Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several tree species from the genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon is used mainly as an aromatic condiment and flavoring additive in a wide variety of cuisines, sweet and savory dishes, breakfast cereals, snack foods, tea, and traditional foods.
In the spice aisle, you can find whole cinnamon sticks in addition to ground cinnamon powder and cinnamon extract.
Cinnamon within the Coastal Region
Originally from Sri Lanka but widely spread throughout the East. This spice commonly referred to as mdalasini is treasured when making tea and pastries for the Swahilis.
Today it is also cultivated in Tanzania and partly in Kenya. The one found in Watamu- Malindi often comes from Madagascar or the East, 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.
The price range approximates Ksh 130 for 50grams of cinnamon. This equals 1 euro. It is available in local shops and grocery markets. Supermarkets also trade this spice widely.
The health value of cinnamon
Cinnamon is thought to have many medicinal and soothing properties. The cinnamaldehyde displays anti-viral, anti-bacterial, and anti-fungal properties
Cinnamon also contains large amounts of polyphenol antioxidants. Antioxidants can help protect the body from disease and are found in fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices.
Cinnamon, has prebiotic properties that promote the growth of beneficial bacteria and help suppress the growth of pathogenic bacteria; thus improving gut health.
Studies have shown some evidence to suggest that the consumption of cinnamon is associated with a short-term reduction in blood pressure.
Cinnamon has a moderate effect in improving glycaemic control and supporting the management of type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon extract has been used to alleviate gastrointestinal problems; it is renowned for its digestive, anti-microbial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
How to store and use cinnamon
Cinnamon needs to be kept in an airtight container in a dark place. Whole cinnamon lasts for about a year, but cinnamon that has been ground will start to lose flavor after a few months. It’s worth going through your cupboards to check the use-by dates on cinnamon, as the fresher it is, the better.