Almost everyone associates cinnamon with a pleasant fragrance and a unique taste. While most people link the spice in powdered and stick form to festive holiday dishes and scents, cinnamon oil has dozens of beneficial uses.
What is Cinnamon Oil?
It’s an essential oil. These oils are concentrated substances extracted from plant roots, seeds, blossoms or leaves. People have their favorites among these oils because of their respective medicinal properties, how they serve as household helpers or their pleasant scents.
Cinnamon sticks and powder come from the plant’s bark. Producers extract cinnamon oil from the leaves, and sometimes the bark as well. Oil from the plant, which grows most abundantly in India and Sri Lanka, has dozens of uses. Here are five of the most important uses beyond those related to cooking.
1. Treating Infection
Cinnamon oil, a powerful antioxidant, has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Diluted with water, it forms a very palatable mouthwash to treat thrush or mouth sores.
Some naturopaths suggest adding a few drops of the oil to a glass of water and drinking the mixture to fight internal infections. A more common use is applying diluted oil topically to remedy infections and other skin problems. However, it’s important to check with a doctor before treating any infection.
2. Fighting Inflammation
Cinnamon has a long history of fighting inflammation. Research findings published in 2010 reported that an analysis of cinnamon oil by chromatography-mass spectrometry found that this natural substance could be very useful for treating inflammation.
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties and its ability to generate heat, when applied topically, the oil reduces the symptoms of arthritis. One easy way to apply it is diluting it in a lotion or cream, then rubbing it onto the joints. Another is applying it with a towel or bandage wrapped around the affected joint. A third option for relief from arthritis aches is soaking in a tub full of water that contains a few drops of the oil.
Who doesn’t love the scent of cinnamon? This oil is a popular choice in aromatherapy because of its restorative properties. It has the unique ability to simultaneously calm and energize.
Using essential oils for therapeutic purposes like aromatherapy has occurred for around 6,000 years. This type of therapy started gaining popularity in the United States in the 1980s and currently includes the use of many lotions, candles and fragrances that target smell receptors in the nose.
Many aromatherapists have found the molecules of this essential oil help promote emotional and mental health, including warding off symptoms of depression in certain patients. These days, the principles of aromatherapy have been included in many household products, including oils in soaps, detergents, candles and air fresheners.
4. Fighting Insects
One reason cinnamon oil is becoming popular as an insecticide is its environmentally friendly properties. Sprayed, it can kill mosquito larvae without the harmful effects of toxic chemicals. This oil can also effectively repel fleas, ticks, ants, lice and other insects. It serves as a repellent when diluted with water and sprayed on clothing to skin, taking care to avoid the mouth and eye areas and testing on cloth first.
One way to avoid a separate application of sunscreen before going outdoors is adding a few drops of cinnamon oil to the sun protection product.
People have reported success using cinnamon oil for many types of healing. Among the most common are treating fungus, preventing colds and reducing levels of blood sugar and blood pressure. Some believe the oil supports the immune system, improves appetite and serves as an antispasmodic for digestive problems such as nausea and spasming.
While cinnamon oil has many practical uses, you should never apply it at full strength to your skin or to nasal membranes. Be sure to check with your healthcare provider before using it topically and test a diluted version on a small patch of skin for any unusual reactions. Individuals undergoing chemotherapy should also seek the advice of a physician before using cinnamon oil, and those who are pregnant should avoid it.