Cinnamon was first recorded in traditional Chinese Medicine in the ‘Tang Materia Medica’ (659A.D.). Cinnamon was one of the great spices that urged world exploration and is one of the oldest spices. It was used by the Egyptians in their embalming process. The Portuguese invaded Ceylon in 1536 in order to obtain a great monopoly of cinnamon.
In 1770 the Dutch began to cultivate cinnamon which led to the Dutch East India Company who dominated the world trade of cinnamon from 1796 to 1833 according to ‘A Field Guide to Medicinal Plants’ by A. and C. Krochmal. Cinnamon comes from a light brown evergreen tree that has papery bark and leathery leaves. In the summer it blooms small yellow-white flowers which appear in clusters.
These are followed by ovoid purple berries which grow to be about ¾ of an inch long. Cinnamon is native to Brazil, Egypt, Indonesia, South India, Sri Lanka and Vietnam. The parts of the cinnamon tree that are used in herbal healing are the inner bark, leaves and its oil. Cinnamon is a sweet warming herb which lowers fever and blood pressure, improves digestion, stimulates circulation, improves digestion and relieves spasms.
Cinnamon is used in the food industry for flavoring baked goods, candy, soft drinks, liqueurs and meat. It is used in cosmetics and oral hygiene products. When using cinnamon for herbal healing it should not be used by women who are pregnant. The inner bark of the cinnamon tree is rolled into cinnamon sticks and dried for use. It can also be dried and ground into a powder for use.
Cinnamon is an analgesic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiseptic, astringent, carminative, diaphoretic, emmenagogue, febrifuge, fungicide, sedative, stimulant, stomachic and a tonic. Cinnamon helps to calm an upset stomach and stops uterine hemorrhage. It stops excessive menstrual bleeding.
Cinnamon relieves discomfort due to back pain, chest pain, pain due to menopause and neck pain. Cinnamon can be used to suppress E. coli and Candida Albicans. It can be used to control microorganisms such as Staphylococcus Aureus which is a source of staff infection. Ceylon cinnamon is often referred to as true cinnamon. It has a sweet taste and is more expensive.
Ceylon cinnamon is sold in specialty stores where as the cinnamon found in common grocery stores in America comes from a less expensive cinnamon known as cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is darker in color and the quills are harder than those of the Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon quills are harder to grind into a powder according to ‘Herbs and Spices’ by J.F. Morton.
Cinnamon can be used to treat any and all of the following:
Abdominal spasms, angina, arthritis, asthma, bronchitis, cancer, chills, cholesterol, colds, colic, constipation, diabetes, diarrhea, dyspepsia, fever, flatulence, gastritis, hangovers, heart palpations, hypertension, indigestion, influenza, improve circulation, improve energy, liver toxicity, low vitality, nausea, poor appetite, rheumatism, skin problems, ulcers and weight loss.