxidative stress in the brain. Dalchini is capable of managing high blood glucose levels in diabetes.
3. Dalchini for Diabetes
There are two types of diabetes: Type 1 (Insulin Dependent) and Type 2 (Non – insulin Dependent)
- Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus
Type 1 Diabetes is a condition wherein the immune system fights off the cells that produce insulin leaving insufficient amounts of hormone in the body. The main cause of this type of diabetes is still unknown. It’s an autoimmune disorder that has a slow onset as the immune system gradually destroys the beta- cells in the pancreas.
Few possible reasons are :
a) Genes: About 90% of those who have type 1 DM have a history of the condition within the family. There may be susceptible genes that trigger the immune system to attack the cells in Pancreas.
b) Autoantigen: This protein is released when there is an injury to the pancreas such as during an infection.
c) Viruses: Few viruses trigger the autoimmune response by damaging the beta cells or cause autoantigens to be released which leads to an autoimmune response.
- Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Type 2 Diabetes is a condition wherein the body has developed a resistance to insulin, which makes the circulating levels inadequate. It is either the liver is constantly producing glucose or the cells in the body can no longer detect insulin.
One of the major causes for developing this type of diabetes is Obesity. Obesity is a stressor for the individual’s cells. The persistently high levels of glucose, either through intake or lipolysis, causes the cell to react. Once there is too much glucose inside the cell, the endoplasmic reticulum sends out an alarm to the membrane to reduce the insulin receptors on the cell wall, which stops glucose from entering. This in turn allows the cell to use up the nutrients and maintain balance. Eventually, persistent high glucose intake will continue to overwork the cells and it would continue the cycle to the point of insulin resistance.
How does Dalchini affect blood sugar levels in Diabetes?
Studies have shown that extracts of dalchini have significant effects on blood sugar levels by increasing insulin sensitivity in the cells. According to the study, dalchini can prevent the development of insulin resistance, by increasing insulin sensitivity through nitric oxide pathways found in the skeletal muscles.
In the bloodstream, dalchini extracts also assist in facilitating the entry of glucose into the cell. Dalchini allows the transport of glucose molecules into the cell, which in effect lowers the serum glucose levels. (8) (9) (10) (11)
4. Dalchini for weight loss
Dalchini is a great choice for people who are looking for weight loss. Obesity can lead to many other health complications like high blood pressure, heart diseases, PCOD in women, infertility in men & women, low immunity, etc. Everyone must maintain a healthy weight for a good quality of life.
How Dalchini aids in weight loss?
As Dalchini enhances the rate of glucose metabolism, it indirectly reduces the amount of fat present in the body since high sugar (carbohydrates) levels can be the cause of increased fat content in the body.
Dalchini changes how the metabolism of sugar occurs in the body and stops it from turning into fat. Dalchini slows down the rate at which food passes out of the stomach, which prevents in getting hungry quickly. In a weight loss diet if you add dalchini it prevents you from constant cravings for food.
5. Dalchini helps in fight Cancer
Cancer is an abnormal proliferation of cells. It is marked by mutated cells that reproduce at a fast rate and clump together forming tumors. There are over 100 types of cancer, each with different methods of diagnosis and treatment. Genetic factors, environmental factors, and lifestyle habits like smoking, alcohol, high intake of sugars, etc are some of the determining causes of cancer.
How Dalchini Prevents Cancer?
Several studies have proven the positive effects of dalchini on certain types of cancer. The results gave a positive light for the use of dalchini for both treatment and prevention of cancer.
- Stops tumor growth and spread
In a recent study, cinnamaldehyde, specifically 2- Hydroxycinnamaldehyde and 2 benzoyloxycinnamaldehyde, showed to stop the growth of 29 types of human cancer cells in vitro. The results show the anti-cancer properties of cinnamon on the cellular level. Further testing on humans may still be needed to fully explore the potential of dalchini as a treatment.
- Induces Apoptosis
Cinnamaldehyde induces apoptosis or cell death by increasing the permeability of the cancer cell membrane. The reactive oxygen species are produced which alters the mitochondria leading to apoptosis. This will cause cell death of cancerous cells.
