Cinnamon

Botanical Name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum / verum Family: Lauraceae

Common name(s): Cinnamon, Cinnamon Tree

GROWING

  • Tree | Zones 9-11| 32-49 feet tall (may be kept trimmed to 3-8 feet in a 12-14″ pot)  | Dark green leaves, white flowers in the summer, juvenile growth is reddish bronze and leathery. Occasionally produces seed which should be picked when ripe (black) and promptly sown.
  • Full to partial sun | Well-drained, acidic soil
  • Found in the tropics or can be grown inside with a 60 degree minimum temperature and a potting mix of half peat moss and perlite

HARVESTING

Harvest young stems or older branches at any time. Cut into 3-inch segments. The bark is the part you want. For young stems (also called whips), score the bark along the length of the segment, just enough to loosen the bark and peel it off (it will curl). For the mature branches, slice halfway into the stem (also along the length of the segment) and scrape out the core and pith. Allow bark pieces to dry. You can also layer the bark to create a thicker stick (called a quill).

Both bark and leaves are used for extracting oil.

PREPARATION / DOSAGE

Infusion: Add a rounded teaspoon of ground cinnamon into 1 cup of boiling water and stir. Drink while hot, in small amounts 4-5x/day or a cup as needed for more acute conditions. Use 1/4 tsp when adding to other herbs.

Decoction: If using the whole bark, bring to boil in water, cover, and let simmer for 25-45 minutes.

Tincture: 2-4 ounces chopped cinnamon bark in 80-proof vodka. 1/4 – 1/2 tsp 2x/day for 4-5 days. Take 2 days off before repeating.

Externally: Soak a pad in tea or decoction and apply as a compress to relieve arthritis and rheumatic pain.

MEDICAL

Constituents: Coumarins, essential oil, gum, mucilage, sugars, tannins, iron, magnesium, zinc.

Actions: Antiseptic, anti-fungal/anti-viral, antispasmodic,carminative, emmenagogue, stimulant, tonic

Uses: diarrheadigestive remedy (warms, good for nausea & vomiting), stabilizing blood sugar levels, flavoring other herb blends, fighting infection, increasing energy (at a cellular level)

Cautions: Best not to use in large amounts during early pregnancy, because it stimulates the uterus.

SOURCES 

  • Mother Earth
  • SFGate
  • Holistic Herbal, David Hoffman
  • The Complete Medicinal Herbal, Penelope Ody
  • Medicinal Herbs, A beginner’s guide, Rosemary Gladstar

There are a few types of cinnamon trees. The true cinnamon tree is the Cinnamomum verum variety and its bark is typically made into oil. The Ceylon variety (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is what is typically dried for the spice (also referred to as true cinnamon). Cinnamomum camphora is yet another cinnamon tree, called either cinnamon or camphor tree and camphor oil is made from its bark. There is also a Chinese or Vietnam cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) sold as true cinnamon, which has a stronger flavor and is less aromatic.

Confusing, eh? 

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