The benefits of cinnamon, a common kitchen spice in treating arthritis have been acknowledged from time immemorial due to its high anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory activity that can help the body scavenge free radicals, responsible for arthritic inflammation and joint pain.
The conventional anti-inflammatory medications prescribed by doctors to treat pain, swelling and reduced motion in your joints come with unwanted side effects like stomach ulcers, gastrointestinal bleeding, kidney damage, etc. The scientific community now has tested and proven how cinnamon can act as a boon to mankind by establishing its role in mitigating the symptoms of arthritis without causing any side-effects.
Beneficial Properties of Cinnamon for Treating Arthritis
Cinnamon is an ancient spice, extracted as a bark of a tropical tree which has been shown to have a myriad of health-benefiting, medicinal properties. Besides possessing anti-bacterial, anti-fungal and anti-parasitic properties, its anti-inflammatory properties have popularized its usage as a means of reducing the pain associated with arthritis.
Supported by substantial amount of scientific evidence gathered from animal studies and from studies conducted in arthritic patients, cinnamon extracts have been found to be very effective in suppressing inflammation and in combating the symptoms associated with arthritis.
Cinnamon has the second highest anti-oxidant activity of all the spices (cloves rank first). In fact, one teaspoon of cinnamon has an antioxidant capacity equivalent to one full cup of pomegranate juice or a half-cup of blueberries.
Inadequate antioxidant defense is the most common cause for accumulation of toxic free radicals, responsible for oxidative stress that can lead to inflammation in the joints. Thus, cinnamon being an antioxidant powerhouse exerts its anti-inflammatory action on joints, relieving the symptoms associated with arthritis.
Prevents Bone Damage
A 2008 Japanese study published in “Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry” probed into the mechanism of action of cinnamon and its effects on bone damage that results from rheumatoid arthritis. The bone loss has been found to be caused by the excessive activity of cells called osteoclasts that normally break down bones for re-absorption.
This contributes to the deformity of bones, pain and loss of mobility associated with rheumatoid arthritis. It was found that cinnamon reduced bone damage by slowing the activity of osteoclasts, hence, preventing the abnormal loss of bone from joint spaces. In fact, the same study’s author suggested the usage of cinnamon for treating specific types of bone disorders in the near future.
Cinnamon Home Remedies
Besides being used as a flavoring agent, cinnamon when used on a regular basis as a part of your diet has been found to cure chronic pain associated with arthritis. It is available either as a stick or in a powdered form. Most commonly, its extract are available in a tablet or a liquid form to be consumed orally or as topical formulations that can be applied on the affected areas.
One can add powdered cinnamon, when preparing curries and to a number of other foods in order to enhance its taste. Sprinkling it on apples, in smoothies, on sweet potatoes , in oatmeal, etc., can add extra flavor to the food.
A paste made by combining one teaspoon of honey, half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder with two parts of lukewarm water can be applied topically on the affected part of the body and massaged into the skin. It’s powdered form can also be applied on the painful area, provided one does not experience any skin rashes afterwards. A study has shown that this paste, when used by arthritic patients had reduced the pain within a time span of ten to fifteen minutes after its application.
Known for their warm and sweet taste, cinnamon sticks can be simmered with honey, soy milk or green tea for the consumption of deliciously warming beverages during winter. Smelling the sticks in the morning every can also help you extract its health benefits.
Known to be a favorite kid’s classic, a cinnamon toast can be made by adding a few drops of flax seed oil and honey onto a whole wheat toast. In order to enhance the flavor, one can sprinkle cinnamon powder on the toast to simultaneously gain its health benefits.
Cinnamon with Honey
Since honey also has anti-inflammatory properties, the combination of cinnamon with honey has been shown to enhance their value as home remedies beyond what they could have done alone. Although honey is sweet, when taken in the right amounts, diabetic patients will not be affected adversely by its usage with cinnamon to treat arthritis.
One way of consuming this mixture is to add half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder to one teaspoon of honey and have it on an empty stomach on a daily basis. It can also be consumed in the form of tea made by adding four spoons of honey, one spoon of cinnamon powder to three cups of hot water.
Drink one-fourth cup of this tea regularly three to four times a day, to cure chronic pain and inflammation associated with arthritis. This mixture has been promoted by both ayurvedic medicine and complementary medical practitioners for effectively treating arthritis.
Even though cinnamon has not been approved for treating arthritis, arthritic patients all across the globe have benefited from this natural therapy, without experiencing any adverse effects. However, you should inform your doctor before starting a complementary treatment to avoid its interaction with your regular medications.
Also, one should bear in mind that the National Center for complementary and alternative medicine (NCCAM) does not recommend taking in more than six grams of cinnamon daily for more than six weeks. Hence, do not consume large amounts of cinnamon every day in an attempt to extract its health benefits in increasing amounts, since it can be toxic in large doses.
In fact, the most common form of cinnamon contains relatively high levels of coumarin, a chemical that can cause liver damage over long-term usage. Some people may be allergic to cinnamon, so before using its topical formulations for broader applications, you should apply them to small test patches on your inner elbow to avoid skin irritation.