Cinnamon Herbal Properties: Traditional Herbal Medicinal Use

pile of cinnamon sticks

Cinnamon is spicy-hot medicine by all accounts. Herbalists often add a little Cinnamon bark or twig to topical formulas to get the blood flowing when healing bruising and muscle injuries like overworked muscles and tendons or damage due to trauma. In internal formulas, Cinnamon is often included for it’s ability to move circulation internally, making it helpful for folks with circulatory conditions as well as digestive tract conditions like diabetes. When you look at the list of diseases and conditions commonly connected with Cinnamon, you may wonder if it’d be good to just add Cinnamon to every formula like the Thomsonians added Lobelia or Cayenne to everything. Why not, right?

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Cinnamon is So Hot Right Now…

And always. Cinnamon is one of the Herbalist’s hottest plant medicines. By that, we mean it can really get energies moving. If you apply a single drop of cinnamon bark essential oil to bare skin, you’ll likely see a blister rise up right quick. (Please, don’t try applying undiluted Cinnamon essential oil to your skin at home!) That happens because Cinnamon’s volatile oils, or essential oils, get the blood and other fluids moving quickly.

Traditional Western Herbalism and Cinnamon

From an energetic perspective, Cinnamon creates heat or moves energies, yet it’s also an herb that helps the body to cool. Cinnamon is classified by Traditional Western Herbalists as a warming or hot diaphoretic. As such, it builds the internal energies needed to drive toxins, germs, and cold conditions outward. At the same time, it encourages the body’s defense systems to open the doors so the body can release whatever’s not needed. Diaphoretics are often used for conditions like colds and flus, when germs have invaded and are creating cold, damp conditions like excessive mucus in the form of a runny nose or damp cough. Cinnamon can be used for so much more.

Ayurveda and Cinnamon

This ability of Cinnamon to strengthen while still moving energies is part of what makes it an ideal Sattvic herb for daily use in Ayurvedic practice. Cinnamon is classified as a Pitta increasing herb. When Kapha or Vata are out of balance, particularly when they’re too cold, stagnant, or stuck, Cinnamon can help get the energy flow moving again as does Cayenne. The difference between Cayenne and Cinnamon is that sweetness Cinnamon carries; Cinnamon is ideal for building tissues to combat deficiencies while Cayenne is better used as a short-term hero for moving energies.

Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) and Cinnamon

Traditional Chinese Herbalists have explored Cinnamon’s medicinal uses to further depths than have most other traditions. By that, I mean they’ve found uses for more than the inner bark traditionally used by most herbalists. Cinnamon Twigs, known as Gui Zhi in TCM, are as commonly used as Cinnamon bark, known as Rou Gui, for a variety of conditions. The difference between the two is mainly in the intensity of each part of the tree. Cinnamon twigs have more affinity for warming the extremities and moving Yang through the whole of the body than does Cinnamon bark. Cinnamon Bark is hotter and more stimulating to the interior than are Cinnamon Twigs. When you consider the parts of the tree from which each medicine comes, that makes a lot of sense. The job of the inner bark of the tree is to protect the heart of the trunk, promoting circulation of the tree’s life force and nutrition. The job of the twigs is to carry vital nutrition to the outermost parts of the tree.

Cinnamon Essential Oil Uses and Properties

Topically, Cinnamon essential oil of any type is stimulating and moving. All Cinnamon essential oils should be diluted in a carrier to prevent burning or strong reactions on the skin and in underlying tissues. Both are commonly used in formulas for wounds relating to overuse or trauma, such as bruising, sprains and strains. They can also help chronic conditions where increased circulation is needed, such as with arthritis of either type or neuropathy.

Cinnamon Bark essential oil is considerably more heating than is Cinnamon Leaf and Twig essential oil. Cinnamon Bark essential oil is well-suited for use as a supporting herb in topical cold and flu formulas akin to vapo-rubs and Tiger Balms.

For More In-Depth info on Cinnamon Energetics…

Join the Herbal Nerd Society and Read the Expanded Article that includes a formula recipe to try at home!


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