Honey and cinnamon are two natural ingredients that individually boast a string of health benefits. While there’s no doubting the respective might of each of these healing agents, coupling them together into a therapeutic blend can make them more potent.
This is not a radical new recipe, but a time-tested one, that goes as far back as ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic schools of medicine. People across the world have optimized the medicinal virtues of honey and cinnamon for centuries, both separately and together.
A honey-cinnamon mix is often touted as a cure-all for a range of ailments, from arthritis to diabetes. Besides oral consumption, this remedy can also be applied topically as a skin salve to heal minor wounds and banish other pesky skin issues.
This healing blend contains the perfect mix of antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory, free radical-fighting, and skin-enhancing properties that make it own the title of a ‘panacea.’ It just might be the case that either of these ingredients work to enhance the pharmacological effect of the other.
Nutritional Value of Honey
Honey has always been a folk favorite for addressing a plethora of health and skin care concerns. The well-documented healing perks of this divine nectar can be attributed to its nutrient-dense composition. Here’s a quick rundown of what makes honey the wonder ingredient that it is:
One cup of honey (339 g) contains:(1)
- Water – 97 g
- Calories – 1031 kcal
- Protein – 02 g
- Cholesterol – 0 g
- Carbohydrate – 34 g
- Total dietary fiber – 7 g
- Total sugars – 39 g
It also contains some vitamins and minerals:
- Calcium – 20 mg
- Iron – 42 mg
- Phosphorus (P) – 14 mg
- Potassium (K) – 176 mg
- Sodium (Na) – 14 mg
- Zinc (Zn) – 75 mg
- Copper (Cu) – 122 mg
- Selenium (Se) – 2 mcg
- Vitamin C 7 – mg
- Riboflavin – 129 mg
- Vitamin B6 – 081 mg
- Folate – 7 mcg
Nutritional Value of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is an exceptional source of antioxidants.(3) Cinnamon bark essential oil has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to soothe aching joints and numb pain. It is still used for similar purposes in India, presumably because of its anti-inflammatory properties.
Cinnamon bark essential oil typically contains a very high amount of cinnamaldehyde and a small amount of eugenol, among many other aromatic compounds. Cinnamon bark essential oil and cinnamaldehyde have been studied for their antibacterial, antifungal, antidiabetic, anti-inflammatory, and anticancer activities, among others.(4)
It is the medicinal properties of these two superfoods that create such a powerful effect on the body. They work together as a natural cure for many diseases and are a formula for many health benefits. Plus, honey and cinnamon taste great together!
Nutritional value of ground cinnamon per 100 grams:
- Water – 10.58 g
- Energy – 247 kcal
- Protein – 3.99 g
- Total lipid (fat) – 1.24 g
- Carbohydrate – 80.59 g
- Fiber – 53.1 g
- Sugars – 2.17 g
- Calcium, Ca – 1002 mg
- Iron, Fe – 8.32 mg
- Magnesium, Mg – 60 mg
- Phosphorus, P – 64 mg
- Potassium, K – 431 mg
- Sodium, Na – 10 mg
- Zinc, Zn – 1.83 mg
- Vitamin C – 3.8 mg
- Niacin – 1.332 mg
- Vitamin B-6 – 0.158 mg
- Folate – 6 mcg
- Vitamin A – 15 mcg
- Vitamin K – 31.2 mcg
- Oral intake of honey is unsafe for infants under the age of 12 months because it can lead to botulism poisoning. The risk of botulism, however, applies to young children alone and not to older children, adolescents, and adults.
- Refrain from using honey as a remedy if you happen to be allergic to pollen. Because honey is extracted from pollen, it can end up triggering an allergic response.
- Excessive intake of cassia cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon, in particular, is known to engender adverse side effects in some people. This variant of cinnamon contains large amounts of a chemical called coumarin, which can cause or aggravate liver disease. Moreover, the topical application of cassia cinnamon has been associated with skin irritation and allergic skin reactions in some cases.
The Healthy Perks of Using Honey with Cinnamon
Here are 10 health benefits of honey and cinnamon.
1. Treats Arthritis
Arthritis can cause a lot of pain in the joints and thereby affect a person’s mobility. You can use honey and cinnamon to get relief from arthritis. They help maintain bone health and relieve joint pain.
- For consumption, mix 1 tablespoon of raw honey and a ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder in 1 cup of warm water. Drink it every morning on an empty stomach.
- For topical use, mix equal parts of cinnamon powder and honey. Apply the mixture to the affected area. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes, and then rinse it off using lukewarm water. Do this twice daily.
2. Boosts Immunity
Because both honey and cinnamon are packed with antioxidants that help counter free radicals in the body, a combination of the two is bound to give your immune system a boost. Moreover, the two composite ingredients are also quite excellent at warding off infections, given their potent antibacterial properties.
The moderate consumption of cinnamaldehyde present in cinnamon has been found to be especially beneficial for the immune system in healthy organisms.(8) The merits of this remedy are further compounded by the sizeable evidence found in support of honey as a natural immune booster.(9)
- Mix ¼ teaspoon of cinnamon powder in 1 tablespoon of organic honey. Consume this mixture twice daily.
