Botanical name: Cinnamomum verum (Lauraceae)
THE TREE THAT SPICES UP FOOD AND BEVERAGES, GIVES SCENT TO SKIN AND HAIR, LIGHTS UP THE FLAMES OF LOVE, CURES DISEASES AND HAS ACCOMPANIED THE SADLY DEPARTED ON THEIR LAST JOURNEY
The fascinating Cinnamon is associated with the scent of Christmas. Cinnamon is yet one of the oldest known spices and possesses a diverse and exciting history.
The Arabs brought Cinnamon as long as 5000 years ago from the ďSpice IslandsĒ, as they were known, and at the same time Cinnamon was used in Chinese medicines. In the Old Testament, Cinnamon is considered more valuable than gold and was used to make perfume and skin oils. The Egyptians used Cinnamon oil in embalming. Cinnamon is known for its seducing qualities. It is said to be an aphrodisiac, and that whoever consumes it, becomes a sensual and passionate lover.
The family of Cinnamon trees contains over 300 varieties. The finest and the most valuable is said to be Cinnamomun verum or Cinnamomun zeylanicum from the Ceylonese Island. The beautiful Cinnamon tree can grow to be up to 20 m (65 ft) tall and achieve a 60 cm (2ft) trunk diameter. The new leaves are a lovely pinkish shade and turn shiny green when maturing. The leaves and inside bark contain large quantities of delightfully scented aromatic Cinnamon oil. Cinnamon bars and powder are made out of the dried bark of young Cinnamon shoots. Cinnamon oil is usually made from green Cinnamon leaves. The leaves can also be used to make soothing and warming Cinnamon tea.
THE FLOWERS AND THE FRUITS
The charming white and star-shaped flowers start cream-colored and later turn reddish. The fruits are dark purple olive -like capsules.
THE MANY WAYS OF CINNAMON CARESS
In addition to its use as a spice, Cinnamon is a powerfully healthy herb and has many uses as a traditional medicine. Cinnamon balances the blood sugar thus helping diabetics and reduces the fat and cholesterol levels of blood. Cinnamon also helps alleviate diarrhea, digestive and menstrual problems. Cinnamon should not be used during pregnancy, as it might induce labor prematurely. Some people can also be allergic to Cinnamon. Cinnamon can be used to treat the common cold and a fever, and is believed to be effective in preventing cancer.