Cinnamon Herbal Infomation
Dried inner bark of the shoots.
TRADITIONAL HERBAL USES AND MEDICINAL PROPERTIES
Cinnamon is known for settling the digestive system, and for relieving flatulence. It also relieves nausea and vomiting. Cinnamom prevents nervous tension, improves complexion and memory. It is an anti-bacterial agent so has long been used to cure everything from athlete's foot to indigestion. Recent headlines about cinnamon are the result of an accidental finding in a Maryland USDA research center. Incredibly, the catalyst was as American as good old apple pie, flavored with, cinnamon. Scientists were testing the effects of various foods on blood sugar (glucose) levels. They expected the classic pie to have an adverse effect, but instead they found it actually helped lower blood glucose levels.
The researchers then took their surprising discovery and tested it in a small 60 patient study conducted in Pakistan, reporting in the journal Diabetes Care. All the patients had been treated for type 2, adult onset diabetes for several years and were taking anti-diabetic drugs to increase their insulin output. But they were not yet taking insulin to help process their blood glucose. The subjects were given small doses of cinnamon ranging from as little as a quarter teaspoon to less than 2 teaspoons a day for 40 days. Not only did the cinnamon reduce their blood sugar levels and increase their natural production of insulin, it lowered their blood cholesterol as well. Even 20 days after the cinnamon treatment had ended, the patients continued to see beneficial effects.
This certainly suggests that cinnamon may be helpful in maintaining balanced blood sugar levels and lowering cholestral levels, 2 very important health factors in modern times. It has been suggested that cinnamon can work in this way if taken regually to flavour foods and beverages.
FOLKLORE AND HISTORY
Cinnamon is native to Ceylon (Sri Lanka), true cinnamon, Cinnamomum zeylanicum, dates back in Chinese writings to 2800 B.C., and is still known as kwai in the Chinese language today. Its botanical name derives from the Hebraic and Arabic term amomon, meaning fragrant spice plant. Ancient Egyptians used cinnamon in their embalming process. In the first century A.D., Pliny the Elder wrote of 350 grams of cinnamon as being equal in value to over five kilograms of silver, about fifteen times the value of silver per weight.
Medieval physicians used cinnamon in medicines to treat coughing, hoarseness and sore throats. By the Roman Empire, it was a highly valuable commodity for both medicinal and culinary purposes and as a sign of remorse, Roman Emperor Nero ordered a year's supply of cinnamon be burnt after he murdered his wife. During the Middle Ages, it was mixed with cloves and warm water, and placed in the sick rooms of victims of the Bubonic Plague
In the 17th century, the Dutch seized the world's largest cinnamon supplier, the island of Ceylon, from the Portuguese, demanding outrageous quotas from the poor laboring Chalia caste. When the Dutch learned of a source of cinnamon along the coast of India, they bribed and threatened the local king to destroy it all, thus preserving their monopoly on the prized spice.
In 1795, England seized Ceylon from the French, who had acquired it from their victory over Holland during the Revolutionary Wars.
However, by 1833, the downfall of the cinnamon monopoly had begun when other countries found it could be easily grown in such areas as Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Mauritius, Réunion and Guyana. Cinnamon is now also grown in South America, the West Indies, and other tropical climates.
Cinnamon has a long sacred and magical use. It was used as an incense in Chinese temples, and for embalming the dead in Egyptian times. It is highly recommended as a purification incense prior to sacred work even today, used traditionally for its capacity to increase focus and concentration when inhaled as an incense.
For those who work with gemstones and crystals, it is recommended for use with tourmaline, "A container of cinnamon which is set aside for temple use would be empowered if a small piece of tourmaline is included."
volatile oil (up to 4% with cinnamaldehyde 65-70% and eugenol 4-10%)
" tannins (condensed)