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Veterinarian Reviewed on June 5, 2012 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Uncategorized

Cinnamon Gui Zhi (Ramulus Cinnamomi Cassiae)

Cinnamon is also called Gui Zhi in eastern medicine. It is found to be one of the oldest known used herbs in traditional herbal treatments. It has been noted in Chinese herbal texts that are over four thousand years old. Archeologists have found remains of Cinnamon in burial sites that date as early as 2700 B.C. It was considered more valuable than gold by early European spice traders that brought it back from the Far East.

Origin and Description

Cinnamon spice is harvested from the outer bark of the Cinnamon tree that is found growing in the tropical areas of India, China, Brazil, Caribbean islands and Madagascar. The inner bark and essential oils made from Cinnamon are utilized in the production of many herbal products. It is traditionally sold in small sections of dried bark individually or it can be powdered or crushed. The leaves and the bark of the plant are used to make the actual cinnamon. Cinnamon dates back to around 2700 BC. Back then it was more valuable than gold and was first brought to Europe through commerce and via sea travelers.

Eastern Uses

It is used in eastern medicine in several cases of kidney illnesses. It is thought to balance the ying and yang energy, which is why cinnamon is so commonly used for abdominal pain and for colds. It is also used to cope with polyuria and pains and weaknesses of the back and the knees. Cinnamon is also given to women after they have given birth as a helpful tonic. In addition, cinnamon reduces bodily fluids such as sweating and phlegm due to its yang deficiency. It is used also for palpitations due to the bad flow of yang in the chest.

Western Uses

In western medicine, cinnamon is a cleansing agent that works to fight off bacteria, especially in the teeth. It is also a great antioxidant that can lower cholesterol. Because of its source of trace minerals, calcium and iron, it is taken as a dietary supplement. People that suffer from irritable bowel syndrome also take cinnamon. Individuals that have heart disease and atherosclerosis can also take it as it can eliminate artery damaging free radicals from their blood and can also prevent undesirable clumping of blood platelets. One important feature of cinnamon is that it decreases blood sugar levels so it should be used cautiously in patients that have diabetes.

Side Effects

Cinnamon is a safe herb and it can be taken orally for up to 2 months. Some people may have allergies so they should consult a herbalist or naturopathic doctor before taking supplements with cinnamon. However, side effects are rare. Overdosing on cinnamon can lead to mouth lesions, skin rash and acne. It can also affect the potency of antibiotics. Cinnamon is not recommended to be taken by pregnant women.

Forms of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is available in two forms. It can be bought from a local grocery store in the spice aisle. Forms include cinnamon sticks, powder, capsules, and tea bags and as an ingredient in an herbal remedy or dietary supplement. Cinnamon is regularly used in food and in the making of beverages.

Read also: How to Treat High Blood Pressure

Our Expert

Paulina Nelega, RH
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan

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