March 30, 2012
By Scott Hensley
“Cinnamon is an amazing spice. Not only is it yummy, but it’s actually quite healthy for you too. But don’t be an idiot and try eating a spoonful of it. Common sense, please.” –KTRN
Do not take the “cinnamon challenge.” Don’t let anyone you know take it, either.
And don’t take our word for it. Instead, heed the warning from the folks who run the country’s poison control centers.
“We urge parents and caregivers to talk to their teens about the cinnamon challenge, explaining that what may seem like a silly game can have serious health consequences,” says a statement from Dr. Alvin Bronstein, medical director for the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center.
If you’ve never heard of the cinnamon challenge, good! But, if you must know, it boils down to consuming a spoonful of ground cinnamon in a hurry — without a drop of liquid to wash it down.
Sounds easy. But it’s not. The cinnamon is remarkably effective at drying out your mouth. Add in the spicy burn, and you’ve got trouble. Gagging, coughing and worse.
As Bronstein says, “teens who engage in this activity often choke and vomit, injuring their mouths, throats and lungs. Teens who unintentionally breathe the cinnamon into their lungs also risk getting pneumonia….”
And for people with asthma or other respiratory problems, the challenge is even riskier than for those without them.
March 6, 2012
By Agence France-Presse
A type of fake pot has raised new health concerns in the United States after at least three users were hospitalized for kidney failure, authorities in the western state of Wyoming said Monday.
Often known as “Spice” or “K2,” the substance is marketed to young people as herbal incense, and creates a marijuana-like high when it is smoked like a joint or a cigarette.
“At this point we are viewing use of this drug as a potentially life-threatening situation,” Tracy Murphy, state epidemiologist with the Wyoming Department of Health, said in a statement sent to AFP.
State health authorities first learned of the latest incidents on Thursday involving three patients in central Wyoming who sought hospital care after smoking a product known as “blueberry spice,” a spokeswoman added.
February 4th, 2011
By: Alex Malinsky aka RawGuru
Studies have shown that cinnamon, the common kitchen spice frequently sprinkled on breakfast oatmeal and included in sweet potato pie, lowers blood glucose levels. Along with the benefits that it brings to this area, additional testing and folklore say that cinnamon also has fat-burning properties that will aid in weight loss. Cinnamon use dates back to ancient history and is well respected across cultures.
Published in 2003 in the journal Diabetes Care, a study concluded that in people with Type 2 diabetes, consuming daily low levels of cinnamon that is between 1 to 6 grams (or approximately 1 to 2 teaspoons) reduced blood sugar levels. How cinnamon effects this result is still to be determined but the study also showed that the results lasted in the individuals even as long as twenty days after ceasing to use cinnamon. In 2009, a Scandinavian study showed that in healthy individuals 3 grams of cinnamon per day lowered blood sugar levels after eating a meal. Higher insulin levels lead to less use of excess blood sugar (and sugar is stored in the body as fat), so a reduction in insulin after a meal is significant. If cinnamon can help control the level of blood sugar and, by offshoot, fat levels, then that is corroboration of what some have said regarding its weight loss potential.
Regarded as even more precious than gold in the Middle Ages, cinnamon was so highly prized that the Dutch-Portuguese war of the 17th century was fought in part to control the nation of Ceylon, now the country of Sri Lanka, for its abundant and sweet variety that grew there. Ceylon cinnamon or “real cinnamon” still carries its ancient name today. Cassia cinnamon is another main variety and it is often called “bastard cinnamon.” It is not as highly prized but it is certainly more commonly used and easier to obtain than “real cinnamon,” which is more expensive. Ceylon and cassia are both ancient. Cassia is mentioned in the Bible to Moses in a command of ingredients to mix for anointing oil. The Egyptians used cinnamon in the embalming process and as a food flavoring.
Cinnamon grows in many varieties all with varying flavors of sweetness and boldness. It has been used for its antiseptic properties to cure athlete’s foot, has been inhaled to improve memory, and has been used as a tea to soothe stomach ailments and indigestion. It should be noted that cinnamon also creates excess heat when it is ingested. The body will then counter this heat by creating heat of its own to balance homeostasis in a process called thermogenics. During this process fat is burned.
One of the most pleasant spices to use, cinnamon can enhance of a variety of foods: teas, pies, cakes, ice creams, soups, dumplings. It can even be used to cure raw meats. Important to note, you can inhale your cinnamon choice to test it. A pungent and sweet aroma will indicate its freshness. However, if the flavor is not somewhat bitter or if it is very easy on the tongue, throw it out because this means it is weak and will not yield desired weight-regulation results. Mixing cinnamon with other foods is what helps to bring out its aroma, so freshness is important in preventing the spice from being overpowered by other ingredients.
Overuse of cinnamon has not, so far, shown any lasting harmful effects. However, contraindication advice from a physician is necessary for those already on a diabetic or cholesterol medication protocol. Otherwise, cinnamon has tested to be a viable alternative weight loss aid and aid in blood sugar control.
December 30, 2009
By S.L. Baker
Seasoning food with turmeric and black pepper can do more than just spice up a meal. Researchers at the University of Michigan (U-M) Comprehensive Cancer Center have found that the compounds curcumin, which is derived from turmeric, and piperine, derived from black pepper, could play an important role in preventing and even treating breast cancer.
Previous research has already provided evidence that curcumin and piperine may be potential cancer treatments. However, the new U-M study, just published online in the journal Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, is the first to suggest exactly how these natural spice compounds could prevent cancer. The research shows curcumin and piperine target stem cells (unspecialized cells that can give rise to any type of cell in an organ). This is of major significance because cancer stem cells comprise the small number of cells inside a tumor that fuel the growth of malignancies.
Current chemotherapy agents are useless against these cells — that’s why cancer can recur and spread despite rounds of heavy duty, toxic chemo. But if cancer stem cells could be eliminated and/or their growth shut down, cancer should be controlled.
“If we can limit the number of stem cells, we can limit the number of cells with potential to form tumors,” lead author Madhuri Kakarala, M.D., Ph.D., a clinical lecturer in internal medicine at the U-M Medical School and a research investigator at the VA Ann Arbor Healthcare System, said in a statement to the media. And the new study shows curcumin and piperine work along these lines. The spice derivatives are able to do what chemo can’t — they limit the self-renewal of stem cells.