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Cinnamon essential oil
Cinnamon, whose scientific name is "cinnamomum zeylanicum" is a perennial plant belonging to the Lauraceae family. It is a green tree all year that measures only a few centimeters (maximum seven). Although it is well known and appreciated throughout Europe - used both in the kitchen, to enrich the most diverse dishes, and in virtue of its remarkable beneficial properties - cinnamon has an exotic origin: it comes from India, Malaysia and Asia tropical. Cinnamon has long and oval leaves, a red that tends to progressively pale. It shows a very fragile bark due to its reduced thickness, dark red color, smooth and with a strong, characteristic fragrance. The essential oil of cinnamon is obtained from the twigs and their bark: growing, in fact, they branch, drying and crumpling on themselves. The cinnamon flowers are tiny, white and also very fragrant, while the fruits are purple and have the shape of berries characterized by a single seed.
Historical uses of cinnamon
Contrary to what one might think, the original use of cinnamon was not the culinary one; this herb, in fact, was widely used by the traditional Chinese medicine, which considered it an almost miraculous remedy for many diseases. Historical sources show that cinnamon was known several centuries before Christ, when it was one of the main components of many medicinal remedies. According to the Chinese, the constant use of cinnamon had the effect of improving the tone and elasticity of the epidermis, thus giving new youth to mature skin. Not only: cinnamon was also considered a sort of "viagra ante litteram" due to its remarkable aphrodisiac properties, which helped typically male problems such as impotence. It also served to improve digestion and to preserve foods such as meat, which prevented natural putrefaction. Very heated, traditionally linked to the element of fire, cinnamon soon proved to be a powerful bactericide capable of preventing infections and blocking the processes of natural decomposition; in virtue of this extraordinary property of his, in the second century BC in Egypt it was mixed with other oil and used to mummify the bodies of the pharaohs. Even the Christian religion has a tradition in fact of cinnamon: this herb is in fact mentioned in the book of the Exodus of the Bible, in which reference is made to cinnamon as a sacred tree. The sacredness of cinnamon was a fact also in ancient Rome: it seems that it was burned during the funeral (the same Nero did it on the occasion of his wife's burial) and that it was also used on the tables, to season the most disparate dishes. His arrival in today's Europe dates back to the Middle Ages; its massive diffusion was due to the Dutch, who began cultivating it in Sri Lanka and then importing it throughout Europe after 1600.
The beneficial effects of cinnamon essential oil
As anticipated, cinnamon is one of the most used ingredients in the kitchen, especially in the preparation of cakes, creams and various desserts, to which it gives an unmistakable flavor. However, what many people do not know is that cinnamon, in addition to performing an important antiseptic action, is an excellent natural stimulant and digestive, which restores the natural balance of the bacterial flora favoring regular digestion. The essential oil of cinnamon is therefore used to treat constipation and diarrhea, but also as a natural antibacterial: its internal use includes a standard dose of two drops per day to be taken diluted in water and a pinch of honey; it fights and prevents the onset of intestinal infections, purifying the gastrointestinal tract and eliminating the parasites that can dwell there. For these reasons, it is often recommended to take the essential oil of cinnamon when you have the flu or a strong cold, especially if it is associated with symptoms that also affect the intestine. External use can be made by mixing the essential oil of cinnamon with other oils, especially that of sweet almonds: a few drops of both, in fact, can be gently massaged on the abdomen until they are completely absorbed; this allows a faster elimination of intestinal gas, helps digestion and effectively prevents intestinal swelling. From the most distinctly psychological - or emotional - point of view, in addition to enjoying mild aphrodisiac properties, the essential oil of cinnamon acts mainly on the central nervous system. By increasing the frequency of the heartbeat, it also gives enthusiasm and effectively counteracts depression, anxiety and asthenia. Warm the soul, favoring a more positive mood.
Cinnamon essential oil: Main contraindications to the use of cinnamon essential oil
Characterized by a very sweet and at the same time dry scent, with a spicy aftertaste, if used in large doses, without taking into account the recommended dosage (a few drops are generally enough to obtain the desired effect), the essential oil of cinnamon has rather side effects. important: if inhaled or ingested, in fact, it can cause the onset of convulsions, while the external use could cause an important redness of the treated epidermis. If you intend to use this oil, then, it is always good to ask first for the opinion and advice of the trusted herbalist; in any case it is better to abstain if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, also avoiding the administration of oil in children.