Cinnamon oil is harvested from a tree recognised by two botanical names – Cinnamomum zeylanicum and Cinnamomum vervun (both refer to the same tree). Cinnamon is processed as both a spice and essential oil, and it is cultivated and exported globally. Cinnamon inherited the Early Modern English names of "canel" and "canella," which were rooted in the Latin word for "tube," due to the inner bark's tendency to naturally form a tube shape as it dries and retracts into itself. Cinnamon oil can be obtained from either the tree's outer bark or leaves, and hence the two main varieties are Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil and Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil.
In Ancient Egypt, Cinnamon was imported as early as 2000 BCE. At the time, an individual in possession of Cinnamon was considered wealthy. Historical records indicate that Cinnamon's value might have been considered equivalent to or higher than gold. In Egyptian society, Cinnamon was preferable for use in embalming, an ingredient in love potions, and it was deemed valuable enough to offer as a gift to monarchs and gods. In the Middle Ages, Europeans also viewed Cinnamon as a high-ranking social status symbol. This was because only the wealthy could afford this spice imported from the East. According to an account given by Pliny the Elder, a Roman pound of Cinnamon could potentially cost the same as the wage earned after fifty months of labour. Due to its high price, Cinnamon wasn't commonly burnt on funeral pyres in Rome, and when it was, it was meant to mask the unpleasant smell of burning flesh. It is believed that, at his wife's funeral in AD 65, Emperor Nero burned a year's worth of the city's stock of Cinnamon.
Today, it continues to be used in the forms of spices, herbs, powders, and teas to address emotional and physical ailments, such as depression, respiratory and digestive problems, colds, flu, weight gain, diarrhoea, yeast infections, heavy menstruation, menstrual cramps, arthritis, and skin infections. Throughout history, Cinnamon has demonstrated a diverse range of uses in culinary applications, having been used as a spice and flavour additive in mulled wines, hot beverages, breads, snack foods, cereals, savoury entrées and desserts. As a whole, the plant has come to symbolise and attract good fortune, such as wealth. It has been associated with protection, as 15th-century grave robbers used Cinnamon in their oil blends meant to protect them against the plague.
Benefits & Uses
- Cinnamon Bark is known to diminish the feelings of depression, faintness, and exhaustion.
- Cinnamon is a highly potent aphrodisiac and may help to stimulate the libido in both men and women.
- Used topically, Cinnamon Essential Oil is reputed to calm dry skin.
It can effectively alleviate aches, pains, and stiffness in the muscles and joints.
- Can help with addressing acne, rashes, and infections. Antioxidants protect your body from oxidative damage caused by free radicals. Fortunately, Cinnamon is loaded with powerful antioxidants, such as polyphenols.
- It may enhance circulation, nourish the skin, slow the look of ageing, and revive the skin tone.
- Used medicinally, Cinnamon Essential Oil is reputed to reduce inflammation, eliminate viruses, boost immunity, facilitate pain relief, and improve metabolic function.