Cinnamon’s Uses Throughout History


Just a friendly reminder that this information I collect is just that, information I collect. Seriously, don’t consider this post as containing any kind of advice. Before taking any actions based on interesting information here you should speak to a qualified specialist (doctor, dietician, etc..)

On to the fun part!

Comment from reader Eyebee on History of Cinnamon:

Interesting Article. I knew there were good reasons to use cinnamon, but not sure about all of them.

I couldn’t help but smile at the most common type of cinnamon in the US today being Chinese Cinnamon. Don’t most all items in common use in the United States today originate from China?

Well that was just the beginning of uses, because here comes more, much more!


Throughout history cinnamon has seen many uses, and here are several of them from the mundane to the surprising! The dried inner bark, and oils distilled from the bark and leaves has been used for:

  • embalming in Ancient Egypt
  • during the Bubonic Plague in sick rooms soaked in sponges and cloves
  • burned as an incense
  • food spice (meats, game and pastries)
  • beverage flavoring (esp hot drinks)
  • preventing food spoilage
  • reduce blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides in type 2 diabetic patients who are not taking insulin
  • hair rinse for dark hair
  • toothpaste flavoring to freshen breath
  • anti-fungal – prevent and treat fungal infections like athletes foot
  • used in massage oils
  • added to sachets to repel moths (better smelling than moth balls, eh?)
  • uterine stimulant
  • anti-microbial/anti-bacterial actions (against bacteria, and fungi – including Candida)
  • anti-clotting agent
  • simply smelling it can increase brain activity – has been observed to improve scores on tasks related to attention processes, certain types of memory and visual motor speed
  • its calcium and fiber can improve colon health and help protect against heart disease
  • can attract customers to places of business
  • has been prescribed prescribed for treatment of flatulent dyspepsia, constipation, diarrhea, flu, chills, rheumatism, certain menstrual disorders, parasitic worms, dyspepsia with nausea, intestinal colic
  • treat appetite loss and indigestion
  • can relieve nausea and vomiting and infantile diarrhea
  • promote a rosy complexion
  • used at the onset of cold/flu, especially when mixed in tea with fresh ginger
  • may provide sufferers of irritable bowel syndrome with relief from constipation or diarrhea
  • may reduce the risk of colon cancer
  • is a powerful antioxidant – more effectively prevented oxidation when compared to other antioxidant spices (anise, ginger, licorice, nutmeg and vanilla) and the chemical food preservatives (BHA, BHT , and propyl gallate), but not against mint

Well that’s it – amazing, eh?


History of Cinnamon


Cinnamon has an interesting history and a variety of uses including uses as a spice, medicinal uses and even as an embalming agent in ancient Egypt. It emerges into history from the earliest Chinese texts on the subject of botanical medicine about 2700 BC, and more recently in the bible as early as about 1400 BC. Cinnamon, which comes from the bark of a small Southeast Asian evergreen tree, was treasured more than gold during some times in history. Cinnamon (also true cinnamon or Ceylon Cinnamon) comes from Brazil, the Caribbean, India, Madagascar, and Sri-Lanka; while more common Cassia (Chinese cinnamon) is found in China, Indonesia and Vietnam. The most common cinnamon in the US today is Cassia, or Chinese Cinnamon.

The ancient “cinnamon trade” ran from East Asia and India to the rest of West Asia and later Africa, and Europe. Its trade has made many people and even empires & republics rich – some have flourished while others met their demise. Eventually the Crusades exposed cinnamon to Europeans even more and demand increased.

Cinnamon’s Uses Throughout History: Cinnamon has been used to prevent food spoilage, treat illnesses, flavor food, freshen breath and more.