Cinnamon’s sweet, spicy flavor is popular in pastries, curries, and lattes worldwide—but did you know that the plant’s therapeutic properties have been lauded in Ayurveda for thousands of years?
Cinnamomum verum, or “true cinnamon,” is a bushy, tropical evergreen tree that’s native to India and Sri Lanka. Like bamboo, cinnamon is a wonderfully sustainable plant. Forests of cinnamon grow naturally and do not require agrochemicals. Regionally, cinnamon is often called the “grass of Kerinci,” because it grows back almost immediately after being cut.
In Ayurveda, the fragrant bark of the cinnamon tree is often used to enhance the bioavailability of other ingredients in traditional formulas; you’ll find it in many of our synergistic formulas. Cinnamon can also be used on its own for therapeutic value, whether in teas, churnas (spice mixtures), tablets, or via an aromatherapy diffuser.
Let’s explore some of cinnamon’s chief Ayurvedic uses.
1. It stokes digestive fires
A warming spice with sweet, pungent, and bitter flavors, cinnamon is excellent at revving up the digestion. Because of its warming properties, it’s pacifying for Kapha and good for balancing Vata as well. Pitta types can consume cinnamon, too, but in relatively smaller quantities.
In Ayurveda, cinnamon is used in a variety of different ways to balance digestion and pacify the stomach. For a little digestion boost, you can sprinkle ground cinnamon powder on rice and vegetables, combining it with complementary spices like ginger, cloves, black pepper, saffron, and nutmeg. It’s also delicious in smoothies (think coconut-vanilla), nut milkshakes, and desserts like pies and rice pudding. For your convenience, our Kapha Churna and Vata Churna spice mixtures contain cinnamon and other warming spices, as well as each of the six Ayurvedic tastes.
If you’d like a little more of a digestive boost, try our Organic Cinnamon tablets. Pure cinnamon taken in this form helps detox the GI tract while strengthening your digestion, improving absorption, and helping to keep your blood sugar levels healthy. Cinnamon is also an ingredient in our Herbal Di-Gest and Flora Tone formulas.
2. It helps clear respiratory passages
There’s a reason cinnamon is so popular in cool weather! Its warming properties comfort, soothe, and help clear out the airways. Cinnamon can be combined with other warming botanicals like ginger and pepper and boiled into an herbal tea when you’re feeling under the weather.
You’ll also find cinnamon in many traditional formulas that are designed to promote clear respiratory passages, such as Chyawanprash (a powerful respiratory tonic), Clear Breathe (an invigorating aroma blend), Clear Throat (a throat syrup that’s rich in antioxidants), and our Sniffle Free Aroma.
3. It promotes healthy circulation & joints
Joint discomfort can sometimes be caused by the accumulation of ama (digestive impurities) around the joints. Because cinnamon strengthens digestion and absorption, it can help prevent ama from accumulating in the first place. It’s also very stimulating and helps promote healthy circulation.
Cinnamon—an Ayurvedic all-star
You might be surprised to learn that cinnamon is an important ingredient in many more traditional Ayurvedic preparations of all kinds. A quick search for the word “cinnamon” on this site will reveal that the botanical is an ingredient in lots of formulas, ranging from Mind Plus to Deep Rest and Amrit Nectar Paste. So the next time you’re savoring a bowl of rice pudding or sipping warm milk with cinnamon, remember the many health benefits you’re reaping!