Chances are, if you’ve ever opened the spice cabinet in an ordinary American kitchen, you’ve experienced the unmistakable spicy odor of cinnamon. With its delicious taste and scent, cinnamon is a common household ingredient used in cooking and baking. What you might not realize, however, is that the uses for cinnamon, especially in its essential oil form, are far more widespread. Here are some easy ways in which you can get the most out of your cinnamon oil.
Cinnamon Oil: How do you use it, anyways?
Now you might be wondering, since cinnamon as a spice is so common already, what’s the point on investing in high-quality cinnamon oil? John Thomas, from Health Impact News, has compiled findings from many scientific studies, and explains that:
The essential oil of cinnamon is highly concentrated and very strong. With some herbs and spices, we don’t see a strong effect from the natural plant material, which means that essential oils are preferred for medicinal use. With cinnamon, the use of freshly ground cinnamon can have therapeutic effects. This is also the case for extracts made from cinnamon.
In fact, the faculty of Agro Based Industry of the University of Malaysia Kelantan has calculated just how much more concentrated cinnamon oil is. Experimental testing the two most common extraction methods, determined that:
Extraction of essential oil from Cinnamomum zeylanicum [the scientific name for cinnamon] can be done using two different methods with optimum essential oil yield, which were steam distillation and Soxhlet extraction. Heat was applied in both methods for faster extraction compared to other methods which did not require heat but took a lot of time instead such as solvent extraction. In steam distillation, the solvent was water so that the essential oil produced was pure without being affected by the solvent. Soxhlet extraction used ethanol as the solvent since the compound was more effective than water for extraction. Ethanol was less dangerous compared to other extraction solvent such as methanol, hexane and chloroform. There are many other extraction methods that can be used to extract the essential oil from cinnamon such as solvent extraction. Different methods will produce different amount and quality of essential oil.
From the HPLC test results, the extracted products showed that cinnamon contained high amount of cinnamaldehyde from both extraction methods which were 94.728% from 5 hour steam distillation, 94.747% from 10 hour steam distillation, 73.16% from 5 hour Soxhlet extraction, and 62.737% from 10 hour Soxhlet extraction.
The high concentration of these relevant chemicals means that there are many health benefits of cinnamon oil, but it does come with a caveat. Sustainable Baby Steps, a health and wellness website, explains that when you use cinnamon oil, you should:
Always dilute. This oil is not generally suitable for children under 6 and should be diluted more for children over 6. Repeated or undiluted use can cause skin sensitization. Diffuse with caution as well, since this potent oil may irritate nasal passages (don’t inhale directly from bottle or diffuser). Always test for skin sensitivity prior to widespread use and use on the feet when possible. Excessive use of any oil can lead to skin sensitization. Keep out of eyes, ears, or nose. Not all oils are created equal, so test brands carefully, and never use an oil in a way not recommended by its maker.
You can make your own version of cinnamon oil right at home! Here’s a video that describes an easy cinnamon oil extraction process. While it might not be as potent as the specially-made, store-bought kind, you can still definitely get some of the benefits from the spice.
Uses #1-16: Health Benefits
The first major area of use for cinnamon oil is in medicine. Cinnamon naturally contains a number of helpful chemicals that stimulate the body to fight off disease and maintain health. Organic Facts, a nutrition, health, and home remedies website, lists the staggering number of ways cinnamon oil can be used for health purposes:
Brain Function: Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and makes it a good brain tonic. It helps to remove nervous tension and memory loss. Research at the Wheeling Jesuit University in the United States has proved that the scent of cinnamon has the ability to boost brain activity. The team of researchers, led by Dr. P. Zoladz, found that people who were given cinnamon improved their scores on cognitive activities such as attention span, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed.
Blood purification: Cinnamon can also help to remove blood impurities. This also makes it a great treatment for pimples.
Blood circulation: Cinnamon helps to improve the circulation of blood due to the presence of a blood thinning compound within cinnamon. This blood circulation helps to significantly reduce pain. Good blood circulation also ensures oxygen supply to the body’s cells, which leads to higher metabolic activity. You can significantly reduce the chance of suffering from a heart attack by regularly consuming cinnamon.
Pain Relief: Cinnamon is also an anti-inflammatory substance, so it helps in removing stiffness of the muscles and joints. Cinnamon is also recommended for arthritis, and it is known to help in removing headaches that are caused by colds.
Diabetes: Cinnamon has the ability to control blood sugar, so diabetics find it very useful because cinnamon aids them in using less insulin. Research has shown that it is particularly helpful for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes patients are not able to regulate their insulin levels properly. Researchers at the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland studied the effect of various food substances that include cinnamon on blood sugar levels. They found that a water-soluble polyphenol compound called MHCP, which is abundant in cinnamon, synergistically acted with insulin and helped in the better utilization of that vital component of human health.