- Modulates T- cell differentiation
Isolated 2- Hydroxycinnamaldehyde and 2 benzoyloxycinnamaldehyde have been shown to inhibit the growth of abnormal lymphocytes and trigger T-cell differentiation. This blocks the signaling pathways for abnormal growth. (17) (18) (19) (20) (21) (22) (23)
6. Dalchini for Bone Health
The skeletal system is made up of about 206 bones for adults. It is well known that our bones support our body by providing a framework for muscles and tendons, but it has several more functions that are equally important. They provide support and movement of the body, protection to internal major organs, storage of Calcium and Ferritin, Blood cell production, Hormone release(Osteocalcin).
The bone density reaches its peak at the age of 30. After which, there tends to be natural bone degeneration with age, lifestyle, dietary factors, and illness.
How Dalchini affects bone health?
A study conducted showed the effects of Dalchini extract on osteoclastogenesis or osteoclast formation.
Osteoclasts are the cells responsible for the breakdown of calcium from the bone to the bloodstream. There is a delicate balance between calcium storage and calcium breakdown in the body. In certain conditions, such as osteoporosis, bone cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis there is increase osteoclastogenesis. This increases the breakdown of calcium in the bones, making them brittle and hollow.
Dalchini (C. Zeylanicum) extracts are shown to inhibit osteoclastogenesis. The two main compounds responsible are cinnamaldehyde and 2 methoxycinnamaldehyde. They act on the nuclear factor of the activated T cell (NFaTc1) pathway, which plays an active role in osteoclast formation, by inhibiting receptor activation on the cells.
Research has shown that consuming Cinnamon water consistently will help in getting relief from arthritis pain.
Overall, the findings show that dalchini has a positive effect on the treatment of bone diseases and prevention of secondary bone degeneration. (24)
7. Dalchini has Anti Infectious Properties
Ancient Indian Medicine has used a mixture of honey and cinnamon in the treatment of sore throat and infections. Today’s Scientific Research has proven that Dalchini can fight infections caused by a multitude of bacteria, fungi, and viruses. Dalchini bark is composed of cinnamaldehyde which is known to be highly anti-viral in addition to anti-inflammatory properties. Additionally, Dalchini bark is composed of phenols, in particular eugenol, which is a good germ killer.
Dalchini can shield the body from Aspergillus niger, Campylobacter infections, Candida Infections, E Coli infections, Klebsiella infections, Staphylococcal infections, HIV infections, etc. (25) (26) (27) (28)
8. Dalchini is a powerful Antioxidant
Antioxidants are chemicals that inhibit the oxidation of harmful chemicals, such as free radicals. The chemical processes in the body, which include metabolism, can lead to the production of free radicals. These free radicals can attach or bind to other molecules, leading to eventually build up and damage. An example of oxidation is when iron rusts when exposed to the environment. This is a similar process that could happen to our body when free radicals are not excreted.
Dalchini has high levels of polyphenols. Phenolic compounds act as an antioxidant by “rapid donation” of hydrogen atoms and electrons to free radicals and lipids. These donations stabilize the radicals and slow down the free radical as it becomes bulky. Polyphenols also trigger the production of glutathione, which is an essential component in detoxification.
9. Dalchini for premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
PMS is a set of symptoms experienced by women before menstruation. Sometimes the symptoms are so severe that they disrupt normal activities for the women. General PMS symptoms are slight weight gain, feeling anxiety, depression, increased appetite, lower back pain, aggression, lower abdomen pain, fatigue, and breast tenderness.
The exact cause of PMS is unknown, but it is attributed to the fluctuations of estrogen and progesterone that occur before the onset of periods. Low levels of vitamins and minerals could also play a role in the severity of the symptoms. A high sodium diet can also increase the chances of PMS.
How Dalchini affects PMS?
Dalchini has been used traditionally to treat menstrual cramps. A study conducted has shown that low levels of manganese in the body may increase the intensity of PMS. Dalchini is a good source of manganese and calcium. So consuming dalchini can make the PMS symptoms more tolerable.
