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ayurvedic notesSweet with Hot Blood, Dry as Cracked Mud
Cinnamon destroys all deep cold in the body. It stimulates especially in the . Cinnamon is useful for cold hands and feet, Raynauld's, and to increase circulation in the joint space. Additionally warming and stimulating to the liver and kidney, it effectively pacifies cold Vata and regulates metabolism of fats and sugars in Kapha, helping with type II diabetes and insulin resistance.
A sweet demulcent pre-packaged with pungency, cinnamon bundles numerous qualities of a good . The demulcent quality of cinnamon comes from the sweet taste. It is what makes a hot cinnamon tea thick and slimy. Gargling with cinnamon helps to coat the throat.
Cinnamon is an aphrodisiac. The warming and stimulating qualities of cinnamon flush uterine congestion in and aid . Ironically, cinnamon also helps in . The astringent, dry, and qualities of cinnamon prevail to reduce the excess blood flow. Oxytocic herbs can stimulate miscarriages and should not be used during pregnancy.
Cinnamon stops vomiting. It relieves gas and bad breath by preventing fermentation through two pathways: by stimulating agni
and by its anti-microbial qualities. Cinnamon with chalk is useful for diarrhea. Cinnamon's mild astringency is also useful in infant diarrhea from deficiency (Vata and Kapha type ). Its analgesic qualities are useful for toothache.
A Personal Experience of Cinnamon from Joseph's Journal January 16, 2010
The best way to experience an herb is on an empty stomach, early in the morning. Then sit on a comfortable pillow with eyes closed and examine its effects on the body. Each person will have a unique and different experience to share when sampling an herb. Here is an entry from Joseph's Journal after drinking a strong tea of cinnamon:
I experienced a rough palate and tension in the throat (evidence of astringency), pain in the back of head (high Vata due to astringency), throbbing of blood vessels in the temporal lobe (high Pitta), opening of air passages, pressure in the lungs and increased heart rate, decreased sensitivity of the skin (analgesic effect), cooling of the eyes (alterative effect), expectoration which cleared my sinuses, and within a half hour, hunger. Initially I experienced the stimulating and upward moving qualities of cinnamon. Then as the heat warmed my Vata I became tired and fell asleep for several hours.
Cinnamon (Rou Gui) in Chinese Medicine
Rou Gui is pungent, sweet, and hot affecting heart, kidney, liver and spleen meridians. It warms and fortifies deficient kidney yang and qi, leads floating yang fire back to its source in the kidney, disperses deep cold, alleviates pain from blood and qi stagnation, and encourages generation of qi and blood. Rou Gui is used in upper heat and lower cold. It appears in topical formulas for premature ejaculation perhaps due to its analgesic and warming qualities. Don't try this at home - cinnamon burns!
Cinnamon is a small evergreen tree in the Lauraceae family native to Sri Lanka. Other members of this family include sassafras, avocado, camphor, and spicebush. Trees of the laurel family, including cinnamon, predominate in the world's laurel forests. Many members of the family are used medicinally all over the world. Cinnamon grows best in almost pure sand, sheltered, with constant rain. It prefers heat with little temperature variation. When bruised the leaves smell spicy and have a hot taste.
The term laurel itself means an emblem of distinction of victory as in "To rest on one's laurels." Cinnamon is thus a plant of distinction and royalty. In the ancient world cinnamon was more precious than gold, a gift for monarchs and gods. The emperor Nero burned a year's supply of Rome's cinnamon to grieve the loss of his wife (whom he murdered).
Numerous biblical references attest to the use of cinnamon in ancient times. Moses used sweet cinnamon and cassia to make oils for anointing. In proverbs a lover's bed is perfumed with myrrh, aloe, and cinnamon. In the Song of Solomon, the beauty of the beloved is described, "Cinnamon scents her garments like the smell of Lebanon." In ancient Egypt, cinnamon was included among several spices to fill the body cavities of mummies for embalming and preservation.
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buying & preparation
Commercial cinnamon is the dried inner bark from the shoots of coppiced trees. The bark is shaved into famous "quills" or tubes of shaved cinnamon bark. Making the quills is an art form to this day in Sri Lanka.
Intrigue, Myths, and Trade of True Cinnamon
The botanical name (Cinnamomum verum, synonym C. zeylanicum
) reveals cinnamon's intriguing origins and history. The genus cinnamomum derives from the Hebrew and Arabic term amomon, meaning fragrant spice plant. Middle Eastern traders created elaborate myths to conceal the true origins of cinnamon and protect their monopoly. One such story included fishing cinnamon with nets at the source of the Nile. In another, giant cinnamon birds collected cinnamon sticks from unknown lands to build their nests.
The species name, verum
, reveals more modern intrigue in the cinnamon trade. Verum means true as in true cinnamon. True cinnamon is often substituted with inferior relatives such as Cinnamomom cassia
. True cinnamon is delicate while cassia is rough and hard. True cinnamon forms a powder easily with a mortar and pestle whereas cassia is difficult to powder. Although used for similar purposes medicinally, cassia has a harsher flavor, more potent and sharp. True cinnamon is also called sweet cinnamon because it is sweet and gentle. A synonym for the species name verum
, derived from Sri Lanka's former name, Ceylon, where the plant is native. Cinnamon sticks are difficult to grind but retain their freshness longer than powder. Buy a powder when using as a garnish, or use cinnamon sticks when adding to a soup.
Cinnamon is one of the famous sweet spices of Indian cuisine along with nutmeg, cardamom and cloves. It is used both to flavor desserts (such as rice pudding) and savory Indian curries. The famous spice mixes Garam Masala and Panch Puran include cinnamon. Cinnamon can also be used for pickling.
In the West cinnamon is used in desserts like apple pie, cinnamon buns, candies. It is often combined and ground into a cinnamon sugar mix. I also add almonds to the mix! True cinnamon, rather than cassia, is better in sweet dishes.
In savory Middle Eastern dishes cinnamon helps bridge the gap between meats and fruits. As a note, mixing fruits with meats is forbidden in Ayurvedic food combining. In Middle Eastern desserts it is often mixed with rosewater. In ancient Egypt cinnamon was used as a flavoring for beverages. Cinnamon is paired with chocolate in Mexico.
Cinnamon is delicious with squash, on sweet potatoes with dates and almonds, in apple cider, in preserved lemons, and in pumpkin pie. Cinnamon and peaches is a tasty and healthy dessert option! Cinnamon combines well with many other spices including ginger, cloves, black pepper, paprika, saffron and nutmeg.
Cinnamon is a great herb for kids because they love the taste.
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This information has not been validated by the FDA and should not be used to treat a medical condition.