During the winter months I mix cinnamon powder (C. zeylanicum) with other spices in my egg nog and put cinnamon sticks in my hot apple cider. You also may have indulged in cinnamon cookies, cinnamon and nutmeg spiced egg nogs, and cinnamon-spiced cider with friends, co-workers during holiday parties, or with family during the winter season. As a child, my parents mixed cinnamon and sugar in a mason jar in our kitchen. My brothers and I would sprinkle it on our warm toast in the cold New England mornings after the butter melted. This common kitchen spice seems to innately become a key ingredient in our cooking, baking and beverages during the cold winter months.
This is not a mistake. Cinnamon warms our bodies from the inside out. It is called an aromatic, carminative, and warming astringent in botanical medicine. It is indicated for diarrhea since the astringent properties restrain fluid loss. In North America, the Eclectic physicians in the early 1900s used cinnamon oil (combined with oil of ergeron ) to stop bleeding. Extracts of cinnamon have been used in medicine for people with a tired, weak, cold, low immunity and hypoglycemic constitution for about 500 years in Europe and in the Middle East. Other indications for cinnamon (combined with other botanicals by a skilled herbalist or physician) are for infections (botulism, staph, infections, aflatoxin, E. coli, and candida), and more recently, diabetes.
Type 2 Diabetes, Erections and Cinnamon spice
According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), diabetes was the seventh leading cause of death in the United States in 2010, and was still under reported. The ADA statistics states that in 2012, 29.1 million Americans, or 9.3% of the population, had diabetes and 8.1 million were undiagnosed. Diabetes is most prevalent in seniors, males, African Americans, Hispanics, Filipinos, Asian Indians, and American Indians or First Peoples. In summary, it is an epidemic among men of many ethnicities.
While diabetes is a predominantly male disease, most men will not take action to change their lifestyle to balance their blood sugar levels until they experience severe complications. Additional disorders associated with diabetes mellitus are cardiovascular disease (heart attack, stroke, peripheral vascular disease), obesity, eye diseases such as blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage and sexual or erectile dysfunction. Balancing blood sugar levels may help mitigate the risk of these disorders. From my clinical experience, my male patients with diabetes have had notably lower total and free serum testosterone levels. They were in my office for erectile dysfunction treatments and their diabetes was frequently mismanaged. These men wanted a sex life again, and were looking for help. We need more human research now to validate the connection between obesity, diabetes and low testosterone directly as a potential mechanistic cause for erectile dysfunction.
It is a lot to ask of a single spice to help cure diabetes. Cinnamon has been relied upon more of late in botanical medicine as a sword in the battle against the epidemic of diabetes that can also potentially aid men in a healthy sex life once again. The late naturopathic doctor and teacher, Dr. William Mitchell, spoke about eating breakfasts with cinnamon and blueberries in your oatmeal for balancing blood glucose and lipids.
While older human studies evaluating cinnamon for diabetes mellitus treatment are inconclusive, more recent research studies show benefits. A Chinese randomized, double-blind clinical study showed with 120 mg or 360 mg daily dose of cinnamon for three months the participants hemoglobin A1c, fasting blood glucose, and blood triglyceride levels were all significantly reduced. Also, a randomized Pakistan study with type 2 diabetes 3 different participant groups whom were asigned to take 1, 3 or 6 grams of cinnamon for 6 weeks duration reduced fasting blood glucose levels by 18 – 29%. Both the Chinese and Pakistan studies were non-dose dependent. German patients with type 2 diabetes mean plasam glucose fell 10.3% in patients given 3 grams per day cinnamon for 4 months duration, and it fell 3.4% in the placbo group. One thing in common with these research groups is that none of them are American study groups, and may not have been eating a standard American diet known to be one of the main causes of diabetes.
Many botanical practitioners find cinnamon has clinical benefit combined with other herbs and significant lifestyle changes. Remember to make sure your botanical source is of the highest quality control and quality assurance, and it is real cinnamon. There is debate over which species is best (C. cassia or C. zeylanicum). Cinnamomum zeylanicum (Ceylon cinnamon) is the real cinnamon; however, much of the research is on C. cassia, which is not the same plant species and has less potent medicinal benefits. It is ideal to use C. zeylanicm or C. verum (alternative scientific name for Ceyon cinnamon), which means “true cinnamon.” Before taking this herb in medicinal daily dosages, please check with your healthcare practitioner, and remember, cinnamon is contraindicated in pregnancy, allergic hypersensitivity, stomach ulcers, intestinal ulcers, and acid reflux.
For the 21st century man, try adding some cinnamon spice to your meals, beverages, and desserts, and enjoy your eyesight, sex, and vitality into your old age.
Wood, Mathew. The Earthwise Herbal: A complete guide to Old World Plants. North Atlantic Books. Berkeley, CA. 2008; 193-194.
Statistics About Diabetes: Data from the National Diabetes Statistics Report, 2014. American Diabetes Association. Alexandria, VA. June 2014. http://www.diabetes.org/
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Mitchell, William. NW Herb Fest Conference audio recordings, Pleasant Hill, OR. 2006.
Hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) depends on your blood glucose concentration over the course of the red blood cells 120 day lifespan. It is the component to which glucose if bound in the blood and the gold standard for diagnosing pre-diabetes and diabetes as well as helping to monitor diabetes as seen fit by a physician.
Lu T, et al. Cinnamon extract improves fasting blood glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin level in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes. Nutrition Research. 2012 Jun;32(6):408-12. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2012.05.003.
Khan A, Safdar M, Ali Khan MM, et al. Cinnamon improves glucose and lipid of people with Type 2 Diabetes. Diabetes Care 2003;26:3215-3218.
Mang B, Walters M, Schmitt B, et al. Effects of Cinnamon extract on plasma glucose, HbA1c, and serum lipids in diabetes mellitus type 2. Eur J Clin INvest 2006;36:340-344.
“What is the difference between cinnamon and cassia?” The Gearoge Mateljan Foundation, All Rights Reserved 2001-2015.
Brinker, Francis. Herbs Contraindications and Drug Interactions, Eclectic Medical Publications, Sandy, Oregon, 1997, 66.
Writer Dr. Sam Madeira completed his doctorate degree in Naturopathic Medicine at Bastyr University in 2012. His areas of specialty are botanical medicine, men’s health, endocrinology, environmental medicine, and physical medicine with a focus in pain management. He currently specializes in men’s health and bio-identical hormone replacement therapy in Seattle. Dr. Madeira enjoys helping people find their unique path to health. For more information, visit his web site at http://apollohealthclinic.com/about-us/
For educational purposes only. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This information is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, or to sell any product.