Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)
Parts used: Bark and essential oil
Benefits: What a marvelous plant! As well known for its medicinal properties as for its delicious flavor, the cinnamon tree is native to India but is widely cultivated in most tropical regions of the world. Though cinnamon is considered to be simply a spice by most Westerners, herbalists have been using it for centuries as a warming digestive aid. It is a wonderful mild stimulant and can be combined with ginger to treat circulatory and digestive problems. The plant has antiviral and antiseptic activities, making it useful for fighting infection. Because of its delicious flavor, it’s often used in herbal formulas to mask the taste of less flavorful medicinal plants. There are few blends that aren’t enhanced by cinnamon’s warm, spicy flavor!
Suggested uses: To make a warming tea, infuse 1/2-1 teaspoon of cinnamon bark in 1 cup of boiling water for 15-20 minutes. Combine cinnamon with ginger for circulatory problems, with chamomile for poor digestion, and with yarrow & peppermint for colds and flus. Use the powdered bark in cooking; it is a flavorful addition to many main courses and desserts. Add the essential oil to salve recipes and use them topically as analgesics and as warming, stimulating balms.