The plant known as the cinnamon is the source of a very famous spice, true cinnamon plants are native to Sri Lanka and Ceylon, while the plant called the cassia or the Chinese cinnamon originates from Burma – the bark of the cinnamon is fragrant and is used to make the spice. True Ceylonese cinnamon is much more expensive than the cassia, and has a lighter and more delicate fragrance; the Burmese variety is much more pungent and possesses a stronger flavor than the original cinnamon. As a flavoring agent, the true cinnamon is preferred for spicing up sweet dishes and baked goods such as breads, cakes and pastries. While the cassia due to its strong flavor that nips the taste buds is used more often to spice meats, and pilaus – dishes made from rice or cracked wheat with boiled meat and spices, the cassia is also favored to spice up various curries due to its strong pungency. The traditional uses of the cinnamon go back a long time, and the herb was included by Moses as a major ingredient in the “holy anointing oil”, he used to anoint his people.
The fungicidal inherent in the cinnamon was displayed and confirmed during the course of an incredible experiment, the results of which were published in the journal of Food Science, 1974, most yeasts and fungi were easily overpowered by the active chemicals present in cinnamon and this property is of great therapeutic value. Cinnamon can help rid food of alfatoxins produced by plants, and such alfatoxins can easily come into food, especially when white breads, raisin bread, rye breads and all kinds of whole wheat breads are manufactured without using the common mold inhibiting substances, different types of alfatoxins can get into the bread – the alfatoxins are produced by a group of common dangerous and toxic molds, some of whom are known to cause fatalities in animals and humans and have been connected to the causative origin of liver cancer. Many types of food which are consumed on a daily basis can be affected by these toxins.
When such breads were baked without using the common mould inhibitors, toxic molds came up furiously on all of the breads, with the one exception of the raisin bread, where the report states that the mold growth was “scant or not visible at all”. The next problem that lay before testers, was to see, if they could identify what it was that protected the raisin bread from mold growth, was the cinnamon added to the bread responsible for the scant growth or was something in the raisin itself a factor. In the following studies conducted on a yeast and sucrose broth, food scientist found that at least 97 to 99 percent of all mold growth in such broths was found to be easily inhibited by adding as little as 2% or 20 mg of the cinnamon spice per milliliter to test yeast extract and sucrose broth. Thus the resistance displayed by the raisin bread arose from the fact that cinnamon had been one of the ingredients in the bread.
The herbal spice is also used in many other roles aside from its fungicidal and bactericidal effects and the delicious aromatic spice is used as an effective and wonderful warming or strength boosting remedy to increase resistance to common cold, to beat back the winter chills and in the treatment of a variety of physical conditions associated with the common cold, it is also used in the treatment of internal congestion and in treating the deficiency in vital energy felt by the affected person. The whole system can be treated by using cinnamon as a general tonic in the treatment of many disorders affecting a person at the physical level. Circulation can be stimulated by drinking a hot drink containing the cinnamon, this drink will also induce perspiration, and help in the prevention and resolution of common flues and colds, it can also help treat catarrh and other types of infections affecting a person. Fevers affecting the person can also be treated using the cinnamon – which helps in reducing the elevated temperature of the body. The oil of cinnamon can also greatly aid in the treatment of various chest infections and can also alleviate head colds affecting the person – the oil is normally inhaled by the patient. The cinnamon has stimulating and general warming properties, which can direct the action and remedial properties of other remedies used in follow up treatments – thus it can be taken as an initial treatment and followed by thyme during treatment for bronchial congestion and different respiratory tract infections, it can be used as the initial treatment and followed by blue cohosh for the treatment of uterine disorders and it can also be used in the treatment of irregular and painful periods in women, the cinnamon can also be used in the treatment of heavy bleeding during menstruation, it can be used to treat all sorts of uterine infections and to stop vaginal discharges in affected women.
Inner bark, twigs.
The anti-viral and stimulating properties of the volatile cinnamon oil is the prime reason for the medicinal value of the herb and the oil is the single most important product from the herb as far as its use in herbal medicine is concerned.
