Cinnamon - Cinnamomum
verum syn. C. zeylanicum
evergreen growing 25 - 60 ft tall with soft reddish-brown
bark and yellow flowers. Cinnamon is an ancient
herbal medicine which was first written about in
the Jewish religious text the Torah. It has a long
history of use in India and was used medicinally
in Egypt and parts of Europe from about 500 BC.
is traditionally used in India and Europe as a warming
herb for "cold" complaints and was often
combined with Ginger.
The actions and uses of Cinnamon are very similar
to Ginger - Cinnamon's key actions are as a warming
stimulant, carminative, antiviral, antispasmodic
and antiseptic. It is used to stimulate circulation,
especially in the extremeties. Traditionally used
for a a variety of digestive problems including
nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea, it is also a supportive,
strengthening herb for a weak digestion. The antiviral
properties of Cinnamon makes it an ideal addition
to hot drinks during the Winter months and as a
remedy and preventative of colds and flu.
has a slight emmenagogic action - it stimulates
the uterus and encourages menstrual bleeding. In
India it was traditionally taken after childbirth
as a natural contraceptive.
Chinese medicine the twigs are seen as warming for
the peripherals and is used internally to encourage
circulation to cold hands and feet. The inner bark
is seen as more centrally warming and is used with
"cold" problems associated with low energy,
dibility, kidney weaknes and rheumatic problems.
shows that Cinnamon is one of the spices which may
help the body use insulin more effeciently.
oil of Cinnamon is obtained from the bark or the
leaves. The oil from the bark smells like
the spice and is a very strong skin irritant and should never be used on the skin. It's main
constituent is cinnamaldehyde. Oil from the leaves
smells more like cloves, and whilst still being
an irritant is not so powerful and may be used on
the skin well diluted and with caution. The main
constituent found in the leaf oil is eugenol.
main use for cinnamon essential oil tends to be
as a comforting, spicy addition to the oil burner
- especially during the Winter months. The spice,
ground or as the familiar quill twigs, is a wonderful
addition to many culinary dishes and I use it as
a favourite (along with Ginger)
in cakes, biscuits and warm drinks.
Cassia, Cinnamomum cassia, is a very close relative
of Cinnamon with similar constituents and therapeutic
properties. Cassia is widely uesd in China and has
been since at least 2700 BC, and is listed in an
Egyptian papyr of 1500 BC as an external remedy
for skin disorders and ulcers.
Cinnamon can be toxic if taken in excess. Do not
take as a medicine during pregnancy !
! Essential oil obtained from the bark should
never be used on the skin !