Studies have shown the effectiveness of dalchini in relieving dysmenorrhea (pain experienced before or during menstruation). Cinnamaldehyde in dalchini shows anti-spasmodic effects which help in smooth muscle contractions in the uterus.
Another active component of dalchini is eugenol can prevent the production of prostaglandins and decrease inflammation. Prostaglandins cause gastric discomfort, uterine muscle contractions, nausea, vomiting, and diarrheas. (31) (32)
10. Dalchini for stress relief
Stress is a response to strain brought by unexpected events and demanding situations. In humans, stress activates our fight or flight response which is a survival instinct. In stressful situations, the body responds by releasing corticosterone and norepinephrine. These hormones can spike up the heart rate, dilate the pupils, increase blood sugar levels, increases blood flow to the skin and intestines. In a life-threatening situation, it can save you by enhancing physical capabilities, and at the workplace, it can temporarily boost your productivity. However, the stress response is self-limiting and wears off after a few hours. The problem arises when stress becomes chronic. This happens when the perceived threat doesn’t pass. It can lead to health problems such as heart disease, anxiety, and depression.
A good example of this is, a demanding boss at your workplace. At the beginning of the job, the stress placed upon your boss might boost your output but eventually, it will decrease and crash.
This makes it very important to manage stress by physical activities, a healthy diet, a healthy lifestyle, and a disciplined way of organizing your work.
How Dalchini helps in Reducing Stress?
Dalchini extracts have been shown to affect stress levels by managing hormones from adrenal glands, managing blood sugar & cholesterol levels in the body. Other than lowering the stress levels by affecting the adrenal glands, the scent of cinnamon can help with relieving stress and promote relaxation. (33)
Nutritional Profile of Dalchini
Nutritive values of Dalchini per 2.6 grams (1 teaspoon)of Dalchini Powder.
|Vitamin D||0.00 mcg|
|Vitamin A||0.39 mcg|
|Vitamin E||0.06 mg|
|Vitamin K||0.8 mcg|
How to take Dalchini for Health Benefits?
Indian households use Dalchini in various ways. It is used to make chai masala, garam masala, sambhar masala, sweets, and savories. While these can be used to enhance the flavor of the dish but for a therapeutic purpose, we must consume dalchini in different ways.
Now we know the potential health benefits of Dalchini, let us see how can we include Dalchini for regulating blood sugar levels, weight loss, relieving arthritis pain, treating Alzheimer’s, reducing stress, etc.
Dalchini is available in stick form, powdered form, oil form, and Capsule/pill form. Stick and powdered form is most commonly used in daily life. Capsule or pill form must be taken under the guidance of a physician or registered dietitian.
a)Dalchini Chai/Cinnamon Tea – Boil two sticks of Dalchini in 100 ml of water. Boil it for 10 min. Strain and consume warm. One can add honey for the taste. Please avoid sweeteners if you are having diabetes. Instead of a stick, Dalchini powder ( half teaspoon) can be added to the boiling water, strained, and can be consumed.
b) Dalchini black chai / Cinnamon Black Tea infusion – This infusion is a great way to start your morning.In the pan add three cups of water. Add 2 Dalchini sticks and let it boil for 10 minutes. It takes 10minutes for the sticks to release their flavor into the water. If using powder, the water must turn into deep brown color. Transfer into a cup and add regular Chai Patti bag and let it seep in for 2-3 minutes. Add a teaspoon of honey or jaggery to it and sip warm.
c) Dalchini – Ginger Cold cure/ Cinnamon – Ginger cold cure– In a pot add water, ginger, and Dalchini. Boil for 10 minutes. In two separate cups squeeze in 1 teaspoon lemon juice and add 1 teaspoon honey. Stir until honey is incorporated into the juice. Strain the ginger – dalchini mixture into the cups. Let it cool and serve warm.
d) You can add Dalchini sticks or Dalchini powder in your regular healthy smoothies, oatmeals, Infused waters.
e) Cinnamon Oil can be used for dressings of regular salads or drizzle a spoon of dalchini oil on regular rotis. Cinnamon oil can be applied topically on the skin to reduce acne, wrinkles, and blemishes. Be careful while applying ,it should not be applied on eyes, genitals, and other sensitive areas.