The herbal remedies made from the cinnamon can help in relieving cramps, they can help in alleviating colic, and they also act as an herbal relaxant, helping reduce the general anxiety and stress in affected patients. The volatile oil of the cinnamon contains a chemical called eugenol which can aid in relieving pain in the body, particularly in such instances as when it is used as a liniment during the treatment of arthritis, this chemical is also helpful in reducing the pain of a toothache as it deadens the nerve ending. At the same time, the remedial properties of the herb come into full effectiveness against disorders such as persistent headaches, against muscle pain and neuralgia in the body.
The herbal remedies based on the cinnamon plant are also useful stimulants of the digestive system and have a warming effect on the body, they are also very useful in cases of weakened digestion in the digestive system, the remedies are also useful against colic, in the treatment of griping pains, in the treatment of disorders such as diarrhea, and in the treatment of nausea and vomiting, as well as in alleviating excess wind and distension in the abdominal region. Other chemicals in the plant also come into play and give the herbal remedy many unique properties, for example, an astringent action is ascribed to the tannins, this property of the herb is also successful in stemming the bleeding during heavy nosebleeds, it can be used to stanch heavy periods and aids in resolving diarrhea and problems such as catarrhal congestion in different patients. Excess perspiration can also be stopped if the cinnamon is taken as a cold herbal remedy.
Cinnamon was traditionally used as a herbal warming agent, in the herbal medicine of both India and Europe, the herb was a treatment for “cold” conditions and was believed to induce warmth in the patient, cinnamon remedies were traditionally also taken combined with some ginger – spp. Zingiber officinale to induce the warmth in the body. Circulation in the body is stimulated by the herb, and the remedy is particularly relevant to the circulation in the fingers and toes – when such extremities of the body become to cold. Traditional healers also made extensive use of the herbal cinnamon based remedies as a treatment for all sorts of digestive problems, specifically in the treatment of nausea, to treat cases of vomiting and diarrhea, it was also used in the treatment of various aches, to treat cramped muscles and in the treatment of other symptoms ascribed to viral infections such as the common cold and flu.
Cinnamon is also used extensively and as a specific herbal remedy in patients with debilitations, it is also a major herbal remedy during the convalescence process from physical and mental injuries.
Menstrual bleeding is also encouraged by the herb and it is believed to posses a slight emmenagogic ability – thus capable of aiding in the active stimulation of the uterus in women affected by menstrual problems. The contraceptive action of the cinnamon is made use of in India, and the herb is usually taken by women following childbirth in this role as a guard against early pregnancy.
Other medical uses
Habitat and cultivation
This herb grows best in tropical forest with an altitude of 1500 ft or 500 meters, wild populations of the plant originally grew only in India and Sri Lanka, however, the cinnamon is now grown in many other areas of the world with similar climates. For examples, the West Indies and the Philippines now have extensive areas dedicated to the cultivation of the cinnamon, such plantations are found in many other tropical regions of the world as well. Cuttings of the plant are taken and used in propagations in many of these plantations; such cuttings are done once every second year in the rainy season, when the young cinnamon trees are cut to just above ground level in controlled cultivation. When harvesting of the bark is done, the harvested bark is usually exposed to fermentation processes for twenty four hours at a stretch, and harvesting is usually done from the stump shoots. The inner bark of the cinnamon is revealed as the outer bark is scraped clean and the plant is left to regenerate new bark during the next growing season.
The sedative and analgesic action of the constituent of the bark cinnamaldehyde was confirmed during the 1980s, through Japanese research. This particular constituent of the cinnamon plant is believed to be capable of brining about a reduction in any fevers and elevated blood pressure in patients. Bactericidal as well as antifungal properties have also been attributed to the cinnamon bark products.
- Volatile oil up to 4% (cinnamaldehyde 65 – 75%, eugenol 4 – 10%)
- Tannins (condensed)
Cinnamon can be used as an antiseptic herbal mouthwash to replace Listerine, in this role the herbal remedy will also kill germs on contact similar to Listerine. Prepare this herbal mouthwash by adding half a teaspoonful of the cinnamon herbal in half a tumbler of warm water. This herbal mouthwash is excellent and very effective especially when the smell of breath is unpleasant and the if there is decay in the teeth – it is totally natural and comes without any side effects.
