All About Herbs: Cinnamon

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History, current days and hopefully the future years will never know anything as great and as useful as the cinnamon herb and spice. This plant is famous for its taste, medicinal uses and soothing smell. It is also a great ingredient to fresheners, teas and almost everything that can be ingested.

The History of Cinnamon

There were times when this previous plant was being regarded as fifteen times the price of silver. This was during the age of Pliny the Elder around 100 A.D. According to some texts, the infamous Roman emperor Nero burnt the cinnamon supplies of the country that were worth twelve whole months for the funeral of his beloved wife. This was a symbol of his deep desperation and the pain he felt as well as a metaphor of his loss.

Another myth tells how Moses himself used cinnamon together with other herbs and spices to anoint the Tabernacle.
History has many other stories related to cinnamon. In the Arabian countries, during the Middle Ages, the Alexandrian and Egyptian traders brought this spice to the European continent. They were the main ones to blame for the stories as they used an enormous imagination to justify their high prices.

Cinnamon  herb

The Species

Cinnamon originates from either the Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon) that is native to Sti Lanka, which is characterised by its yellow-brown colour and the finder powder in which it can be ground into. The other species is the Cinnamomum aromaticum (Cassia) that is native to China and Vietnam. It can be grown into a rougher powder than the one of the Ceylon cinnamon and has a gray-ish shade.
The name of this spice itself comes from the Greek for ‘sweet wood’. Typical for this, the taste of the cinnamon is really sweet, especially if you can ignore the bitterness.

Cinnamon in the Cuisine

This spice is used in many, almost too many native dishes all over the world. Without being a surprise as the origin of the plant itself is in Asia, this region is famous for its many meals that include cinnamon including many sweet dishes, but not only. It can be put into drinks, meats and almost everything that one can imagine.
Baked breads, baguettes and croissants as well as muffins, cakes and almost every dessert can be made with cinnamon. A typical eastern dish is boiled rice with sugar, milk and cinnamon while western nations prefer cinnamon muffins and cinnamon-covered cappuccino.

Cinnamon  herb

Cinnamon herb

What about Health Benefits

Many human body organs and parts can be positively influenced by the cinnamon powder or the bark itself. It can be made into a broth or put into a dish; even sprinkled this spice can bring a better health to people who have issues with nausea, flatulence, lack of appetite or stomach cramps. It is very useful (alongside basil) against female stomach pains as well as any kind of stomach and gastric discomfort.
Even though not used for such goals any longer, ancient tribes and old civilizations have used the plant for treatment of sore throat and rheumatism, even for soothing inflammation. The only thing that is still left if the impression that cinnamon soothes coughs. It is also a known inhibitor for the growth of some cancer cells and a fine medicine against some vaginal infections.

Caution: Cinnamon Can Be Dangerous

A lot of people have found the effects and nature of the spice too stimulating or too strong for their organisms. Some people find the bark, powdered bark and everything related to the plant too allergenic. ON top of this, the plant is known to have a high level of toxicity if taken in overly large amounts. Regular use of the spice is not advised as it may cause health issues. It is also not suitable for pregnant women as large doses of the powder or the cinnamon oil can cause abortion.