Cinnamon serves uses beyond bread pudding, french toast, and tea. In fact, Pliny the Elder referenced an unknown native people’s guarding of a pricey cinnamon by “a terrible kind of bats,” circa 77 AD.1 Both bark and flower have their practical application. Following are some important facts about cinnamon which should prove useful to you.
Both cassia and true cinnamon come from the genus Cinnamomum (C.), and the Lauraceae family. Although related, cassia (Cinnamomum aromaticum or Cinnamomum cassia) is not to be confused with true cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum or Cinnamomum verum). Cassia identifies cinnamon originating from Southeast Asia and which is the commonly available ground cinnamon here in the States.
Constituents of cinnamon include coumarins, gum, mucilage, sugars, tannins, and volatile oil.1
Ceylon cinnamon and cassia are easily distinguished by their unique roll structures, texture, and colors:
Typically, the bark of cinnamon is used orally. My copy of Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database 2 cites the following ailments/conditions associated with its oral application, as a(n):
- anthelmintic- used in addressing parasitic intestinal worms
- antidiarrheal- used to treat diarrhea
- antiflatulent- used to reduce intestinal gas
- antimicrobial- kills or inhibits the growth of microorganisms
- antispasmodic- used to suppress smooth muscle spasms within the gastrointestinal tract
- appetite stimulant
Traditionally, the Chinese use the twigs (gui zhi) to stimulate circulation in the hands and feet, enhancing warmth. Its ability to promote sweating assists in caring for individuals with colds.1
Cinnamon in the essential oil form is often produced via steam or water extraction from the inner bark of the tree.
1 Ody, Penelope. The Complete Medicinal Herbal. 1st ed. New York: DK Publishing, Inc.; 1993: 192 p.
2 Jellin JM, Gregory PJ, Batz F, Hitchens, K, et al. Pharmacist’s Letter/Prescriber’s Letter Natural Medicines Comprehensive Database. 5th ed. Stockton, CA: Therapeutic Research Faculty; 2003: pg. 358.
3 EverythingDoTerra, n.d. Cassia Cinnamomum cassia. http://www.everythingessential.me/Oils/Cassia.html. Accessed 2011 November 1.
4 Abundant Health. Modern Essentials: A Contemporary Guide to the Therapeutic Use of Essential Oils. Utah: Abundant Health; 2011: 235 p.