Dalchini oil can be used as an infuser. It fills the surroundings with a sweet aroma that can relax and calm the mind.
What is the right dosage of Dalchini?
You don’t have to eat a lot of Dalchini to reap health benefits. Even if you are using half a teaspoon a day of ground cinnamon, you can enjoy the health benefits that this spice gives. The U.S department of health recommends a safe dosage of Dalchini/ Cinnamon consumption is 6 grams a day.
To see improvement in the symptoms of any clinical conditions one must consume this for 6 weeks regularly. (34)
Limitations and side effects of Dalchini
- Overconsumption of Dalchini can cause liver damage. Use dalchini in small amounts ( 1/2 – 1 teaspoon/day).
- Pregnant and Nursing women must avoid Dalchini. If they are using it for pre-existing conditions, then they must consult the doctor before continuing.
- Dalchini must be avoided if one is allergic to Dalchini spice. They can develop a rash, hives, shortness of breath, etc on touching, sniffing, or consuming Dalchini.
- People allergic to dalchini can develop mouth ulcers and sores as well.
- Dry Dalchini stick or powder should not be consumed as they can irritate and damage lungs and throat.
- Dalchini can interfere with certain medications, so always discuss with your doctor if you are taking regular medications for e.g heart condition, diabetes, liver disease etc.
- In the case of IBS and acidity, one must first test in small quantity to check if Dalchini triggers acidity or IBS symptoms. If it doesn’t trigger the symptoms, one can consume it on alternate days.
- Do not sniff Cinnamon oil directly from the bottle. Use infusers for using cinnamon oil for relaxing mind, calming, stress relief and other therapeutic purpose.
- It is advisable to consult a qualified nutritionist/registered dietitian or physician if you want to include Dalchini to cure a particular ailment.They can guide the correct dosage for the same.
How to choose Good Dalchini?
- Both Cassia and Ceylon Dalchini varieties are available in the market. Cassia variety has a large amount of a compound called ” coumarin” which is toxic for the human lungs, liver and kidneys when consumed regularly. So it is advised to buy authentic, organically grown Ceylon variety. (35)
- Instead of buying Regular dalchini powder, you can buy authentic rolls or sticks and ground it to powder at home. There are chances of adulteration in readymade dalchini powder available in the market.
- Check the expiry date before buying Dalchini.
- You can buy the Dalchini in organic stores or e-commerce platforms. Price of Cassia Dalchini ( 50 grams) is 40/- and Ceylon Dalchini (50 grams) is 150/- in India.
Buy Ceylon Dalchini online click on the link
How to store Dalchini?
When storing Dalchini, make sure that you keep it in a tightly sealed glass container, stored in a dark cool place to extend shelf life. Store it in the refrigerator as soon as you get it from the store. Failing to store it properly would make it lose flavor quickly.
Sticks can stay fresh for 1 year and powder can stay fresh for 6 months if stored properly.
Dalchini which is popular for its pleasant flavor and aroma has immense health benefits. Dalchini health benefits range from improving brain function, fighting diabetes, and stopping the growth of cancerous cells. The array of dalchini health benefits made it popular among researchers and health enthusiasts, not limiting it to kitchen shelves.
The integral role it plays in cuisine around the world only makes it easier to include this healthy spice into one’s daily diet and take advantage of the numerous health benefits it has to offer. Always select authentic Dalchini to get maximum health benefits from it. Include the dalchini in a proper way to reap its benefits.
The old saying” Excess of anything is bad” applies to Dalchini as well. One must consume it in moderation to avoid the side effects from its overdosage. Always remember there is no single food or spice which can fix your health problem. One must follow a healthy diet, lifestyle, sleep, and physical activity to have a balanced and healthy life. Have fun trying out all the ways you can make Dalchini a part of your diet!!