Herb of The Week – Cinnamon March 15, 2014 13:19

            This week, we'll be looking into the attributes of the Cinnamon. The Latin name for the cinnamon tree is Cinnamomum zeylanicum. It's other names include: Batavia Cassia, Batavia Cinnamon, Ceylon Cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum, Dalchini, Écorce de Cannelle, Laurus cinnamomum, Madagascar Cinnamon, Padang-Cassia, Panang Cinnamon, Saigon Cassia, Saigon Cinnamon, Sri Lanka Cinnamon, Thwak, Tvak .

             It is the specificity the bark of the cinnamon tree that comprises the herb we know as cinnamon.   Cinnamon's history reaches back to Egypt where it was being imported as early as 2000 BC. The Hebrew Bible makes a specific mention of cinnamon several times starting with Moses when he is commanded to use both sweet cinnamon and cassia in anointing oil. In proverbs it is used to perfume the lover's bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon, and in the Song of Solomon in describing the beauty of his beloved, cinnamon scents her garments like the smell of Lebanon.             Cinnamon, as a warm and dry substance, was believed by doctors in ancient times to cure snakebites, freckles, the common cold, and kidney troubles, among other ailments. Cinnamon was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was regarded as a gift fit for monarchs and Gods. According to Pliny, a Roman Pound (327 grams) of cinnamon cost the wage of ten months of labor.

            Cinnamon is an evergreen tree from the laurel family. In the wild it can grow up to 15 meters tall, though in cultivation is rarely exceeds 10 meters. Its branches are very aromatic and wrapped in a double layer or bark. The cinnamon trees leaves grow to a little over 7 inches long, are oval in shape, and are very fragrant. The flowers are equally fragrant and bloom either white or red, to turn into a spicy blue-black berry. Cinnamon does well in the hotter places of the world, and can be found naturally in India and Sri Lanka.

            It has been widely used a spice, employed in cooking as a flavoring material. In the Middle East cinnamon is often used in savory dishes of chicken or lamb. Cinnamon can be used in pickling, and is actually one of the few herbs that can be ingested as is. It has been proposed for insect repellent, cinnamon's leaf oil has been found to be quite effective killing mosquito larvae.             The main health effects of cinnamon are in aiding the digestive system, helping heal ulcers, quell stomach acid, calm nausea, ease digestive cramps, and spark the appetite. It also helps with respiratory problems, and diseases of the circulatory system.

            Cinnamon is usually taken by ingesting it on or in food, capsule form, in tinctures, or in warm drinks such as tea or hot coco.

            Ailments which indicate treatment with cinnamon include: Diabetes, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, common cold, bronchitis, influenza, digestive cramps, flatulence, spasms, lack of appetite, cough, chilblains, aphrodisiac, menstrual cramps, urinary incontinence, sore throat, mouth ulcers, fungi on the feet and nails, bad breath.

 

            The use of herbs is a time-honored approach to strengthening the body and treating disease. Herbs, however, can trigger side effects and may interact with other herbs, supplements, or medications. For these reasons, you should take herbs with care, under the supervision of a health care provider.

            Cinnamon is not recommended to be taken if pregnant, or breast feeding. If you are diabetic, talk to your doctor before taking cinnamon as it reacts with diabetic medication. Do not take cinnamon if you are taking a narcotic; or if you are going into surgery.

 

Fact Breakdown:

 

            Latin Name:  Cinnamomum zeylanicum

 

            Medicinal Actions: Carminative, anti-vomitive, anti-bacterial, expectorant, anti-inflammatory, antiplatelet, antithrombotic, antiesclerotic, antiseptic

 

            Indications: Diabetes, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, common cold, bronchitis, influenza, digestive cramps, flatulence, spasms, lack of appetite, cough, chilblains, aphrodisiac, menstrual cramps, urinary incontinence, sore throat, mouth ulcers, fungi on the feet and nails, bad breath.

 

            Contraindications:  While pregnant or breast-feeding; concurrently with prescription drugs or psychiatric medications; going into surgery.

   

Links:

 

Botanical Online - Cinnamon

 

              http://www.botanical-online.com/english/cinnamon.htm

 

Natural Standard - Cinnamon

 

              http://naturalstandard.com/news/news201103012.asp

 

~ Creamy Cinnamon Spaghetti Squash~

Ingredients:

1c (5.5oz) baked spaghetti squash

2tbs (13g) ground flax

1 tsp cinnamon

Stevia, to taste

1tbs protein powder, optional

2 large egg whites

2 tbs coconut milk

1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

 

Ramekin

nonstick cooking spray

 

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2. Spray your ramekin with nonstick spray.

3. Whisk together your egg whites, coconut milk and vanilla.

4. Mix in your flax, cinnamon, stevia and protein powder (if using).

5. Mix your spaghetti squash into your ‘batter’

6. Pour your mixture into the ramekin.

7. Bake for about ~ 45 minutes or until just set in the middle.

8. Allow to cool slightly before serving.

Serves One