CINNAMON BARK & LEAF ~ botany, history, and uses.
Synopsis ~ Cinnamon is a spice, a very fragrant culinary condiment, obtained from the inner bark of the genus Cinnamomum. Here listed are history, uses, and more.
CINNAMON BARK & LEAF, Hydrosol, Uses
Jeanne Rose – August 2022
COMMON NAME/LATIN BINOMIAL OF CINNAMON ~ Cinnamon bark & leaf, Cinnamomum verum AKA zeylanicum, or Ceylon cinnamon, true Cinnamon; the Cinnamon that is commercially used but is often adulterated.
Family ~ Lauraceae, the same family that includes the true Bay tree, Litsea spp., Sassafras spp., and Cinnamomum cassia.
COUNTRIES OF ORIGINS ~ Cinnamon was a native of Ceylon and is now grown in other areas such as Java, Sumatra, Borneo, South America, the East Indian, and West Indies, among places.
ENDANGERED OR NOT ~ The Cinnamon tree is threatened by human growth into once wild and farming areas T; the Cebu Cinnamon is endangered.
GENERAL DESCRIPTION OF PLANT HABITAT AND GROWTH ~ CEYLON CINNAMON. -This large, evergreen tree grows in mixed forests and valleys and has glossy, thick, leathery, alternate leaves; the entire tree has a distinct odor. The spice is “long, closely rolled quills, composed of 8 or more layers of bark of the thickness of paper; pale yellowish-brown; outer surface smooth, marked with wavy lines of bast-bundles; inner surface striate; fracture short-splintery; odor fragrant; taste sweet and warmly aromatic”-(U. S.). There are several hundred species of the Cinnamon tree.
Find a good Field Guide Book and learn how to identify plants by their external and internal look.
Or use Mabberley’s Plant-Book for the correct names, classification, and uses.
PORTION OF Cinnamon USED FOR EXTRACTION, EXTRACTION METHODS; DISTILLATION, HOW DISTILLED, AND YIELDS ~ Distillation is one of the oldest, simplest, and most widespread methods of extracting cinnamon essential oils, especially at commercial levels. In the Cinnamon bark or leaf hydrodistillation process, water vapors at boiling temperature are used to drive out the fragrant components. Supercritical fluid extraction yields Cinnamon CO2 and is one of the techniques used for Cinnamon oil and other essential oil extraction.1
Yield – The steam distillation of the bark is about 4% yield; while the steam distillation of the leaf is about 5%.
•SOURCE ~ Prima Fleur Botanicals is an excellent source of true Cinnamon essential oil•
ODOR DESCRIPTION/ AROMA ASSESSMENT ~ Cinnamon bark oil is fruity, floral, and spicy; while the Cinnamon leaf oil is spicy, woody, and vegetative.
CHEMISTRY OF CINNAMON ~ “Regarding the differences between plant parts, it is known from Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) that the root-, stem-, and leaf oils differ significantly (Wijesekera et al., 1974): only the stem bark contains essential oil with up to 70% cinnamaldehyde, whereas the oil of the root bark consists mainly of camphor and linalool, and the leaves produce oils with eugenol as the main compound. In contrast to it, eugenol is 70–90% of the main compound in the stem, the leaf, and bud oils of cloves (Syzygium aromaticum) (Lawrence, 1978)”. —from Handbook of Essential Oils by Buchbauer.
The essential oil of cinnamon bark (max. 4%) is dominated by the two phenylpropanoids cinnamaldehyde (3-phenyl-acrolein, 65 to 75%) and eugenol (4-(1-propene-3-yl)-2-methoxy-phenol, 5 to 10%).
Essential oil of cinnamon leaves, another (1%) can be obtained that consists mainly of eugenol (70 to 95%) and can be used as a substitute for clove.
GENERAL PROPERTIES of Cinnamon
CINNAMON PROPERTIES AND USES ~ Action are stimulant, tonic, stomachic, carminative, and astringent; reputed emmenagogue can diminish milk secretion.
CINNAMON SKIN CARE ~ Add Cinnamon bark oil to your products as an antibacterial and for that delicious spicy scent. Cinnamon oil contains eugenol; it is antispasmodic, anti-infectious, and antifungal and is also indicated for tooth care, respiratory blends, or the herb tea for sleepiness or depression.
This is a skin irritant; use it with moderation and with caution.
APPLICATION/MASSAGE ~ CINNAMON CO2 (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) Add Cinnamon to your products as an antibacterial stimulant and for that delicious spicy scent. Cinnamon CO2 retains the true scent of dried Cinnamon. You can add it to your products as part of your scent blend.
