Bath: inappropriate and prohibited
Inhalation or Diffusion: inappropriate and prohibited
Applied to the skin or through massage: inappropriate and prohibited
Do not use pure, always combined with other essential oils.
"True" cinnamon is an evergreen tree which may reach fifteen meters.
Native of Sri Lanka, it is a member of the Laureaceae family. Its leaves are long and shiny; its small round flowers give dark blue berries.
Cinnamon, with myrrh, is one of the spices that the Book of Kings reserves for the perfume of the Great Priest and the Ark. The Lord says: "Take eight hundred shekels of cinnamon. You will prepare a holy anointing oil, a fragrant mixture as the one the perfume makers composes. "Cinnamon came from India, where the Greeks had founded a factory, not far from the actual city of Karachi. The bark from young cinnamon tree shoots were removed every two years. It curled on itself on drying, forming cylinders. The spice was exported in chips, powder or small canes, which gave the tree its French name. "A root and leave which are highly prized in India. They have a burning taste and a superb smell. The rest of the plant is useless", wrote Pliny in his Natural history. The Greeks and Romans mainly used it as an aphrodisiac and incidentally as a disinfectant. Like many spices, cinnamon appears in France with the returning crusaders. It perfumes, along with ginger, the sweet wine called "Hypocras". In cooking, its delicate, spicy and sweet flavour is found in numerous recipes, from gingerbread to rice pudding.
Cultivation and production
The tree was only cultivated from the 13th century onwards. Only Sri Lanka and Madagascar produce Cinnamomum zeylanicum or Cinnamomum verum.
The odour of cinnamon bark is unique, warm, spicy and sweet at the same time, penetrating and powerful with a light "burnt" note.
Extraction and yield
The bark, harvested during the rainy season, yields 0.4% to 1.7% of essential oil by water distillation, i.e. four hundred grams to a seventeen hundred grams per hundred kilograms of plant.
The composition of essential oil of cinnamon bark is complex. Its principal components are cinnamic aldehyde (72% to 80%) and eugenol (approximately 10%), the proportion reverses in the case of essential oil extracted from leaves and not bark.
Essential oil of cinnamon bark is an antiseptic, antiviral and antibacterial agent with a wide action spectrum. It kills even micro-organisms that are resistant to antibiotics. It is used against all infections, be they respiratory (bronchitis, cold, flu), intestinal (gastroenteritis or traveller's diarrhoea contracted while travelling in a warm country), urinary (cystitis) or gynaecological. It stimulates cardiac and respiratory functions. It is a good physical and psychical tonic. Cinnamon powder is in the fourth position of antioxidant rich foods.
Excerpts from the book « Aromatherapia – Tout sur les huiles essentielles », by Isabelle Pacchioni. Aroma Thera Editions.