Cinnamon (Cinnamomun zeylanicum), is a lovely, warming spice and great to use at this time of year. I remember my mother using it in its ground form, mixed with sugar and sprinkled on hot buttered toast, and I would eat this when I came home from school on cold, winter afternoons.

One of cinnamon’s beneficial effects is to keep blood sugar levels steady by regulating blood glucose uptake. This may be helpful to keep those winter carb cravings at bay and help control conditions such as hypoglycaemia and even diabetes type 2. It’s also an an immune system enhancer and great cold and flu remedy as it has an antiviral action and raises the body’s temperature to help fight off infection. It may also be effective against stomach bugs as it is antibacterial and helps settle the stomach.

A very simple and effective way of taking cinnamon is to mix quarter of a teaspoon of the powder with a teaspoon or two of local honey, add the juice of half a lemon and top up with hot water. This is a lovely bedtime drink, or one to drink liberally if you’re under the weather. I also add it to crumbles, cookies and rice puddings as it adds flavour and the children are happy to eat it like this!