Herbs

CINNAMON, Cinnamomum zeylanicum

Cinnamon Plant

When we talk about cinnamon, almost everyone says that it's a spice that has been around for thousands of years. We have all cooked with it. To begin with, cinnamon was first used as a medicine to soothe the stomach and help the digestion. Then people found out that foods prepared with cinnamon would not spoil as easily, that it would help preserve food. If you had to use fruits or vegetables that were almost spoiled, cinnamon would help to preserve the food and it would also mask the taste so the food tasted better. It was even used on meats.


Cinnamon and other spices helped to extend the trade routes into Africa and Europe. At the time of the Pharaohs, cinnamon played an important part in the Egyptian embalming or mummifying processes. I can just see those Egyptian morticians talking to the family of the deceased: “Now, if you folks would like, we can use that special imported herb called cinnamon. It might double the price of mummifying your father, but we guarantee he will stay mummified for a thousand years and smell much better.”


For thousands of years, cinnamon has made the kitchen smell more friendly, it has brightened the tea cup and has helped to flavor the cooking; however, cinnamon has many other uses.


I am reminded of a story of a lady who was constantly bothered by motion sickness. Riding in a car was a big problem. Riding on a bus, train or in an airplane was out of the question. Her husband said she had to lie down a few times a day because she would feel dizzy or become a little nauseous. This problem had an effect on the whole family.
A friend of the family told the husband he should give his wife some herbs to help her overcome the problem. The husband said that they had used over-the-counter preparations for motion sickness as well as prescription drugs to overcome the problem but nothing helped in the least.
“If I make up an herbal preparation, would you have your wife take it?” the friend asked. “I'll do my best,”, the husband replied. So the friend mixed up a preparation of cinnamon, cloves, ginger and allspice. He put them in capsules and instructed the husband that the wife could take the capsules or put the contents of two capsules in a cup, make tea and drink it. When the wife was offered the preparation she said to her husband, “You know that this won't do a bit of good, so why do you want me to take more medicine?”


After much reasoning and coaxing the wife agreed to take the herbs if she could just stay around the house. She elected to take the tea four times a day. After few days, the wife noticed she wasn't nauseous any more. After the first week, she rode in their car without any discomfort. The third week, she rode in the back of a bus just to prove that she wouldn't get motion sickness.


True cinnamon is the inner bark of a small broad-leafed evergreen tea. It grows from 20 to 30 feet tall, in Ceylon, Southeast Asia. However, most commercial cinnamon comes from the cassia tree, which is a cousin to the true cinnamon tree. It grows in China, Burma, Java, Mexico and South America.


Cinnamon is a healthful herb to have around. It is a digestant. That is an herb that helps our food to digest more easily. At the same time, it is carminative. That is an herb that will help dispel the gas from the digestive tract. It is used in some toothpaste and as a mouthwash because it is an antiseptic. It helps kill many disease-causing bacteria, viruses and fungus. Cinnamon has been used to help female problems. Use sparingly while pregnant. Cinnamon is used against fungal and yeast infections. That is why it is good for candida albicans and athlete's foot.
 

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