What’s So Great
The very word “honey” is associated
with love, vitality, and health. In fact, honey does have many healthful
properties. For starters, honey is an antimicrobial agent when used topically.
This means that it can prevent bacterial
infection, because of its thickness, low pH, and the hydrogen peroxide
produced by its enzymes. In fact, research shows
that it is highly effective at treating wound infections. It’s also good
for treating burns, and is as effective
a cough suppressant as some over-the-counter medications.
What’s So Great
Aromatic and flavorful cinnamon is
at least as old as recorded history. Ancient Egyptians used it for embalming,
and by the time of the Roman Empire, it was 15 times more expensive than silver.
Like honey, a number of medicinal
properties are associated with cinnamon. Research shows that it
has antimicrobial — as well as antiparasitic — effects. It also contains
antioxidants, can aid wound healing, and may even lower blood pressure and
cholesterol. Also like honey, there’s little research to support taking it for
While claims abound about the
pound-shedding properties of cinnamon and honey, research on this combination
is slim. Some studies show promise. For example, one study found that
replacing sucrose with honey can help prevent weight gain, while another showed that it
can activate hormones that suppress the appetite. But, no studies prove
conclusively that cinnamon and honey can help you lose weight.
One common type of cinnamon, Cassia
cinnamon, contains significant amounts of coumarin. Found in many plants,
coumarin can be used to treat edema, or water retention.
Institute for Risk Assessment in Germany reports that even small doses of
coumarin, taken for more than two weeks, can cause liver damage, particularly
in people who already have liver disease.
Does this mean you should avoid
cinnamon? No. But if you’re taking cinnamon with honey daily, make sure you’re using
Ceylon cinnamon, which contains far lower concentrations of coumarin. In
powdered form, it’s impossible to tell the two spices apart. To ensure you’re
using Ceylon cinnamon, you may need to purchase it from a specialty spice purveyor,
natural foods store, or Mexican market.
While the jury is still out when it
comes to weight loss, a daily dose of the mix — one teaspoon of honey and ½
teaspoon of cinnamon in a cup of green tea or boiled water — will at least