Many people are unaware of the surprising benefits of cinnamon, especially since most foods with cinnamon in the name – cinnamon rolls, cinnamon candy, and cinnamon cake – are unhealthy. But in its purest form, cinnamon is one of the most potent antioxidants on the planet. So is there any reason not to take cinnamon? Yes.
- As with anything, huge doses of cinnamon can be toxic, so it’s a good idea to stick to a teaspoon or less a day.
- Not everything that says “cinnamon” on the label is healthy. Steer clear of processed cinnamon buns, sugary desserts and cereals.
- If you’re diabetic and already taking medication to help control it, speak to your doctor about any risks involved with eating cinnamon.
For the rest of us, take 1/2-1 teaspoon cinnamon in foods and drinks. It’s not advisable to take cinnamon supplements since cinnamon can be purchased easily and measured out to a quantity that’s safe. Here are some popular and unconventional ways to get your daily dose of cinnamon:
- If you’re trying to quit smoking, suck on a cinnamon quill (stick) like a piece of candy instead of lighting a cigarette whenever you have the urge to smoke.
- Sprinkle powdered cinnamon on toast, in coffee, on oatmeal, in meatloaf, in soups, or mix it with butter to make cinnamon butter.
- Drink cinnamon water: Simply soak cinnamon sticks in fresh water overnight and drink cold. This will release the mucilage (gelatinous fiber) from the cinnamon that controls blood sugar and aids digestion.
Cinnamon Essential Oil
Distillation, hydrodiffusion, mechanical expression, enfleurage, solvent extraction, carbon dioxide (CO2) extraction! What’s does it all mean? These are all methods employed to extract aromatic oils and essences from plants.
Getting the essential properties out of the plant without damaging it requires a specific action commonly called extraction. Some form of distillation or extraction is necessary and different extraction techniques produce oils with different chemical properties and which are intended for different uses.
Resins found in plants such cinnamon require alcohol or a hydrocarbon solvent to release its natural gum substance. The solvent is then removed leaving a concentrated form of the plant – an oleoresin – with all its essential properties intact.
You can then use your organic cinnamon oil confidently, knowing that it will work its medicinal magic. The essential oil contains all the same properties and benefits as the whole plant.
- Inhale cinnamon oil to support the immune system
- Apply to the soles of the feet to ward off influenza and cold viruses.
- Mix oil into lotions, creams, body butters, balms, and massage oils
- Add 1-2 drops of oil to main dishes, drinks and desserts
- Never consume straight cinnamon oil. It may cause vomiting or kidney damage.
- Never apply essential oils to sensitive areas of the body. They can be caustic and irritating. If irritation occurs, apply vegetable oil immediately to cool off the skin.
Cinnamon Infusion (Tea)
Preparing a water infusion or “tea” will extract very delicate anti-inflammatory plant steroids. The chemical must be “active” in the extraction for it to be therapeutic. Heat must be carefully regulated so it does not exceed the burn temperature and destroy both the botanical material and its properties.
You can make a cinnamon infusion using cinnamon essential oil, fresh cinnamon or powdered cinnamon.
Use one of the following for each cup of tea:
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon essential oil
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered cinnamon
- 1 cinnamon stick, whole or broken into pieces
Place cinnamon into a warmed cup or brewing pot, not the pot in which the water was heated. Pour water over the cinnamon. Cover and allow to steep for 5-6 minutes. Add lemon, honey, stevia, or coconut sugar to taste.
Here are the time honored steps for brewing a proper pot or cup of tea:
- Prepare the water: Fill a kettle with fresh, cold water. Using hot tap water will not allow the water to come up through its natural stages to the boiling point. This will result in a flat tasting infusion. Likewise, don’t use water that has been previously boiled. Many people fill a kettle and pour one cup from it, then re-boil the water several days in row until it’s gone. This will result in “flat” water which is devoid of oxygen.
- Bring the water to boiling or a near boil: If you bring the water to a boil, don’t boil it too long or it will turn flat. You can bring the water to just under the boiling point. The delicate oils will literally “cook” in boiling water, so bringing the water to the point where the bubbles just start to come to the surface will prevent them from “burning”. Or, if you do bring the water to a full boil, allow it to cool for 2-3 minutes before pouring into the brewing pot or cup.
- Preheat the cups and steeping pot: Preheating the cup or pot in which you’ll create your infusion will prevent the water temperature from dropping too quickly. Plants need time to release their flavor and once the water temperature begins to drop, this process slows down. To do this, pour boiling water into the pot or cups to pre-heat it, then pour this water off before you begin creating your infusion.