CHAI BLEND #6050 ~ This warm, spicey, and energizing blend is used in massage and diffusion to energize the air in a common room. Add the blend to Turmeric oil at 5% with a carrier oil for deep-tissue massage for aching joints or add to an unscented cream and use it as a body massage. The spicy blend “Chai” from Prima Fleur includes Cardamom, Cinnamon leaf, Ginger, Nutmeg, and others. … …… Not for facial skincare
CINNAMON DIFFUSE/DIFFUSION ~ EMOTIONAL/ENERGETIC USE ~ The mystery of aromatherapy is the everchanging scent —Get to know this essence that can create such a variety of emotional and physical changes. Cinnamon first stimulates and then depresses the nervous system. Cinnamon is used in medications to correct the effects and improve the drug’s flavor.
BLENDING & PERFUMERY ~ Always dilute Cinnamon oil (and all the spice oils) very well, as they are skin irritants. Cinnamon bark oil blends well with most odors such as florals, citrus, woods, herbs, spices, and resins.
Here is a perfume formula.
HYDROSOL OF CINNAMON ~ I am fortunate to have two bottles of Cinnamon bark hydrosol. I use them in cooking, as a light spray on some desserts and other foods, or as a spray to scent the room. Both these hydrosols taste delicious and can also be used in your tea (up to 1 t./cup) and as a compress for aching muscles or joints.
PLEASE NOTE: A true hydrosol should be specifically distilled for the hydrosol, not as a co-product or even a by-product of essential oil distillation. The plant’s cellular water has many components; most are lost under pressurized short steam runs for essential oil or by using dried material. We recommend that the producers specifically distill for a product by using fresh plant material.
HERBAL/USE ~ Culinary uses of Cinnamon include flavoring in many products, spicing up desserts and in candies and other sweets; and eating Cinnamon cassia, which is a different species, 1-2 t./day to improve your glucose (1, 3, or 6 grams – 2 t per day).
Also, Cinnamon bark, crushed, is useful in potpourris to scent a room.
KEY USE ~ The oil of Scent and Taste.
HISTORICAL USES ~ Wiki says, “It was regarded as a suitable gift for Monarchs and for Gods. Ancient Egyptians used Cinnamon as part of their embalming rituals. Physicians from the Middle Ages used Cinnamon to help treat cold and throat ailments such as coughing, hoarseness, and sore throats. And “it was the most profitable spice in the Dutch East India Company trade.”2
It was also used as a preservative in food and added flavor as long ago as 2000 B.C. The Bible also mentions Cinnamon.
This work is sponsored and supported by Prima Fleur Botanicals.
INTERESTING INFORMATION ON CINNAMON ~ Cinnamon oil from C. zeylanicum has antifungal, antiviral, bactericidal, and larvicidal properties. A liquid carbon dioxide extraction at 0.1% has been demonstrated to suppress the growth of many organisms, including E. coli, S. aureus, and C. albicans.3
Cinnamon so sweet and so nice
For this you may want to pay the price
Use it for scent
But not for rent
And if you want it will kill all your lice. —JeanneRose2016
- Cinnamon Oil By Khalid Haddi, Lêda R.A. Faroni, Eugênio E. Oliveira • Green Pesticides Handbook, 1st Edition. 2017. CRC Press
2. Wikipedia mention
3. PRESERVATIVES | Traditional Preservatives – Vegetable Oils. E.O. Aluyor, I.O. Oboh, in Encyclopedia of Food Microbiology, 2nd Ed., 2014. … Oils from Vegetables as Possible Preservatives
Mabberley, D. J. Mabberley’s Plant-Book, 3rd edition, 2014 printing, Cambridge University Press.
Rose, Jeanne. 375 Essential Oils and Hydrosols. Berkeley, California: Frog, Ltd., 1999
Rose, Jeanne. The Aromatherapy Book: Applications & Inhalations. San Francisco, California:
Herbal Studies Course/ Jeanne Rose & Berkeley, California: North Atlantic Books, 1992
SOME CAUTIONS TO REMEMBER for all Plants and their Parts
DISCLAIMER: This work is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for accurate diagnosis and treatment by a qualified health care professional. Dosages are often not given, as that is a matter between you and your health care provider. The author is neither a chemist nor a medical doctor. The content herein is the product of research and personal and practical experience. Institute of Aromatic & Herbal Studies – Jeanne Rose©