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Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum)

16 Sep 2016   Shanti Gowans

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is one of the most popular spices worldwide. It is produced from the inner bark of several species of evergreen trees, from the genus Cinnamomum belonging to the Lauraceae family. 

The use of the spice has been historically documented from ancient times, not only as a food condiment but also as a preservative, antibacterial and antifungal disinfectant. C.aromaticus was also used therapeutically in several conditions, notably for acute and infectious digestive and respiratory diseases. Ancient civilisations, such as Egyptians, used cinnamon topically in massage oils and scrubs as a remedy for both internal and skin conditions. 

In modern medicine, cinnamon is used primarily as an aromatic mixed with other therapeutic herbs with similar or complementary effects. Medical research showed that cinnamon plays an important role in regulating blood sugar levels, which could be very useful in addressing type I and II diabetes. 

Cinnamon essential oil is frequently used commercially in the Food, Beverage and Cosmetic industries. Using an organic, responsibly harvested source of cinnamon essential oil is very important in terms of quality, purity and refinement.

Therapeutic Actions & Benefits:

Topically applied, cinnamon stimulates peripheral circulation and relieves joints and muscle pain. Cinnamon oil is extremely potent, with considerable heating power, which is why it needs to be used in a highly diluted form (1% dilution is recommended) using a carrier or massage oil.

Applied locally, diluted cinnamon oil has soothing, anti-inflammatory properties which are beneficial for muscle and joint pain, inflammation and to promote overall musculoskeletal health. Cinnamon oil also stimulates peripheral and cerebral circulation and has a decongestant effect on airways. Massaged on the abdomen, it stimulate digestion and considered an adjuvant in regulating appetite.

Cinnamon essential oil has a spicy, easy to identify, slightly pungent scent. It has potent warming properties. Used in aromatherapy, it has calming and soothing effects on anxiety, insomnia and depression. The cinnamon aroma is associated with an uplifted, feel-good, carefree mood. It also enhances the romantic mood and the capacity to interconnect with other individuals. Cinnamon boosts cerebral circulation and metabolic activity.

List of specific therapeutic actions:

  • Respiratory system: clears airways, aids expectoration, adjuvant in colds and flu, decongestant
  • Nervous system: alleviates anxiety, calms nervousness, uplifts mood, enhances romantic mood
  • Circulatory system: stimulates peripheral circulation, protects blood vessels
  • Immunity: tonic, adjuvant in viral and bacterial infections, boosts metabolism
  • Topical: relieves joints and muscular pain, antibacterial, antifungal
  • Energetic: fights mental or emotional fatigue, has uplifting properties, induces a feel-good mood, enhances romantic mood, encourages creativity, cleanses energies, promotes positive thinking, increases relaxation. Emotionally, it encourages human interaction and promotes closeness and connectivity with oneself and with others.


Cinnamon is usually recommended for people with kapha dosha associated illnesses, or more precisely diseases associated with cold sensation and slow metabolism. It enhances the flow of pitta energy, by warming tissues and supporting Agni (digestive fire).

Traditional Chinese Medicine

In TCM, Cinnamon is considered warming and believed to strengthen the Yang and invigorate blood. Cinnamon is believed to warm and invigorate the Chi and the energy channels, promoting circulatory health and aiding in muscle and joint pain.

Aromatic profile

  • Scent: Spicy, earthy, pepper-like, pungent, penetrating with a sweet, delicate, herbaceous dryout
  • Note: base to middle
  • Blends well with: basil, clove, fennel, ginger, marjoram, gingergrass, vetiver, palmarosa, agarwood, cedarwood, davana, nagarmotha
  • Safety: Highly irritant in pure form. Always use in diluted form

How to Use Cinnamon Essential Oil:

Cinnamon essential oil can sensitise skin and be highly irritant to the skin and mucous. In its pure form it is a mucous membrane irritant and strong skin sensitiser. Use Cinnamon essential oil in very low dilution (1%) and always do a patch test on your skin. Using Cinnamon essential oil for internal purposes is contraindicated.

For massage oil, use one drop of cinnamon essential oil in 0.5 oz of carrier oil. The resulted oil has relaxing, warming and soothing properties.

For the diffuser is recommended to use cinnamon essential oil in a blend, such as 1 drop cinnamon to 5-6 drops citrus oil. When diffused, cinnamon promotes relaxation a feel good mood and happiness.

Cinnamon Essential Oil Recipes:

Immunity booster:

  • 2 drops cinnamon oil
  • 3 drops clove oil
  • 3 drops lemon oil
  • 1 drop rosemary oil
  • 1 drop eucalyptus oil

Diffuse as many times as preferred, or apply on the bottom of the feet diluted in 0.5 oz carrier oil

Room scenting (promotes positive energies, uplifts):

  • 1 drop cinnamon oil
  • 3 drops clove oil
  • 3 drops cedarwood oil
  • 6 drops tea tree oil
  • 6 drops lemon oil

Diffuse or dilute in 2 cups of water and use a spray bottle



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Shanti Gowans is the globally recognised author and founder of Shanti Yoga™, Meditation and Ayurveda for the self, family and community.

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