The digestive system can get upset by diet, diseases or emotional stress. There are many types of digestive disorders varying in intensity and severity. Hence, a person can suffer from indigestion, diarrhea, gas, bloating, intestinal upset or stomach cramps. They can also have other chronic digestive problems such as GERD or heartburn, Irritable Bowel Syndrome etc.
Indigestion is the most common of intestinal upsets. It is also called upset stomach or dyspepsia. This is more a symptom than a disease and causes discomfort or a feeling of fullness after eating. Causes of indigestion include eating spicy, fatty or greasy foods, eating too quickly or overeating, smoking, excess consumption of caffeinated drinks or chocolate, anxiety and certain medications. Gastritis, peptic ulcers, intestinal blockage, constipation, Celiac disease, gallstones, pancreatitis etc., can also cause indigestion. Symptoms of intestinal upset can include loose stools, nausea, discomfort or burning sensation in the upper abdomen.
Cinnamon for Intestinal Upset
Cinnamon is got from cinnamon bark taken from the Ceylon Cinnamon tree or or Cassia Cinnamon tree. Both these varieties of cinnamon are widely available all over the world in the form of powder, quills or supplements. Cinnamon is used in cooking as a spice and also to flavor beverages, mouthwashes, toothpastes, lotions, soaps, detergents, chewing gum etc. Cinnamaldehyde and eugenol are the two main essential oils found in cinnamon. Cinnamaldehyde gives the flavor and odor to cinnamon while eugenol has analgesic and antiseptic properties.
Cinnamon is used to treat GI or gastrointestinal disorders, gas and diarrhea since it has antibacterial properties. It is also said to help improve appetite and treat any infections caused by viruses or bacteria. Hence, it could be used to treat intestinal upset too. More evidence is required to confirm the benefits of cinnamon for these and other health problems.
In Germany, certain herbs have been approved for use in treatment of intestinal spasms due to their gas-relieving properties. Such herbs include cinnamon, garden angelica, peppermint, fumitory and yarrow. Cinnamon is also called a carminative agent for it can relieve indigestion symptoms especially bloating and gas. Carminative agents help to relieve intestinal spasms.
Animal and test tube studies have found that cinnamon can relieve symptoms of abdominal discomfort, especially excess gas. It can calm and soothe an upset stomach. In traditional medicine, cinnamon has been used to fight morning sickness and diarrhea. Since it has mild astringent properties, it could even be used to treat infantile diarrhea. Those who suffer from colic, vomiting, flatulence, griping or weak digestion can benefit from cinnamon for it stimulates and warms the digestive system.
Diarrhea can be caused by bacteria or virus. Cinnamon can stop diarrhea, flatulence and bloating. Consuming cup a tea made from water and 0.5 to 3 tsp cinnamon may alleviate symptoms of diarrhea.
The dosage of cinnamon depends on the age of the user and the medical condition. Cinnamon could be used to treat intestinal upsets like colic for it has gas-relieving properties, heartburn, indigestion and low stomach acidity. For the exact dosage, it is recommended that you refer to the instructions on the label and consult a doctor.
Consuming cinnamon in food amounts does not usually cause any side effects. However, large quantities could result in some health problems. Cinnamon oil could irritate the mouth, mucous membrane and skin. Excess could also cause irritation of the intestine, urinary tract and stomach leading to vomiting, diarrhea and dizziness. It could irritate a stomach ulcer. Hence, those suffering from this condition may need to avoid cinnamon for it could worsen the ulcer leading to possible bleeding and pain. The lining of the stomach could also get irritated by cinnamon causing pain and cramps. In such a case, you can try mixing cinnamon with milk or take it in food to prevent these side effects.
Pregnant and breastfeeding women are advised not to take large quantities of cinnamon. Cinnamon could lower blood sugar levels hence those with diabetes must monitor their blood sugar levels carefully when consuming cinnamon. Always limit your dosage of cinnamon to that which is recommended on the labels if it is being used for medicinal purposes.