One of my favorite scents and flavors is cinnamon. The smell of cinnamon rolls baking is so mouth-watering! And they taste so yummy! Spice for cooking is the most popular use of cinnamon. Do you know that cinnamon is actually really healthy for you and you can get these health benefits not just from the spice, but from cinnamon essential oil. As a matter of fact, because the essential oil is so concentrated its benefits are much, much greater than just using the spice.
Here’s something about cinnamon essential oil I bet you didn’t know. There are actually three different kinds of cinnamon essential oil: cinnamon leaf, cinnamon bark, and cinnamon cassia.
Both the cinnamon leaf and cinnamon bark come from the Cinnamomum verum plant or shrub, also known as Laurus cinnamomum or Cinnamomum zeylanicum. It’s from the Lauraceae plant family and is a native shrub of Sri Lanka (Ceylon), India, tropical Asia, and Madagascar.
Cinnamon cassia comes from the Cassia tree, and is native of China, Vietnam, and Indonesia. It is also known as Cinnamomum cassia, cinnamomum aromaticum or Chinese cinnamon. It is also a member of the Lauraceae family. Cinnamon cassia is related to the cinnamon zeylanicum, but totally different plants. It is known as the ‘fake’ cinnamon. Cinnamon cassia oil is extracted from the bark of this tree. This is the more common of the cinnamon oils because it is cheaper to purchase.
Interesting Facts About These Cinnamons
The extraction method for all of these cinnamon oils is by steam distillation. Read my post on extraction methods Here.
Of course, in cinnamon bark oil, the bark is used. In cinnamon leaf oil, the leaf is used, obviously. But with the cinnamon cassia oil, not only the leaves and bark are used, but also twigs and stalks. Cinnamon bark is more rare and more expensive than the other two because of where it comes from.
These three kinds of cinnamon essential oil have many of the same oil components, but the amounts of each component vary in each of these oils. Some major components they have in common are: cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, eugenol, and linalool. Cinnamon bark and cinnamon cassia have higher levels of cinnamaldehyde than cinnamon leaf.
Cinnamon leaf has a higher level of eugenol than cinnamon bark or cassia. Cinnamon cassia has a component called coumarin that can barely be traced, if at all, in the other two. Coumarin can be toxic to the kidneys and liver if taken excessively. The three components that make these cinnamon essential oils so strong and therapeutic is cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid and cinnamate.
Ceylon Cinnamon bark essential oil has a warm, woody, sweet and spicy scent. It has a reddish golden color. Cinnamon leaf oil has a light yellow color and has a spicy and musky scent. Cinnamon cassia oil has a warm, pungent yet sweet, woody scent and is dark brown. These oils are in the middle note classification and as such make up 50-80% of the oil blend. See my post on blending oils.
Cinnamon oil blends well with these oils:
- Woody family: Cedarwood, Cypress, Myrrh, Frankincense
- Floral family: lavender, vanilla, rose, ylang ylang.
- Citrus family: lemon, grapefruit, lemon, orange
- Earthy family:patchouli
- Spicy family: rosemary and nutmeg
The chemical components in cinnamon essential oil create amazing and powerful therapeutic properties. Here are some beneficial properties created by these components: anti-fungal, antioxidant, anti-bacterial, anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, anti diabetic, anticancer, antidepressant, analgesic, carminative, immunostimulant, anti emetic, anti-rheumatic, anti-arthritic, and anticoagulant.
Each of the three cinnamon essential oils have some, if not all, of these properties. They all have different chemical composition using the same components, but they can be used for the same health benefits. It’s a matter of finding which one will work best with your body.
There are many benefits to using cinnamon essential oil. It has been shown through studies, that it helps some of the most serious of health conditions. I will touch on a few of those in this post.
One of the most common health conditions in this day and age is type 2 diabetes. Globally, 1 in 11 adults fight this disease daily. One of the main symptoms for diabetes is high blood sugar levels. There have been some studies that have shown cinnamon can help regulate blood sugar levels. This study shows cinnamon helps in lowering blood glucose levels.
A study done on Chinese participants showed “that cinnamon supplementation is able to significantly improve blood glucose control in Chinese patients with type 2 diabetes”. Some studies done, did not show any effect on diabetes, but there is potential as seen from this study on 18 people done in 2012. The data demonstrated that “cinnamon supplementation can be as effective as some oral diabetic medications in terms of control over HbA1C levels”.
Another common health condition cinnamon might be able to help with is heart disease. It has been shown to improve blood circulation with its blood thinning compounds. This review on Indian spices for a healthy heart include cinnamon. It reveals that cinnamon increased coronary blood flow and that “cinnamon extract improved lipid profile by extensively decreasing total cholesterol, triglycerides and LDL – C levels with increasing serum HDL –C”. Increased cardiac muscle contraction and beating rate was also exerted by cinnamaldehyde, which is present in cinnamon.
Cinnamon essential oil can improve brain function and increase brain activity. It can also help fight against anxiety and stress and also memory loss. This study showed that the odor of cinnamon enhanced cognitive activity.
