Cinnamon is an herb that practically everyone has heard of (and probably has in the kitchen) but many don’t know its many health benefits and uses. It is an ingredient in my favorite oral health products from OraWellness, and with good reason. Cinnamon has a long history as a medicinal herb and a culinary favorite.
Health Uses of Cinnamon
There are records of Cinnamon being used medicinally since Ancient Chinese Medicine. According to Mountain Rose Herbs, the antioxidant catechins in Cinnamon make it beneficial to the digestive system and aid the body’s ability to fight parasitic, fungal and bacterial infections. There is a history of cinnamon’s use in the treatment of digestive trouble, kidney infection, colds, flu, hypertension and even some types of cancer.
There is some evidence that cinnamon helps the body balance blood sugar and is supportive of brain function when used regularly. I’ve found it most helpful in fighting off colds and flu, and it is an ingredient in my elderberry syrup. I’ve also heard of cases of cinnamon tea, tincture or powder being used externally on vaginal infections to speed healing, though I haven’t tried this myself.
My favorite uses of cinnamon are:
- A pinch added to a cup of hot tea for a boost of energy in the morning
- Half a teaspoon in a cup of tea with lemon juice and honey during colds or flu
- Half a teaspoon in water, tea or capsule form after a meal out where I’ve consumed foods that I normally wouldn’t eat
- Mixed in to Fermented Cod Liver Oil Liquid with a little honey or maple syrup to make it easier for the kids to take
- In tincture recipes to increase absorption of the herbs and for flavor
I’m also love using cinnamon powder or oils in oral products, since the oral health benefits are well documented. From OraWellness:
Recent research conducted in New Zealand demonstrated that theessential oil of cinnamon has the greatest antimicrobial potencyagainst Streptococcus mutans, the bacteria responsible for tooth decay, and Lactobacillus plantarum, one of the bacteria responsible in gum disease. The research study concluded “that there may be a role for essentials oils in the development of novel anticaries (anti cavity) treatments”.(1)
Culinary Uses for Cinnamon
Cinnamon is most well known for its culinary uses and with good reason. Cinnamon is an excellent addition to:
- Baked recipes like muffins, cobblers, and pancakes.
- In hot drinks like Chai Tea, Wassail and Teas and in cold drinks like Eggnog
- In spice blends like curries and jerk seasonings
Other Uses and Precautions
I also use cinnamon powder in my homemade makeup recipes. Pregnant women should not use large amounts of cinnamon powder (culinary uses or under 1/2 tsp day is fine) or any cinnamon essential oil as it can cause contractions. As always, check with a doctor or medical professional before using cinnamon or any other herb medicinally.
There is some evidence that the coumarin in cinnamon can be harmful at large doses. Ceylon Cinnamon has a much, much lower amount of coumarin, making it safer to take in large doses or during pregnancy or breastfeeding. It also has a much milder taste, making it suitable for children.
Do you use cinnamon? Medicinally? In the kitchen? Both? Share below!