Monday, 24 August 2015

Tea for Skin: Cinnamon Tea (2)

Here's another segment of Tea for Skin where I share the benefits of drinking a hot beverage for better skin (and coincidentally overall health)! If you missed the first one, click here.

Sweet, spicy and aromatic, pure or blended cinnamon tea not has not only been used as a sweetener and spice, but also as medicine. I love cinnamon tea, as well as adding ground cinnamon into breakfast, smoothies and desserts. I ground up cinnamon bark using a coffee grinder. Here I talk about 'true' cinnamon, Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, and not cassia, which is the spice that is usually used commercially and produced cheaply, and does not contain the same health benefits.

'Cinnamon Sticks' by trophygeek licensed under CC BY 2.0

Here are some health benefits of cinnamon that I think aid in maintaining healthy skin:

Promotes Collagen Synthesis
Skin changes as we age, collagen production becomes sluggish and our skin becomes dull. Cinnamon extract has been found to encourage type 1 collagen synthesis¹, which makes up 90% of the collagen in our bodies². Add a dash of cinnamon in your daily latte for and effortless boost of collagen.

Anti-bacterial
Propionibacterium acnes is a bacteria linked to acne³Cinnamon oil, (which is extracted from cinnamon) was found to effective against acne bacteria when tested in-vitro, killing P.acnes after 5 minutes⁴. Cinnamon has also displayed anti-microbial properties.

Antioxidants
Antioxidants protect the skin by limiting free radicals, which can cause skin damage, ageing and dullness. There have been many studies on the essential oils obtained from Cinnamomum Zeylanicum which have shown powerful antioxidant activity in vitro⁵. CZ bark extracts were also found to have strong antioxidant and free radical scavenging activity by Prakash et al⁶.

Helps to manage glucose levels and diabetes
Cinnamon is well known to have anti-diabetic properties, reducing blood glucose levels⁷. As I pointed out in my last post, this is great for diabetics and people with insulin problems. It could also be beneficial for skin. Glycation is when a protein or lipid (fat) molecule bonds with a sugar molecule, which in short, damages the functioning of molecules, and thus skin (which is made of of proteins and fats). As it can be propelled by diet, perhaps reducing sugar levels, can help. And sometimes, I hope a late night cinnamon tea will magically counteract some high sugar dessert I have happened to indulge in.

Anti-ageing
Compounds that have been isolated from cinnamon, like flavonoids and phenols have shown to be great inhibitors of AGEs, which are produced from glycation. Glycation is a huge factor in ageing.


Other ways I like to eat/drink cinnamon:

  • with oatmeal
  • added to tea and soy milk
  • herbal teas, chai tea etc.
  • with apples
  • added to banana ice-cream (blended frozen bananas)
  • in smoothies and blended juices




Bibliography (in order of use)

¹ Takasao, Naoko et al. 'Cinnamon Extract Promotes Type I Collagen Biosynthesis Via Activation Of IGF-I Signaling In Human Dermal Fibroblasts'. J. Agric. Food Chem. 60.5 (2012): 1193-1200. Web.


² Sabiston textbook of surgery board review, 7th edition. Chapter 5 wound healing, question 14

³ Perry, Alexandra, and Peter Lambert. 'Propionibacterium Acnes : Infection Beyond The Skin'. Expert Review of Anti-infective Therapy 9.12 (2011): 1149-1156. Web.

 Zu, Yuangang et al. 'Activities Of Ten Essential Oils Towards Propionibacterium Acnes And PC-3, A-549 And MCF-7 Cancer Cells'. Molecules 15.5 (2010): 3200-3210. Web.


 Chericoni, Silvio et al. 'In Vitro Activity Of The Essential Oil Of Cinnamomum Zeylanicum And Eugenol In Peroxynitrite-Induced Oxidative Processes'. J. Agric. Food Chem. 53.12 (2005): 4762-4765. Web.


⁶ Prakash, Dhan et al. 'Total Phenol, Antioxidant And Free Radical Scavenging Activities Of Some Medicinal Plants'. International Journal of Food Sciences and Nutrition 58.1 (2007): 18-28. Web.


⁷ Allen, R. W. et al. 'Cinnamon Use In Type 2 Diabetes: An Updated Systematic Review And Meta-Analysis'. The Annals of Family Medicine 11.5 (2013): 452-459. Web.


 Gunawardena, Dhanushka et al. 'Anti-Inflammatory Activity Of Cinnamon (C. Zeylanicum And C. Cassia) Extracts – Identification Of E-Cinnamaldehyde And O-Methoxy Cinnamaldehyde As The Most Potent Bioactive Compounds'. Food Funct. 6.3 (2015): 910-919. Web.




*I am not a medial profession, just a tea-guzzling, medical-journal-reading nerd

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