Botanical Name: Cinnamomum zeylanicum
Part Used: Bark
Process: Steam Distillation
Plant Description: Native to Sri Lanka, the Malabar Coast of India, Bangladesh, Seychelles, and Myanmar; also cultivated in South America and the West Indies. Cinnamon comes from a bushy evergreen tree of the tropics that grows to a height of 40-50 feet (but kept to about 6 feet for commercial purposes) with strong branches, shiny green leathery leaves, and thick, scabrous bark. The dried inner bark of the tree shoots are the source of the essential oil and, according to Steffan Arctander, factors such as climate and soil conditions, age and pruning of the trees, and the curing (scraping) of the bark will affect the quality of the bark and the essential oil extracted from it. In addition, some of the volatile materials in cinnamon bark essential oil are water soluble; it is paramount to the quality of the end product that these water soluble components are recaptured by extraction of the distillation waters, requiring expert knowledge of the distillation process, and added back to the steam-distilled oil to ensure outstanding quality. An essential oil from the leaf is also obtained.
Oil Description: Pale to deep yellow somewhat oily liquid with a dry, sweet dusty-warm-spicy aroma, great tenacity and a powerful diffusiveness. The dry note is quite persistent in the dryout and is unique in combination with the sweetness.
Historical/Traditional Uses: Cinnamon Bark has been used for thousands of years in culinary preparations and was highly regarded as a precious ingredient for making temple incense. It was one of the ingredients collected by the mythical Phoenix for use in the magical fire in which it was reborn. Egyptians of old considered Cinnamon oil good for the feet. Upset stomachs of the ancient Greeks were settled with Cinnamon, and the ancient Romans favored its use in making perfumes. It was first used in 9th century Europe as an ingredient in mulled wine. Resourceful alchemists who turned to thievery in 14th century Europe used Cinnamon and other strongly scented plant material to protect themselves from contracting the Black Death while robbing victims. The Cinnamon industry was monopolized by the East India Company when the British Empire took control of Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) in the 18th century.
Applications (Uses and Indications): In aromatherapy, some sources state that Cinnamon Bark should not be employed; however, highly diluted (fractions of 1%) it has been indicated for poor circulation, tooth and gum maintenance, digestive complaints, nervous exhaustion, and infectious diseases ranging from MRSA to colds and the flu. In perfumery, greatly diluted (fractions of 1%) of Cinnamon Bark essential oil imparts warmth and radiance, and is used in combination with frankincense in oriental-woody bases. It also blends well with balsam of Peru, cardamom, clove, coriander, galbanum, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, mandarin, orange, pine, rosemary, thyme and ylang ylang.
Contraindications (Safety and Precautions): Some sources state that Cinnamon Bark oil should not be used in aromatherapy due to its cinnamic aldehyde content which is often the cause of severe skin sensitization. Cinnamon Bark oil is also a dermal toxin and irritant and can affect mucous members in this manner. It is best avoided during pregnancy (may induce contractions).
Standard Safety Precautions: Always dilute essential oils before using. Keep essential oils out of the eyes and mucous membranes; in case of contact, DO NOT use water, instead place a drop or two of vegetable oil on a tissue to gently wipe out of eye or off area of contact. In severe cases, seek professional help immediately. Keep out of the reach of children. In case of ingestion, call 911 immediately.
The FDA has not evaluated the statements on this website. No claims are made as to any medicinal value of this or any products from Ancient Ways Botanicals. The information presented here is for educational purposes of traditional uses and is not intended to prevent, diagnose, treat, or cure any disease. For external use only. You are responsible for understanding the safe application of these products.