Traditionally, cinnamon was known as medicine and spice, experts say that it was used by ancient doctors to treat cough, hoarseness, and sore throats. Scientifically, cinnamon is referred to as ‘Cinnamomum zeylanicum’ and it comes from the inner barks of trees native to Sri Lanka. According to Very Well Fit, a trusted source for information on eating well and exercising, cinnamon is made by taking the stems of cinnamon trees and letting them dry into what is known as cinnamon sticks. These sticks also can be ground into cinnamon powder. The oily part of cinnamon, which gives it a distinct sweet and spicy smell and flavor, is from cinnamaldehyde. It is believed that this compound is responsible for cinnamon’s benefits. Emmy Ntamanga, a Kigali-based nutrition consultant says that cinnamon is rich in a number of properties that can lower the risk of heart disease, mostly in people with diabetes. Researchers have found that cinnamon ranks number one out of 26 of the most popular herbs and spices in the world due to its protective antioxidant levels. Ntamanga stresses that there is a possibility that antioxidants in cinnamon can assist ease pain and irritation—this may help lower the risk of heart disease, cancer, among other health conditions. The essential oils in cinnamon can fight against bad breath, it protects one against certain bacteria that cause bad breath, tooth decay, cavities and mouth infections. This is why the cinnamon flavor is used in chewing gums due to its refreshing taste. Cinnamon is known to improve gut health, the Journal of Food Science study found that cinnamon could help in the regulation of intestinal microbiota, and acts as a prebiotic, promoting the growth of beneficial bacteria in the gut. The nutrition consultant further notes that the spice helps reduce bad cholesterol in the body, this is because it contains a compound known as -cinnamate that may lower enzyme activity that makes cholesterol—this results in lessening the number of fatty acids in the blood. “Compounds like cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin found in cinnamon help prevent cognitive decline, dementia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease,” he says. Ntamanga also stresses that whether added in tea or food, alone or mixed with other herbs, it can treat eye disorders. According to studies, it is found that cinnamon can be good for the eyes as it may help in the treatment of conditions like conjunctivitis and dry eyes. He also carries on that cinnamon essential oil can be used as a good natural repellent for insects. According to Medical News Today, research from 2015 says that scientists have found a way to package antimicrobial compounds from peppermint and cinnamon into tiny capsules that can both kill bacterial biofilms and actively promote healing. In this way, peppermint and cinnamon could become part of a medicine for treating infected wounds. “Cinnamon is believed to lower the effects of high fat meals. In 2011, researchers concluded that diets rich in “antioxidant spices,” including cinnamon, may help reduce the body’s negative response to eating high fat meals. Six people consumed dishes containing 14g of a spice blend. Blood tests showed that antioxidant activity increased by 13 per cent, insulin response fell by 21 per cent, and triglycerides fell by 31 per cent.” Ntamanga states that make sure you aren’t allergic to cinnamon before you apply it on your skin because it may cause irritation. According to the nutrition consultant, although cinnamon is a healthy spice, it may not cause harm unless it’s consumed in excess. For instance, large quantities may be toxic for people with liver problems. He says that if you’re diabetic, consult your doctor first before taking cinnamon as it lowers the blood sugar level naturally.