- If you want, you can mix them in a glass of lukewarm water with the juice of 1 lemon and then drink it.
This simple fix will keep your immune system strong and prevent common illnesses, such as cold and influenza, from taking a toll on your health.
3. Combats Acne
Both honey and cinnamon have been known to help treat acne, due to their antimicrobial properties.(2)(4) Each of them is replete with anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, and antioxidant characteristics that cannot only ward of acne-causing bacteria but also diminish the appearance of pimples, the chances of scarring, and other skin infections.(10)
Furthermore, honey offers the added bonus of being a natural humectant that helps retain the skin’s moisture. It is also helpful in preventing clogged pores, which are often at the root of an acne breakout.
- Thoroughly mix a ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder in 1 teaspoon of honey.
- Apply this mixture on the acne-affected area.
- Allow it to sit for 10 minutes, and then wash it off with warm water.
- Repeat once or twice a day.
4. May Improve Sleep
Sleep apnea is one of the many commonly reported causes behind disturbed sleep. A therapeutic blend of honey and cinnamon has been found to be beneficial for treating a wide array of such sleep-related problems given its anti-inflammatory properties.(11)(4)
The properties of honey and cinnamon may help reduce swelling around the throat area that can obstruct airways and subsequently lead to sleep apnea.
Despite being widely acknowledged for its potential sleep-promoting effects, further studies are warranted to conclusively establish the merits of honey and cinnamon in this regard.
- Mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of cinnamon powder in 1 cup of hot water or simply steep 2 inches of cinnamon stick in hot water for 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of honey, and drink this solution daily before going to bed.
- Also, you can drink a glass of warm milk with a little honey and cinnamon powder daily before going to bed.
5. Aids in Weight Loss
While honey and cinnamon are not magic bullets for weight loss, when used in conjunction with a proper diet and exercise, they can help you lose weight rapidly.(12)
The antioxidants in honey can help reduce weight gain and adiposity,(13) whereas cinnamon regulates eating habits by eliminating food cravings, which lays the foundation for a successful weight loss regimen. Plus, cinnamon gives a boost to your metabolism, making it a godsend for weight watchers.
- Add a ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder to 1 cup of hot water.
- Let it steep for 10 minutes.
- Add 1 teaspoon of raw, organic honey to it.
- Drink it twice daily, once in the morning and again in the evening.
6. Improves Heart Health
Honey and cinnamon can play a key role in improving your heart health. The phenolic constituents of honey, including quercetin, caffeic acid phenethyl ester, acacetin, and kaempferol, have been found to exhibit a preventive effect against cardiovascular diseases by combating oxidative damage.(14)
Owing to its considerable anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon is extremely effective in protecting the heart and surrounding arteries from damage.
Both these ingredients also stimulate circulation and aid in reducing bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels.(15) A high cholesterol level can lead to atherosclerosis or plaque buildup in the arteries, which can increase the chances of a clot, ultimately resulting in a heart attack or a stroke.
- To help protect your heart, simply spread some honey on your toast and sprinkle a bit of cinnamon powder on it. Enjoy it with your breakfast.
7. Controls Blood Sugar
Honey and cinnamon both have significant benefits for diabetic people. There are several compounds in cinnamon that stimulate insulin receptors and inhibit the enzyme that renders these receptors inactive, thus improving the cell’s overall ability to use glucose.(5)
Honey, when taken in moderation, also helps in lowering your blood sugar. In fact, varieties like Manuka honey can work as a suitable sugar alternative for diabetics as they figure very low on the glycemic index, which means they will not cause a spike in blood sugar level, unlike table sugar does.(13)
- Regularly consume up to a ½ teaspoon of cinnamon mixed with 1 teaspoon of honey to reduce your blood sugar levels.
- Also, you can sprinkle cinnamon powder to your morning oatmeal or cereal.
8. Relieves a Cough
This medicinal mix can also help you alleviate your coughing spell. Both cinnamon and honey have antibacterial and antiviral properties to boost, making them effective agents for staving off common infections such as colds and flu that are at the root of your nagging cough.
- Add 1 tablespoon of raw honey to 1 glass of warm water.
- Mix in a ½ teaspoon of cinnamon powder.
- Drink this solution slowly, twice a day.
9. Heals Minor Wounds
Both honey and cinnamon have healing properties that make them useful in treating skin problems, especially minor wounds, and abrasions. This therapeutic skin balm offers the twin advantages of fighting bacteria and bringing down inflammation, both of which are essential for timely skin healing.(18)(19)(20)
- Simply mix a little cinnamon powder in 2 or 3 teaspoons of raw honey.
- Apply this paste on the affected area.
- Leave it on for 10 to 15 minutes.
- Do this once or twice daily, as needed.
10. Fights Digestive Problems
Whether you suffer from gas or indigestion, the combo of honey and cinnamon is just the thing you need to get relief from your tummy troubles.
