I have been eating a cinnamon Danish for breakfast and before going to bed causing upper digestive tract discomfort.

I have been eating a pre-packaged cinnamon Danish for breakfast. I have also snacked on the Danish before going to bed. This has resulted in some upper digestive tract discomfort (i.e. when I stop eating the Danish it goes away). Webster’s New World Dictionary states that cinnamon is “a light-brown spice made from the dried inner bark of a laurel tree of the East Indies”. I think cinnamon was also billed as an aphrodisiac (what hasn’t been?). I just like the taste. So what are the effects of cinnamon?

And for that matter other popular spices, because people are using spices as a substitute for salt. Any good reference material on this subject?

I would guess that the Danish, not the cinnamon is cause for your upper digestive tract discomfort. Rather than guess what the problem is, I would recommend that you make an appointment to see your doctor and tell him/her about the location, severity and time of day when you have discomfort. It could be heartburn, a gall bladder or heart problem, so go find out.

Until then, stop eating the cinnamon Danish (high-fat food) and start eating something healthier like cereal, toast, low-fat yogurt, bagel or English muffin with a light spread of jelly not cream cheese or peanut butter. Cinnamon can be sprinkled on top of any of these foods, but cinnamon is not essential to a good breakfast. Until the cause of your discomfort is narrowed down, choose refined grains, rather than high fiber foods which could aggravate your gallbladder if that were the cause. Add to that some juice or milk and you’ll have a better start to your day.

In cooking, cinnamon, spices or herbs (dried) used in cooking improve food flavor and at this time there is no known nutritional benefit from them because of the small amounts used. In my salt topic, there is a recipe for a seasoning shaker to substitute for salt. Sorry, can’t recommend a spice or herb nutritional reference book. I would recommend you try either a good cookbook or herbal book that contains medical research references for herbal remedies.

According to some herbal references I have, cinnamon is a calmative by resolving gas and digestive problems as well as reducing bleeding during women’s menses or after delivery (obviously not your problem). It is not an aphrodisiac.