We feel secure when the scent of cinnamon is in the air. Cinnamon drives away inner coldness, stimulates digestion, alleviates menstrual cramps and awakens a sense of desire.
The European origin of the genus name "cinnamomum" comes from the Greek words "kinéin" (move) and "a-momos" (without reproach). Translated, the name means "rolled spice beyond reproach". Another explanation is based on an Indonesian-Malaysian source, which derives "cinnamomum" from the root "kayu manis", or "sweet wood" in English.
Cinnamon isn't always cinnamon
The cinnamon genus includes many different varieties, some of which have only minimal botanical differences. The most important are: Cinnamomum ceylanicum (verum) and Cinnamomum cassia (aromaticum). The bark of Chinese cassia cinnamon was traded in Europe much earlier than Ceylon cinnamon from Sri Lanka was. It is easier and cheaper to produce, as a result of which it is very common in the food industry. Compared to Ceylon cinnamon, this cinnamon contains less essential oil (making it more bitter), but more coumarin. In large amounts, this substance could damage the liver. For this reason, the amount of cassia cinnamon used is limited. Ceylon cinnamon is mainly used for therapeutic applications.
Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices in the world. It influenced global trade early on not only as a spice, but also as a preservative, a medicine and an aphrodisiac. Arabs long ruled the spice trade and kept the source of the highly coveted cinnamon a secret. It was only in the 16th century that the Portuguese conquered the coast of Sri Lanka and seized the cinnamon monopoly, which they lost to the Dutch in 1632. The Dutch were the first to plant cinnamon crops. However, they ceded dominance in the cinnamon trade to the British in 1796. Now, in addition to Sri Lanka, Madagascar, the Seychelles and Indonesia are the most important cinnamon producers.
Relieves cramps and warms
As a medicine, Ceylon cinnamon promotes blood circulation of the smooth muscle tissue and thus relieves flatulence, bloating and cramps in the digestive tract as well as menstrual difficulties. As a side effect, it promotes blood circulation in the reproductive organs and is therefore a sought-after aphrodisiac. Cinnamon may also offer people who always feel too cold a good alternative to a hot water bottle.
The main active ingredients in cinnamon are essential oil and tannins. The tannins are responsible for the hypoglycaemic effect. The essential oil has an antibacterial, fungicidal and blood circulation-enhancing effect. As a nutritional supplement for type 2 diabetes, two to three Ceylon cinnamon powder capsules can – after consulting with a physician – be taken three times a day as a therapeutic aid. However, they do not replace medical treatment under any circumstances. In order to relieve menstrual cramps, take 20 drops of cinnamon mother tincture three times daily when the symptoms first appear. Tea or a mother tincture after eating promote digestion and awaken a sense of desire before bedtime.
The cinnamon tree can grow up to 12 metres high. The short-stemmed leaves are lance-shaped, shiny and dark green. The sprouts hang from the end of each shoot. In order to harvest cinnamon, the tree is cut back to the main part of the trunk every three to four years in order to remove the fresh bark from the newly created side branches.
Humid tropical climates. Prefers sandy, loamy subsoil in partial shade.
The cinnamon tree is an evergreen tree that can live to be hundreds of years old.
One to three times per year the bark is removed in vertical strips from young side branches and wrapped in coconut mats in order to initiate the fermentation process. The exterior bark is then scraped off and the thin inner peels are telescoped into one another piece by piece. The resulting quills are dried in the shade.