Angel Fox, 06/30/2020
warm, moist, tonifying
Cinnamomum verum (grown only on Sri Lanka)
Cinnamomum cassia (common in baking)
Common Names: verum: Ceylon cinnamon tree, true cinnamon tree, cassia: Chinese cassia or Chinese cinnamon
Taste: pungent, sweet, astringent (cassia tends to be warmer, more fragrant, and stronger tasting)
Zone: 10 through 12
Plant Description: Cinnamomum verum: A fast growing tree reaching heights of 30-50 feet tall, The leaves are ovate-oblong shaped and are 3-7 inches long. The flowers are arranged on many branches in clusters, or panicle inflorescence. The flowers are greenish in color and have a distinct odor. The fruit is a purple 1-cm drupe (stone fruit) containing a single seed. It is a member of the laurel family, native to Sri Lanka and India.
Cinnamomum cassia: It is an evergreen tree originating in southern China, grows 30-50 feet tall, greyish bark and hard elongated leaves that are 4–6 in long and have a reddish color when young. Chinese cassia’s flavor tends to be less delicate than that of Ceylon cinnamon. Its bark is thicker, difficult to crush, and is rougher in texture than that of Ceylon cinnamon.
Cultivation: Cinnamon is a tropical plant and grows best in warm areas with high humidity and plenty of rainfall, 50 inches to 98 inches, average temperature of 80.6°F. Cinnamon can be grown in a wide range of soils but the best bark is obtained when trees are grown in sandy soils rich in humus, full sun will tolerate some shade.
Propagation: Cinnamon can be grown from seed or cuttings.
Preservation: store powder and bark in a dry dark place.
Medicinal Parts: Inner bark (powdered, chopped, or as whole sticks)
Actions: astringent, demulcent, relaxant, diffusive, antimicrobial, antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic, hypoglycemic, mild circulatory stimulant, mild emmenagogue
Affinities: digestive and circulatory systems
Notable constituents: volatiles (essential oils) to 4% (cinnamaldehyde 65 – 75%, eugenol 4 – 10%), aromatic resins, coumarins (verum <.02%, cassia .4 – .8%), mucilage (2 – 3.7%),
condensed tannins, iron, magnesium, zinc.
- When prepared in water cinnamon is both warming and demulcent, it is excellent for cold, dry constitutions and conditions, including upset due to dryness in the digestive and nervous systems. (Winter climates often have dry and cold conditions).
- Diffusive and warming relaxant relieves menstrual cramps, cold and sluggish digestion, and headaches caused by deficient circulation.
- Mild emmenagogue helpful for sluggish and painful menstruation.
- Helpful for digestive complaints related to overeating, bloating, and sluggish digestion.
- Astringent when the dried powder is consumed by itself, or in capsules (to reach the digestive tract directly) useful for diarrhea.
- Due to its warming and stimulating effect can be helpful for boosting vitality, improve circulation, and clearing congestion.
- Psychological relaxant effective for depression and anxiety. Warming for the emotional self.
- Cinnamon’s essential oils combat fungal and bacterial overgrowth when applied
topically or in the digestive tract.
- Useful adjunct to dietary modifications for those attempting to lower their blood sugar levels.
- One of the very few warming demulcents in the Western materia medica, cinnamon is favored for cold, dry constitutions, helpful for cold, dry digestive problems and nervous system complaints.
- Cinnamon scent is very comforting, especially with rose, because the scents of these plants can often bring on feelings of love and safety.
- Cinnamomum verum and Cinnamomun cassia have somewhat different flavors and actions: C. verum is sweeter and less astringent, with greater diaphoretic activity; cassia has greater documented capacity for lowering blood sugar levels.
Rate of Use: No more than 2g a day.
Cautions: Cinnamon effects blood glucose, diabetics taking Glucophage (Metforman) or using insulin injections need to monitor their blood glucose levels. C. cassia has a blood thinning effect and contains higher levels of coumarin and those with existing liver conditions should avoid large doses (2g or more a day). Cinnamon’s mucilage causes it to congeal if infused in wine or other low-alcohol menstruum and this may harbor mold. Take caution when inhaling the powder as it can cause coughing. As a mild emmenagogue caution has been recommended in the early stages of pregnancy, but there are no known cases of a miscarriage resulting from cinnamon use.
“Cinnamon,” Plant Village, https://plantvillage.psu.edu/topics/cinnamon/infos/diseases_and_pests_description_uses_propagation
Commonwealth Center for Holistic Herbalism, Materia Medica, https://commonwealthherbs.com/
Gladstar, Rosemary, Rosemary Gladstar’s Medicinal Herbs, A Beginner’s Guide, North Adams, Ma, Storey Publishing, 2012
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The Adoring Crow Publishing, Hopedale, Ma