The herbal cinnamon tincture can be prepared by combining ten and a half tbsp. of powdered cinnamon with about one and one fourth of a cup of vodka. Once the cinnamon powder has been added to the vodka, sufficient water can be added to the combination to turn the tincture into a 50% solution of alcohol. The mixture must then be kept inside a bottle and left alone for two weeks, the bottle can be shaken on a regular basis while it is settling, usually once in the morning and once again in the evening to ensure proper mixing of the herbal powder into the alcohol. Following the two week period of shaking and settling, the liquid can then be strained, poured into a bottle suitable for long term storage for later use. Once this has been done, the prepared tincture can last a long time and can be used at any time as an herbal mouth wash.
Cinnamon is used mainly as a spice, and even in this role it can serve a remedial purpose, a very delicious and quite helpful remedial use of the spice can be in its use for the treatment of internal disorders such as acid indigestion, cases of heartburn and muscular cramps, some cinnamon or cardamoms can be sprinkled over hot and buttered raisin toast and eaten slowly when suffering from such problems to gain relief, the bread must be chewed slowly and thoroughly before it is swallowed for optimal relief.
Cinnamon can also be used to make a very effective traditional French folk remedy, which can be used in the treatment of common colds and flues, prepare this remedy by taking two cups of water in a pan, boil this water and add a small stick of the cinnamon along with a few cloves, the water can be boiled gradually for about three minutes and then removed. Once the boiling is done, the pan can be removed and to the solution two tsp. of lemon juice and one and a half tbsp. of dark honey or if unavailable blackstrap molasses can be added, the honey or the molasses can also be substituted by two tbsp. good quality whiskey as well. Once all of these have been added to the liquid mixture, stir the liquids well and leave it covered, for about twenty minutes, the solution can be steeped so as to allow the thorough mixing of the ingredients.
Dosage of the cinnamon based herbal mixture can be half a cup per dose, taken once every 3-4 hours of the day, during the entire treatment period. Any fever in the body and the concomitant congestion during the common cold or influenza can be easily broken up and alleviated by drinking this herbal mixture made from the cinnamon.
- DECOCTION – The bark of the cinnamon can be used in the treatment of all kinds of chronic diarrhea and other renal disorders such as problems connected to a weakened kidney qi-or energy- in the Chinese system of medicine. It is also normal to use the cinnamon bark based medications for the “cold” conditions affecting patients.
TINCTURE – The cinnamon can be used to make a bark based tincture which can be diluted up to five ml using some hot water for the treatment of common colds and chills affecting patients.
POWDER/CAPSULES – The bark of the cinnamon is also available in the form of powders and capsules in many herbal stores and these are normally taken for the treatment of “cold” conditions, especially with respect to those arising as a result of underlying problems in the kidneys and the digestive system.
- Essential oil:
- INHALATION – The essential oil of the cinnamon can be dissolved in boiling water to make an inhalation remedy, using five drops of the oil per dose and the hot steam can be inhaled as a treatment for various coughs and to alleviate respiratory irritation and congestion.
MASSAGE OIL – The essential oil of the cinnamon can also be diluted using about 25 ml almond or sunflower oil per 10 ml of the cinnamon oil, this oil can be used a rub to topically treat colic in the abdominal region, it can be used in the treatment of stomach chills and problems like diarrhea and related intestinal troubles.
- DECOCTION – The cinnamon branches and twigs can be used for the preparation of herbal decoctions which can be taken in the treatment of colds, as a treatment for disorders in the stomach and during chills, this decoction is a great herbal stimulant for the circulatory system. The herbal decoction goes very well in combinations with ginger and can be used for a wide variety of treatments.
TINCTURE – The cinnamon can also be turned into an herbal tincture which can be used following dilution to 5 ml using some hot water. The diluted tincture can in turn be taken in lieu of the herbal decoction and used in the treatment of similar problems.
COMPRESS – The cinnamon can be used in a variety of topical treatments as well as in making compresses for external problems, a piece of cloth or a pad can be soaked in the herbal decoction or the diluted tincture and this can be place directly on the affected area of the body to relieve arthritic and rheumatic pains in affected individuals.