Before you know it the holidays will be here and the smell of cinnamon will fill the air. I love that invigorating smell–it’s so nostalgic and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy on the inside—this must have some sort of positive effect on my brain right?! Cinnamon’s aromatic energy is not its only fabulous quality. It’s also a wonderful flavor booster for your spiced loaves, apple pies, oatmeal and so much more.
To top it off, cinnamon is medicine.
Whether you are consuming, smelling or applying this wonderful spice for pure pleasure, you are also reaping its medicinal benefits. Like most spices I have studied, each has their unique, but also similar benefits. I chose to write about cinnamon first because out of all the spices in a Desi (S.Asia) pantry, I think cinnamon can be found in most kitchen cabinets (cross-culturally) – I love that about this spice.
Starting to increase your cinnamon consumption in the fall is the perfect time to begin storing up your internal heat to take you through the cold and wet winter months.
Consuming cinnamon a few times a week is a great way to begin, while also being aware and present to its healing properties.
Well, tell me, tell me – what’s so great about cinnamon?
- It helps keeps the digestive fire alive
- Prevents toxins from building in our digestive tracks
- Its’ warming-so it’s great to counter balance colds and reduce phlegm
- Stabilizes blood sugar levels
- Lowers cholesterol
- Awesome for arthritis, joint pain and headaches due to its anti-inflammatory properties
- Great for increasing circulation
- Balances vata and helps to pacify kapha
- For a medicine it tastes and smells grrreat!
How do I incorporate cinnamon as a medicine into my life?
- Love oatmeal? Add a little extra ( ½ a tsp per serving is a good amount to start with)
- Craving something sweet? Or Feel a cold or some congestion coming on? Take ½ tsp cinnamon with 1 tsp of honey. (cinnamon oil is great for this as well)
- Have sore/stiff joints? Rub cinnamon oil (food/massage grade) on your joints before going to bed, exercising, or when you feel some pain/stiffness
- Feeling a little cold or want to stabilize your blood sugar levels? Enjoy a warm cup of milk with ½ tsp of cinnamon or a cup of cinnamon tea*, a few times a week is a great place to begin
- Have a headache? Cinnamon oil is good for this – it gets the circulation going and the aroma helps to relax any mental tension
BALANCE IS THE KEY INGREDIENT
too much of a good thing is not always a good thing
People with a little extra (imbalance) Pitta (heat) or digestive issues like IBS, should be wary… too much cinnamon might not be the best option – listen to your body.
Coffee drinkers wait at least an hour to drink coffee if you have just consumed cinnamon medicinally (like the cinnamon and honey combo). Both are heating and may cause some irritability.
Suggestions above can be combined, i.e. suffer stiff joints, consuming more cinnamon can help as well – don’t limit your actions to just the topical application.
*To make medicinal tea, it’s recommended to simmer the spice for at least 15 minutes on the stove.
Lad, Vasant and Frawley, David; The Yoga of Herbs: An Ayurvedic Guide to Herbal Medicine; Lotus Press, Santa Fe, New Mexico USA, c1986