Origin: Cinnamon is an aromatic spice. It is derived from the bark of the Southeast Asian tree. These aromatic barks and leaves are peeled and dried to make this herb. It can also be grounded into a powder. Cinnamon trees usually grow tall up to 66 feet and they produce yellow-green flowers and berry-like fruit. This aromatic herb is used in different cuisines for both sweet and savory items. Cinnamon is a medium brown colored herb. This herb is world famous for its aroma and flavor.
Cinnamon counts as one of the first traded spice in the world. In 2000 BC, this herb was imported to Egypt. Egyptians used to use it for religious and embalming procedures. This herb was often confused with cassia spice. In ancient time, this herb was considered highly valuable and was valued more than gold and was considered as a perfect gift to kings and even to gods. Natively, this herb belongs to Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon), India, Burma and different parts of South America and West Indies.
Arab used to bring this herb through Egypt, Venetian traders used to trade Cinnamon through Italy in Europe, Indonesia traded cinnamon through Cinnamon route to Africa. In around 15thcentury, Portuguese discovered cinnamon in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Then Ceylon was the largest producer of Cinnamon. Portuguese conquered the Ceylon and called it the Kingdom of Kotto. In the 16th century, the Dutch took control over the Portuguese and controlled the cinnamon production. Dutch enjoyed the monopoly of Cinnamon production and its trading. Later, they discovered that cinnamon not only grows in Sri Lanka but also in coastal areas of India, Myanmar, South America, etc. cinnamon also has its reference in the Holy Bible.
Scientifically: Cinnamon is scientifically called Cinnamomum Zeylanicum, it belongs to laurel family of the trees and genus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon is widely categorized in two parts Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon is known as true cinnamon, which is natively produced in Sri Lanka, has a mild and sweeter taste. Cassia cinnamon grows in Indonesia and China. Cassia cinnamon is most commonly used and has strong aroma and flavor.
Usage: Cinnamon is not only known for its aroma and flavor but also for its medicinal benefits. Adding cinnamon to the daily diet helps in taking care of diabetes, indigestion, loss of appetite, etc. Cinnamon is also found to be beneficial in treating Alzheimer's disease. It contains certain compounds which help in dealing with cognitive skills. Cinnamon is also useful in reducing HIV in the body. It’s a great antioxidant spice, which helps in increasing the metabolism and dealing with heavy fat meals. It is also antimicrobial, hence helps in treating wounds. It also helps in reducing the risk of heart diseases. Anyone with liver disease should consume cinnamon in a limited amount.
Cinnamon is one magical herb which is anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, antimicrobial and antifungal.
This herb is not only great for health but also has amazing benefits for the skin.
Below are some cinnamon masks to fight skin issues at home:
- Take a teaspoon of cinnamon powder and 2 tablespoons of honey, mix them well. Apply this thick mask on the face and let it sit for 5- 10 minutes. You may feel a slight tingling on the face. Rinse with cold water. This mask works excellent on acne and moisturizes the skin at the same time. This masks also help in treating eczema.
- Take a few drops of cinnamon oil and massage your face for a few minutes. Add lightly rinse with normal water. This mask helps in making skin supple and adding plump as well. This improves blood circulation on the face.
- For nourished skin, take one ripe banana and a teaspoon of cinnamon powder. Mash and mix them together. Add a few drops of honey to this. Apply this mixture to the face and rinse after 10 minutes. This helps in moisturizing and nourishing the skin.