For improving brain health, there are two compounds in cinnamon called cinnamaldehyde and epicatechin that can hinder the clustering of a particular protein called tau. This is important because tau protein can accumulate and form “neurofibrillary tangles”, which is an indication of Alzheimer’s disease. Tau protein helps the function of neurons in the brain. This study showed that both of these compounds from cinnamon can protect tau from becoming damaged by oxidation, which would cause it to dysfunction.
The disease we hate to hear about the most is cancer. According to the National Cancer Institute, approximately 38.4% of men and women will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during their lifetimes. Is there anything that can be done to keep from being in that percentage? The cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon is a powerful component that could offer hope and help.
A study published in 2010, proved that this potent component activated an antioxidant response in human colon cells. Antioxidants are important in fighting cancer cells. It was also found to “represent an underappreciated chemo preventive dietary factor targeting colorectal carcinogenesis.”
Cinnamon was also shown in this study to hinder the spreading of various types of tumor cells. Further explanation of cinnamon components could lead to developing alternative medicine for treatment of various cancers.
There are other great health benefits from cinnamon essential oil. It has anti-inflammatory properties that can reduce the symptoms of Arthritis. With its antimicrobial properties, it helps fight off infections that are accompanied by fever, and also protects the body from viral infections like the cold or flu. As an antibacterial, it fights infections such as E. coli and Salmonella.
A few other things cinnamon oil is good for is as an astringent. It’s good for sore throats, diarrhea, and peptic ulcers. And the astringent properties make it good to treat acne, and heal sores. Plus, it also strengthens hair roots.
Ways To Use Cinnamon Essential Oil
AROMATIC / INHALATION
Bacteria free air – add 4 drops each of cinnamon, lemon, clove, eucalyptus, tea tree and rosemary essential oils to a diffuser. The aroma will flow through the house and kill the airborne bacteria. Alternatively, add cinnamon oil by itself in the diffuser and diffuse for an hour or so.
Blood sugar control – add a few drops of cinnamon to a diffuser and inhale the vapors for about 45 minutes. It helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. This will also help alleviate headaches.
To improve concentration – add 2 drops each of cinnamon and rosemary essential oils with 5 drops of lemon essential oil to a diffuser.
For depression – inhale directly from the bottle for about a minute or alternatively, use a personal inhaler to carry all the time. The aroma will sooth the mind.
Improve digestion – Mix 1 to 2 drops of cinnamon essential oil to 1 tablespoon of carrier oil. Massage the oil mixture into the abdomen for 5 minutes, twice daily. This will help relieve intestinal gas and doing this regularly will help relieve inflammation.
Pain relief – Mix 3 drops cinnamon essential oil and 2 tablespoons carrier oil. Massage the mixture on sore muscles, aches or on any painful area. Cinnamon oil is a natural pain reliever. It can also help with joint stiffness, when used regularly.
Hand Sanitizer – Mix 2 drops each of cinnamon, eucalyptus, lemon and rosemary essential oils to 2 tablespoons coconut oil in a small glass jar with a screw lid and use it to moisturize and sanitize hands whenever it is needed.
In face cream – Mix 1 or 2 drops of cinnamon essential oil into face cream. At night before bed, massage a small amount into skin. Massage completely into skin until it’s all absorbed, or wipe off excess with cotton pad. If used regularly, this can reduce the appearance of aging.
When using internally, always make sure the cinnamon essential oil is 100% pure organic and don’t use in excess.
Homemade toothpaste – Mix 1 drop each of cinnamon and peppermint essential oils an 1/8 teaspoon baking soda into 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and brush teeth. It is antimicrobial and antibacterial and will fight plaque.
Sore throat – Stir together 1 drop of cinnamon essential oil, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1/2 teaspoon honey into a cup of hot water. Sip it 3 times a day, morning, afternoon and evening. This will relieve a sore throat and reduce inflammation, but also give a quick boost to the immune system.
Warm cold feet – To warm feet up before bedtime, add 1 drop of cinnamon oil to a cup of hot tea. Drink it about an hour before going to bed. This should also help lower blood pressure and improve heart health by reducing plaque buildup in arteries.
For My Final Thoughts
One last thing I need to mention about cinnamon essential oil, use caution when using it, as it has been known to cause skin sensitivity so it should always be diluted with a carrier oil when using topically. As with any essential oil, do not use it excessively. It can be powerful, so don’t overdo it.
It’s been advised not to use it on children under 3 years of age and pregnant women should avoid using it. It can stimulate menstruation or bleeding, and also for nursing mothers, it can reduce the secretion of milk. It is best in these situations to consult a medical professional before using it. Cinnamon oil may also react to diabetes or anticoagulant medications.
Cinnamon essential oil, no matter what kind (leaf, bark or cassia) can be a great health benefit. If you need to warm your feet or relieve indigestion, this oil may work for you. There are many ways to use it, so why not give it a try? Let me know if you already use it and what you think and if you do try it, I’d like to hear from you, too.
As always, thanks for reading!