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The Health Benefits of Cinnamon, Nutmeg, and Other Favorite Holiday Spices

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's All About Organics page, and our Health Issues page.

Nothing signals the start of the holiday season better than the scent of holiday spices filling your home. But popular holiday spices have much more to offer than pleasing scents--they each have unique health benefits that will add not only great taste to your holiday dishes but also a healthy boost.


The sweet and spicy flavor of cinnamon has been used by many different cultures for its medicinal properties for hundreds, even thousands, of years.

One of the most talked about benefits of cinnamon relates to type 2 diabetes. A study published in the journal Diabetes Care found that half a teaspoon of cinnamon a day significantly reduces blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. It also reduces triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels among this group.

Cinnamon’s other benefits include:

    Supports digestive function
    Constricts and tones tissues
    Relieves congestion
    Relieves pain and stiffness of muscles and joints
    Relieves menstrual discomfort
    Blood-thinning compounds that stimulate circulation
    Anti-inflammatory compounds that may relieve arthritis
    Helps prevent urinary tract infections, tooth decay and gum disease
    It’s a powerful anti-microbial agent that can kill E. coli and other bacteria


Nutmeg is another spice that has a variety of healing properties and can be used in a wide range of dishes during the holidays and all year long. It is useful for:

    Insomnia (nutmeg can produce drowsiness so it should be taken when you have a chance to relax or sleep)
    Calming muscle spasms
    Nausea and vomiting
    Joint pain and gout
    Lowering blood pressure
    Male infertility and impotence
    Improving concentration
    Increasing circulation
    Lowering cholesterol
    Toothaches (nutmeg oil)

** Please note that taking too much nutmeg (one to three nuts or less) can cause side effects such as nausea, hallucinations, swelling and shock.