As a sweetener, honey has nutritional advantages over sugar, providing some amount of small nutrients which act to aid the digestive processes in the body. The gastrointestinal tract (GIT) contains a lot of essential and beneficial bacteria, especially bifidobacteria, for the maintenance of life and good health.(2)
Cinnamon also helps increase the health and functionality of the digestive system. It is said to be particularly beneficial in managing digestive issues, such as heartburn and stomach cramps. Cinnamon also may help prevent the formation of gas.(21)
- Sprinkle a pinch of cinnamon powder on 1 tablespoon of honey.
- Take this mixture before meals to prevent digestive problems.
- Basic Report: 19296, Honey. USDA Food Composition Databases. https://ndb.nal.usda.gov/ndb/foods/show/19296? Published April 2018.
- Ajibola A, Chamunorwa JP, Erlwanger KH. Nutraceutical values of natural honey and its contribution to human health and wealth. Nutrition & Metabolism. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583289/. Published June 20, 2012.
- Mancini-Filho J, Van-Koiij A, Mancini DA, Cozzolino FF, Torres RP. Antioxidant activity of cinnamon (CinnamomumZeylanicum, Breyne) extracts. Current neurology and neuroscience reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10077878. Published December 1998.
- Han X, Parker TL. Antiinflammatory Activity of Cinnamon (Cinnamomumzeylanicum) Bark Essential Oil in a Human Skin Disease Model. Phytother Res. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5518441/. Published July 2017.
- Rao PV, Gan SH. Cinnamon: A Multifaceted Medicinal Plant. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4003790/. Published April 10, 2014.
- Rajaei E, Haghighizadeh MH, Safar MR. Cinnamon Consumption Improves Clinical Symptoms and Inflammatory Markers in Women With Rheumatoid Arthritis. Journal of the American College of Nutrition. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/07315724.2018.1460733. Published May 3, 2018.
- Vallianou N. Honey and its Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Bacterial and Anti-Oxidant Properties. General Medicine: Open Access. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/269552034. Published January 2014.
- Lee SH, Lillehoj HS, Jang SI, Lee KW, Bravo D, Lillehoj EP. Cinnamaldehyde enhances in vitro parameters of immunity and reduces in vivo infection against avian coccidiosis | British Journal of Nutrition. British Journal of Nutrition. https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/british-journal-of-nutrition/article/cinnamaldehyde-enhances-in-vitro-parameters-of-immunity-and-reduces-in-vivo-infection-against-avian-coccidiosis/BFA1AEB133387E63FA176017E4F910EB. Published September 28, 2011.
- Othman NH. Honey and Cancer: Sustainable Inverse Relationship Particularly for Developing Nations-A Review. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3385631/. Published June 17, 2012.
- Julianti E, Rajah KK, Fidrianny I. Antibacterial Activity of Ethanolic Extract of Cinnamon Bark, Honey, and Their Combination Effects against Acne-Causing Bacteria. Sci Pharm. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5489923/. Published April 11, 2017.
- Oskouei TE-, Najafi M. Traditional and Modern Uses of Natural Honey in Human Diseases: A Review. Iranian Journal of Basic Medical Sciences. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3758027/. Published June 2013.
- Thenmozhi P, Mangala GP, Mary Minolin T MT, Vimala S. Asian Journal of Pharmaceutical and Clinical Research. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/315984611. Published April 2017.
- Chin NZRK-Y, Zarkasi KA, Ahmad F. A Review on the Protective Effects of Honey against Metabolic Syndrome. MDPI. https://www.mdpi.com/2072-6643/10/8/1009/htm. Published August 2, 2018.
- Khalil MI, Sulaiman SA. The Potential Role of Honey and its Polyphenols in Preventing Heart Diseases: A Review. Afr J Tradit Complement Altern Med. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3005390/. Published July 3, 2010.
- Javed I, Faisal I, Rahman Z, et al. Lipid-lowering effect of Cinnamomumzeylanicum in hyperlipidaemic albino rabbits. Current neurology and neuroscience reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22186322. Published January 2012.
- Paul IM, Beiler J, McMonagle A, Shaffer ML, Duda L, Berlin Jr. Effect of honey, dextromethorphan, and no treatment on nocturnal cough and sleep quality for coughing children and their parents. Current neurology and neuroscience reports. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18056558. Published December 2007.
- Bhide M. 5 Super Spices – that offer taste and cold and flu-fighting properties. Food Diet & Nutrition. https://www.aarp.org/food/diet-nutrition/info-03-2011/5-super-spices.html. Published March 3, 2011.
- Hadagali MD, Chua LS. The anti-inflammatory and wound healing properties of honey. European Food Research and Technology. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00217-014-2297-6. Published December 2014.
- BM, AP, Upadhyay S. Topical Application of Honey in The Treatment of Wound Healing: A Metaanalysis. JK Science. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/26645080. Published October 2008.
- Farahpour M.reza. Evaluation of the wound healing activity of an ethanolic extract of Ceylon cinnamon in mice. Veterinární medicína. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275099632. Published January 2012.
- The spice of life: cinnamon cools your stomach. RMIT University. https://www.rmit.edu.au/news/all-news/2016/september/the-spice-of-life–cinnamon-cools-your-stomach. Published September 19, 2016.