The immune system protects our body from harmful substances like toxins, trauma, bacteria, heat or other causes. The immune system responds to antigens which are usually protein molecules found on the surface of fungi, bacteria or viruses. Any substance which contains such antigens – also found in drugs, foreign objects or chemicals – are destroyed by the immune system.
There are different types of immunity – innate immunity that acts as a barrier against foreign invasion – e.g. cough reflex or skin. Acquired immunity where the body builds up a defense against various antigens. Passive immunity got from antibodies present in the body. It could also be injection of antiserum that provides protection from specific antigens – e.g. tetanus antitoxin. Inflammatory response is our immune system attacking the various antigens. Some people suffer from disorders of the immune system that occur when the body responds to certain substances that most find harmless – allergies, autoimmune disorders, immunodeficiency disorders.
Cinnamon for the Immune System
Protection of the immune system is vital to prevent diseases from harming our bodies. Apart from conventional medications, there are many natural treatments which provide protection for our immune system. One such natural remedy is cinnamon and honey. Many alternative practitioners and holistic nutritionists suggest that daily use of cinnamon and honey can protect our immune system from bacterial or viral attacks. There is not enough scientific proof at present to back these claims. However, since both cinnamon and honey do not produce side effects when taken as food, including them in our daily diet will not harm us.
Cinnamon is rich in antioxidant polyphenols and proanthocyanidins. It also provides us with good amounts of manganese, calcium, fiber and iron. The essential oils – cinnamyl acetate, cinnamyl alcohol and cinnamaldehyde – can help the immune system since they have antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal properties. Various inflammatory conditions of the body like skin disorders, rheumatism, respiratory problems, heart disorders and diabetes have been treated effectively with cinnamon for centuries by traditional medical practitioners.
Some recent research has found that cinnamon could help with glycemic control. A study found that taking 500mg cinnamon supplements twice daily for 90 days could improve hemoglobin A1C levels in those with type-2 diabetes. Honey is said to stimulate the immune system and help it act against inflammatory respiratory ailments like bronchitis, sinusitis and allergic rhinitis. Hence it could be an effective remedy against a depressed immune system.
To boost our immune system, our diet should be rich in fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy products and whole grains. One product which is considered to be a building block of the immune system is cinnamon. It is able to boost the immune system by fighting harmful pathogens like viruses, fungi and bacteria which attack our bodies. Cinnamon is a versatile spice that can be added to various dishes – both sweet and savory. Simply sprinkle cinnamon powder over tea, coffee, hot chocolate, fresh fruits or cereals to enjoy daily health benefits.
Cinnamon could boost fat and sugar metabolism. This provides benefits to the immune system and improves heart health also. While it is not recommended that you over indulge in cinnamon buns, cookies or cakes, used in moderation it may help improve our immunity levels.
A daily dose of ¼ teaspoon cinnamon powder with 1 tablespoon honey may help boost the immune system and protect the body from viral, bacterial and fungal diseases. 500mg cinnamon supplements twice daily for 90 days could improve hemoglobin A1C levels in those with type-2 diabetes.
Precautions with cinnamon
Cinnamon used as a spice does not cause any side effects. Cinnamon could have adverse effects on the immune system when it is combined with other medications taken for specific immune system disorders. Hence always check with your doctor before including cinnamon in your diet. Cinnamon oil found in mints, candies or chewing gum could cause sores around the mouth and lips. Very high levels of cassia cinnamon cause liver toxicity. Those with diabetes or suffer from breast and other hormonal cancers must exercise caution when taking cinnamon. Coumarin in cinnamon could also affect the liver. It should be used carefully by those taking antibiotics, pregnant and breastfeeding women and those with heart conditions.