Cinnamon, known as cinnamonum zeylanicum, is one of the oldest spices known to man. Used as a common household spice, it is also an herb known for its great healing vitality. Cinnamon is made from the bark of a tree that originated in Ceylon, and is now indigenous to India, Indonesia, Egypt, Vietnam and Brazil. The active ingredient is cinnamonaldehyde, which is an oil that comes from the bark. The common form of cinnamon is called Cassia cinnamon. A sweeter form of cinnamon, called Ceylon cinnamon, or true cinnamon, is lighter colored and is more expensive. Cinnamon gets its name from the Hebrew word, “amomon,” which means fragrant spice, whereas the Italians call it “cannella” which translates into tube–the shape that the bark curls into when dried.

Traditional Chinese medicine used cinnamon to treat colds, digestive difficulties, nausea, diarrhea and painful menses. It was written about in Chinese medical journals as far back as 2,800 BC. Constitutionally, it is used for people with cold feet and hot upper bodies and known by the Chinese name “kwai.”

HealthNews.com; August 7, 2009
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