15-09-2020 di redazione
Cinnamon or cinnamon is an evergreen tree of the Lauracee family, originally from Sri Lanka but widely spread throughout the East.
Today it is also cultivated in Tanzania and partly in Kenya. The one found in Watamu often comes from Madagascar or the East, am is fresh and fragrant and much cheaper than in Europe. In sticks or in powder, it is really essential: in cakes, on yoghurt with honey, even in certain dishes such as Swahili chicken.
Cinnamon was already known in ancient times, just think that it is mentioned in the Bible, in the book of Exodus.
The Greeks used it as a digestive aid and the Egyptians used it to embalm the dead.
Unlike other cooking drugs, the spice is not obtained from the seed or the fruit but from the stem and twigs which, once the outer cork has been removed, are treated, rolled in multilayer cylinders and dried taking on the classic appearance of a hazelnut-coloured parchment.
Cinnamon can be sold in this form or in powder form.
The quality of cinnamon depends exclusively on the age of the branches from which it is obtained, a young age corresponds to a better quality.
It is a spice with a slightly spicy flavour, enhanced by sweet and sour nuances, the dry and pungent aroma reminiscent of cloves and is accompanied by peppery notes.
In the kitchen, cinnamon finds its place in many confectionery preparations from dry pastries to delicious apple strudel and spoon desserts such as Catalan cream.
It is an irreplaceable ingredient of the various spicy wines.
Here in Kenya a pinch of it is put in the famous chai.
This spice has one of the highest antioxidant powers.
Traditionally used against colds and as an antibacterial, it is now scientifically recognised for its ability to lower cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood, thus helping to relieve hypertension disorders, and it also has an antiseptic function on disorders of the respiratory system.
Recent studies have shown that cinnamon helps regulate the percentage of sugar in the blood, thus helping diabetics and hyperglycemics.
Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine use it for menstrual problems, in the treatment of fevers, in some intestinal disorders (it helps to slow down the fermentation and leavening of the intestine which cause swelling, flatulence and poor digestion) and for problems related to cold as it has a warming effect. Cinnamon is a natural antiseptic able to fight and eliminate fungi, viruses and bacteria. This spice is also recognised as a stimulant and therefore has the property of relieving states of exhaustion caused by illnesses such as flu and dysentery.
The use of cinnamon is also recommended as a disinfectant in fact, in case of wounds on the skin after cleaning, they can be sprinkled with cinnamon powder. The contraindications of cinnamon are mainly related to excessive use, it contains a substance, coumarin, which if taken in high doses can be toxic to the liver and kidneys.
No less important, it has recently been discovered that oil extracted from cinnamon leaves can kill mosquito larvae, even better than current pesticides. This discovery could be used to make lotions with mosquito repellent effects as well as paving the way for the invention of the first biological pesticide.
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