Infections: Due to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral and antiseptic properties, it is effective on treating external as well as internal infections. It helps in destroying germs in the gall bladder and the bacteria present in staph infections.
Healing: Cinnamon acts as a coagulant and helps to stop excess bleeding. Therefore, it facilitates the healing process.
Heart diseases: It is believed that the calcium and fiber present in cinnamon provide protection against heart diseases. By including a little cinnamon in your food, you can help prevent coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.
Colon cancer: It can also improves the health of the colon and thereby reduce the risk of colon cancer.
Mouth freshener: Cinnamon is often used in chewing gums, as it is a good mouth freshener and removes bad breath.
Perfumes: It has a refreshing aroma and is extensively used in perfume-making.
Indigestion: Cinnamon is added in many ethnic recipes. Apart from adding flavor to the food, it also aids in digestion. Cinnamon is very effective for indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea and flatulence. Due to its carminative properties, it is very helpful in eliminating excess gas from the stomach and intestines. It also removes acidity, combats diarrhea and reduces the effects of morning sickness. Cinnamon is therefore often referred to as a digestive tonic.
Respiratory problems: Cinnamon helps in relieving the symptoms of colds, influenza, sore throat and congestion.
Menstruation: Cinnamon is effective in providing relief from menstrual discomfort and cramping.
Birth control: Cinnamon also helps in natural birth control. Regular consumption of cinnamon after childbirth delays menstruation and thus helps to avoid conception.
Breastfeeding: It is also believed that cinnamon aids in the secretion of healthy breast milk.
Cinnamon is diuretic in nature and helps in the secretion and discharge of urine. It is also commonly used as an aphrodisiac and is believed to arouse sexual desire in men and women.
Using a high-quality, professionally-extracted bottle of cinnamon oil means that you can get these benefits as well. These two videos offer some additional insight–they list out the benefits of cinnamon oil and explain some additional uses as well:
Again, keep in mind that although cinnamon oil is generally proven to be helpful, it can react differently with specific people. Never use the essential oil in its concentrated form–always dilute it, and always use only a few drops at a time to ensure that no unintended side effects manifest.
Uses #17-22: General Uses
You might be thinking that the medical uses for cinnamon oil are quite enough, but the ways cinnamon oil can be used aren’t just limited to medicine: Organic Facts continues their list and reiterates a warning in the following section:
Cooking: Some people add cinnamon oil while they are cooking. Cinnamon oil obtained from the leaves contains a compound named [sic] cinnamaldehyde, which is an excellent flavoring agent.
Room freshener: The pleasant aroma of cinnamon oil makes it a very effective as a room freshener. It is often added to potpourri.
Eliminating mosquitoes: Cinnamon oil is a great mosquito repellent. Research has now proved that cinnamon oil is very effective in killing mosquito larvae. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, a renowned scientific journal, has reported on that research, which had been conducted at the National Taiwan University. Apart from the leaves of cinnamon, its bark is also a good source of cinnamaldehyde, which is an active mosquito killing agent. This research has paved the way for finding an environmentally safe solution for solving the global menace and disease-spreading capacity of mosquitoes.
Many companies that produce cinnamon oil claim that it is a good antibacterial and antifungal agent, making it very effective in the treatment of infections. Recent research suggests that Cinnamomum cassia oil has potential to be used as a natural antibacterial agent in food industry.
It also helps increase blood circulation and acts as a sexual stimulant. Research has also proven that cinnamon oil obtained from the leaves and twigs of cinnamon can be used for controlling mites that negatively affect honey bees.
Being strong in nature, cinnamon oil should be avoided for internal consumption. Furthermore, it can have adverse effects on the skin if used topically in concentrated form. Therefore, it should be used in diluted form. Before using cinnamon oil, it should be tested to make sure that it suits your skin. You should apply only a small quantity of cinnamon oil initially and check if you develop any allergic reaction symptoms. Do not apply cinnamon oil on the face and other sensitive areas.
Cinnamon blends well with various essential oils, so it is added to many aromatherapy preparations. It enhances the effectiveness of other herbs and essential oils, thus speeding up the treatment of various herbal remedies. Furthermore, many herbs can have an unpleasant taste. Cinnamon or cinnamon oil is often added to herbal preparations to make them taste better. The oil blends well with other essential oils such as lemon essential oil, rosemary essential oil, geranium essential oil, lavender essential oil and cardamom essential oil.
Make sure to purchase a bottle of cinnamon oil to get all the benefits from the unique spice’s essential oil! Here is a professional video that shows you how:
Cinnamon, a common cooking spice, is one of the most commonly used spices in the world, but fewer people know about the health and general benefits of the essential oil made from the spice. We’ve given you 22 ways in which you can use cinnamon oil — now it’s up to you to figure out how best use cinnamon oil to benefit your own health and living!