Common names: cinnamon, ceylon cinnamon
Actions: Anti-fungal, antimicrobial, antiviral, antiseptic, carminative, anti-spasmodic, anti-diabetic, aromatic digestive, circulatory stimulent, uterine stimulent, antioxidant
Menstrual Phase: Menstruation (Winter). Cinnamon is a wonderful herb to use during the bleeding phase to warm the body, reduce period pain and stoke the fire within by replenishing vitality and energy due to low hormones and fatigue.
Energy: Warming, sweet and spicy (Pitta increasing herb)
Taste: Sweet, aromatic
Oh cinnamon how sweet you are!
I love to add this spicy and warming herb to my smoothies, porridge, slow cooked stews, bliss balls and hot tonics. Cinnamon bark has been used for several thousand years in traditional Eastern and Western herbalism - it is one of the worlds oldest herbal healers.
I chose cinnamon for this month's 'Botanical Reflections' not only because I love using this herb for women's wellness in tinctures and teas but also because cinnamon is a great antiviral plant and is very useful during the current health pandemic and of course during the cold and flu seasons.
With its known antimicrobial, antioxidant, and immune boosting effects, cinnamon can be a great choice for respiratory fighting infections and driving cold conditions out of the body. If you can wanting to support your immune system and keep the bugs at bay, I recommend getting this potent herb into your daily life.
A recipe you could try at home is 1/2 tsp of cinnamon mixed into hot lemon water (1/2 large lemon juiced) sweetened slightly with raw honey. I recommend having this tonic in the morning when you wake up as it's invigorating and gets your blood/circulation moving. You may also like to try the 'Immune Boosting Winter Chai' recipe at the end of this blog! It's delicious!
Cinnamon is an overall tonic for the body and one of my favourite herbs to to bring sweetness and warmth back when your constitution is cold, stagnant and sluggish. If you struggle with circulation issues, poor digestion or sugar imbalances, it may be the herb for you! Though if you have too much Yang energy and heat in your body (are you often running hot or angry?), cinnamon could be too heating and fiery for you. You may benefit from a herb like Chamomile that is cooling in nature.
Besides fighting off viruses and other pathogens, Cinnamon can help support poor digestion by reducing bloating, nausea, flatulence and stomach pain. If you struggle with sluggish digestive function, try combining it with ginger and chamomile as an herbal infusion and drinking a cup 30 minutes after meals.
When it comes to women's health and the menstrual cycle, Cinnamon can be a beautiful herb to use with women who struggle with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) as it can help improve insulin sensitivity (a major factor with most types of PCOS), menstrual regularity and blood circulation to the uterus. I love using cinnamon with peony and liquorice in a tincture to support ovulation, adrenal function and sugar imbalances through out the whole cycle.
Cinnamon really shines in the menstrual phase (Winter) due to it's warming and soft stimulating energy. It can help move stagnated energy and blood to and from the reproductive system (uterus) and may help relieve menstrual cramps and reduce blood clotting during this phase. It's also a beautiful herb to use for heavy bleeding due to its astringent action, helping to constrict the blood vessels and slow excessive blood flow.
Here is a herbal tea recipe by one of my favourite Mentors and teachers in Herbalism, Rosemary Gladstar.
Women's Reproductive Tonic
Simmer herbs for 10 - 20mins in a pot, strain and consume 2-3 cups per day
Cinnamon Safety: Avoid use of herb in pregnancy and lactation (food spice is generally safe). Some individuals may have an allergic reaction to cinnamon on the skin and mucosa. Take extra caution with cinnamon bark essential oil. Cinnamon is also contraindicated in cases of gastrointestinal ulcers and compromised livers. Cassia cinnamon, contains high levels of coumarin and large amounts of this should not be consumed as it may be toxic. Ceylon cinnamon contains very low levels of coumarin and is my preferred cinnamon to use and prescribe.
Always consult a qualified herbalist before taking a herbal remedy when pregnant, breast feeding or on medication. Having a personalised and holistic wellness plan is always safest and the most effective, click here to book a 1:1 consultation with me.
Immune Boosting Winter Chai