By: Clifford M. Sonnie, M.D., M.P.H.
Without question, two of my favorite food toppings are honey and cinnamon. When I die, just smother me in that and throw me in the ground, because I will be a happy camper. I first remember my grandmother making all kinds of concoctions with honey and cinnamon. In fact, my brother and I used to eat that instead of all the candy that was available back then. And ya know, when we took it to school, kids actually wanted to trade with us. I never dreamed that it was helping us more than I would ever know.
Did you know that honey is the only food in the world that won’t rot or spoil? All it does is crystallize. I used to say that it turned into sugar. Well, it doesn’t. What happens when you heat up crystallized honey? It turns back into honey. When you heat up sugar what happens? It turns into this brown goo that God knows what it is. Two pieces of advice. Never boil honey, or put it into the microwave. The thing that makes honey so good is the stuff that’s in it. Like enzymes and things. You boil it or microwave it, and you destroy them all. I’ll talk more about that in a few minutes. (sounds like a segway to science to me).
There have been boatloads of scientific research done on honey and cinnamon. Most of this research has not been done in the United States. And has indeed been done not only in Europe, but especially in Eastern Europe. Honey is produced in every country of the world. It isn’t really grown, but there are bees in every country, so yes, every country produces honey. The recent literature, and even the literature as far back as a century has shown that honey is very effective for all types of ailments and as a preventative with literally no side affects of any kind. Now as I was saying before everything should be taken in moderation. And honey is no exception. Nor is cinnamon. Too much honey can increase the glucose load and be harmful, especially to diabetics. So, like I said, taking both should be done in moderation.
There was an interesting article done almost a decade ago that was published in a very obscure medical journal. Not too many people saw it. Interestingly enough a magazine called Weekly World News happened to pick it up and publish it. I still have the copy, and I use it quite often. But what they did was, they listed the diseases that can be helped by using cinnamon and honey. And these facts could be substantiated by actual scientific research. First of all, there are heart diseases. I am not going to get into the sciences of these ( YEAHHH!!) The use of honey and cinnamon instead of any type of jam, jelly etc on any type of toast or bagel or English muffin has been shown to increase the flexibility and elasticity of arteries. I’m sure you have all heard the term, “hardening” of the arteries. This is a very simple explanation for the loss of flexibility and elasticity of the arteries. Once they lose the ability to stretch, heart disease, high blood pressure and a whole variety of a slew of other problems can ensue. The use of honey and cinnamon prevented this. There was a whole series done on nursing homes in the United States and Canada, and they found that by using cinnamon and honey it actually “revitalized” the arteries and veins. It actually either stabilized or increased as opposed to decreasing as people aged. Secondly, there is arthritis. Interestingly enough, you take 2 tablespoons of honey and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon into hot water and drink it every single day. They found that drinking it on a regular basis, chronic arthritis pain can be all but eliminated. This was done on a large study at Copenhagen University. They showed that out of two hundred people that took this concoction with in 1 week 73 people were totally relieved of pain. In the course of 1 month 180 people reported a significant pain reduction, and people who could not move around because of the arthritis were able to ambulate better.
Diabetes has been proven to be helped by the usage of cinnamon. It assists the production of and the bodies ability to utilize insulin. Bladder infections. Take 2 tablespoons of cinnamon powder, 1teaspoon of honey and a glass of lukewarm water and drink it. It has been shown in over three studies that it will actually destroy bacteria in the bladder. Colds. I’ve known this since I was a kid. Take a teaspoon of lukewarm honey and a 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon powder and eat it. I can remember my grandmother giving it to me and my brother at least 3 times a day when we had any type of chronic cough and it would actually clear up my sinuses too. Upset stomachs. Honey and cinnamon powder can indeed take away pain caused by stomach ulcers. It is also been known that they can decrease the amount of gas in the intestine.
The next thing was actually taught to me in medical school. Honey and cinnamon can strengthen the immune system. It protects the body from bacterial and viral attacks and indeed because of the fact that honey has a variety of vitamins and iron in it, continuous use of it will strengthen the white blood cells to help fight off invaders. Cinnamon sprinkled on a spoonful of honey taken before a meal will relieve heartburn. My grandma taught me that if you make a paste from 3 tablespoons of honey and a teaspoon of cinnamon and put it on your face at night, it will get rid of pimples. Do this daily for about 2 weeks and you will see amazing results. Now be careful of cats and dogs, because you could wake up with them cleaning off your face. Interestingly enough, skin infections themselves can be cleared up with the same paste. It has been known to help eczema, ringworm and other types of bacterial skin infections such as impetigo. As I said there is quite a lot of sugar in honey. But you have to realize that is the type of sugar that is easily absorbed and much more effectively used by the body. Studies done in Sweden have noted that elderly people who take honey and cinnamon in lieu of table sugar and other sweeteners were found to have a higher level of alertness and more muscular flexibility after only 3 weeks. There was an interesting study done in South Africa where if you gargle 1 teaspoon of honey with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon mixed with hot water your breathe stays fresh all day long. Probably has too do with the bad bacteria in you mouth that can cause bad breath in the first place. Lastly, there was a piece in that study about equal parts of honey and cinnamon restoring hearing. I’m not too sure of that one though. If it worked I probably would be giving it to my teenage son by the boatload because he is, I swear, as deaf as a doornail, at least when I say something.
As with anything please check with your family MD or DO before starting anything new, or come see me at The Balance of Life Clinic and we’ll talk. Make sure if you are using honey, that it is the raw kind. Pasteurizing the honey heats it and destroys the enzymes in it. Also make sure that the cinnamon is pure cinnamon with out any added ingredients. Once you find them and start to use them I think you’ll feel a lot better. And you can tell the kids it tastes better than candy and is good for you too. As always the smart healthcare consumer is informed and aware.
Clifford M. Sonnie, M.D., M.P.H.