Cinnamon is a popular and familiar seasonal spice, but it has many medicinal properties that make it very useful in the cold winter months. Cinnamon has been traditionally used as a digestive aid, to boost circulation and even to relieve cold symptoms. As the weather gets colder, now is a good time to add cinnamon to foods and drinks.
The cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is a native to India and Madagascar, as well as parts of Southeast Asia. The spice cinnamon comes from the bark of the cinnamon tree. In its native home India it is often used in cooking, not only to add flavor but to help digestion as well.
Cinnamon can soothe many digestive problems including diarrhea, flatulence, stomach cramps and nausea. It can help to boost circulation, especially when combined with other warming, circulatory spices such as ginger.
According to Rosemary Gladstar’s Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health: 175 Teas, Tonics, Oils, Salves, Tinctures, and Other Natural Remedies for the Entire Family cinnamon has antiseptic and antiviral properties and it is a good spice to use against infections. Cinnamon is also often used in herbal blends and teas to improve the flavor of the blend.
How to Use Cinnamon
- make a cup of cinnamon infusion: add half to one teaspoon of cinnamon bark to a cup of boiling hot water and leave to infuse. Drink to warm up in the cold weather. Add a few slices of fresh ginger to add to the warming, circulation-boosting properties. Cinnamon and ginger make a nice blend to relieve cold and flu symptoms, too.
- add ground cinnamon to foods to help digestion, and use it to spice up desserts and cakes. Try Cinnamon Shortbread Cookie-Mix-in-a-Jar Recipe or Cinnamon and Sugar Crusted Dinner Bread or Apple Cinnamon Scones.
- add cinnamon bark to your favorite mulled wine recipe.
- add a drop or two of Cinnamon essential oil into your aromatherapy burner/vaporizer, together with a few drops of Orange essential oil for a beautiful seasonal uplifting scent.
Cinnamon essential oil comes in two types, leaf and bark oil. Cinnamon bark oil is a strong skin irritant, but can be used in aromatherapy burners. The leaf oil is slightly less irritating, but must still be blended well into a base oil and should only be used in small amounts (one or two drops in a blend). Cinnamon essential oil is often used in massage blends to warm up aching muscles, to boost circulation and as a tonic after illness, but should never be used during pregnancy.