Cinnamon is a familiar kitchen spice used around the world, adding fragrance and warmth to everything from oatmeal to curries. What many don’t realize is it is also used for its powerful medicinal properties.
Cinnamon is actually the bark of fast-growing trees, members of the laurel family, native to Sri Lanka and India. The bark is harvested from young shoots that sprout from the stumps of the trees, which are cut back every couple of years. The bark is high in essential oils, coumarins, tannins, and other chemical constituents that help define its medicinal uses.
Cassia (Cinnamonum cassia), a close relative of cinnamon, is native to China, where it is used much like its cousin in medicinal and edible preparations. However, cassia tends to be warmer, more fragrant, and stronger tasting. But the two can be, and often are, used interchangeably.
Cinnamon’s biological name (genus and species) is Cinnamonum camphora.
The parts used for medicinal purposes include:
- bark (most common)
Organic constituents contained within cinnamon include:
- camphor oil
- cinnamic aldehyde
- fatty acids
Commonly Known Uses
Cinnamon is more widely known to help expel gas from the intestinal tract, used in mouthwashes and toothpaste, as well as used for relieving diarrhea.
Additional benefits from cinnamon include:
- improve circulation
- clear congestion
- safrole (cinnamon constituent) has been studied as a possible carcinogen
- may soothe indigestion
- may prevent ulcers
- may fight tooth decay
- potential nausea relief
- may lessen menstrual cramps
- may help treat asthma
- may help treat loss of appetite
- has been studied stabilizing blood glucose levels
- antiseptic properties
- antiviral properties
- antifungal properties
Warning and Precautions
Always consult a medical professional if you have or are suspected to have any illness, symptom, disease, condition, etc. Also, if you are taking any medications or supplements already.
Precautions are necessary if you have any chronic disease of the gastrointestinal tract, such as stomach or duodenal ulcers, reflux esophagitis, ulcerative colitis, spastic colitis, diverticulosis or diverticulitis.
Do not use if breastfeeding or pregnant without consulting your medical professional.
Taking cinnamon as a supplement may pose risks to young children, persons over 55 years of age, and those who take larger than appropriate quantities for extended periods of time.