If there is one thing I love – it’s cinnamon. The spice that was used by Ancient Egyptians to embalm dead bodies and was also used to preserve meat during voyages of discovery by the Spanish, British, Portuguese and Dutch. Cinnamon or Cassia zeylanicum has a warm fragrance and I use a ton of it.

Sprinkled on my Nespresso coffee; on my porridge; over pumpkin soup. I even toss a small amount into Zeph and Zsa Zsa’s dinner and mix it in. Why? Because cinnamon has amazing medicinal benefits. And I speak from personal experience.

Most of my adult life, I’ve been cautioned by doctors that my blood pressure is at the high end of the normal range. My mother had high BP and had to take medication. So it’s something I’ve been very aware of and I’ve been determined not to let it get so out of control that I need BP medication.

Before I went off to work in Rome last year, I went to the doctor and my BP was 130/90. Not great. I promptly forgot about it and, whilst living in Rome, my lifestyle really changed. I do a lot of physical stuff on the farm but, in Rome, I walked everywhere – 15 minutes to the train station and back each day, plus walking all weekend long around the amazing historical sites of Ancient Rome. On my return to NZ, I continued the walking – taking the dogs for a walk in the back paddocks at least three times a day – and for some odd reason, I increased my cinnamon habit.

When I went to the doctor a few weeks back to get a medical certificate, the dreaded BP machine came out. To my doctor’s surprise and mine, it was 110/75. He took it again to make sure but it was the same. He went on to do a general checkup but returned to the BP issue and asked what changes I might have made to my diet or exercise. I yapped on about walking more and turning vegetarian. He nodded sagely and then asked if I was eating any different foods. I replied negative on that one really, except for ditching meat but….I am obsessed with cinnamon, is that an issue?

Doctor dude then outlined the medicinal benefits of cinnamon. Whoa, who knew! Here’s what this spice can do for you:

  • aids digestion
  • encourages blood circulation
  • reduces harmful cholesterol
  • may have anti-cancer properties
  • may reduce chronic inflammation linked with neurological disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease
  • may help prevent diabetes

and….it helps to lower blood pressure. I’ve read up about cinnamon and its effects on BP and it is one of seven medicinal herbs or spices that can naturally help people with BP issues (others being garlic, evening primrose, cayenne pepper). If you haven’t really dabbled with cinnamon before, you need to be cautious because it can cause gastrointestinal upsets and pregnant women need to be extra careful. You can read the warnings here.

I guess it’s the combo of walking, a vegetarian diet plus the cinnamon that has helped lower my BP. Whatever. I’m going to continue to scoff the cinnamon! Oh and I mentioned I toss some cinnamon into Zeph and Zsa Zsa’s food. I sprinkle about one teaspoon of the spice into their food about four times a week. It’s known as a dog superfood (along with pumpkin which they get too).

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I prefer to use organic cinnamon rather than the stuff you get from supermarkets.

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