The Spice that Bites and Kisses

Updated: Jul 17, 2020

I love how the fold of a cinnamon stick looks like a heart

Cinnamon is one of my favorite ingredients, it is both spicy and sharp, yet warm and cozy. Cinnamon has renowned healing powers not only in ancient Indian Ayurvedic treatments but also in ancient Chinese healing methods. It has been used by humans for thousands of years as both a medicine and food additive and a desire for it was the backbone of ancient trade routes and exploration of new lands.

Cinnamomum is an evergreen tree which grows primarily in South East Asia. It has thick bark and berry fruit. During harvesting, the outer bark is cut off a branch and the inner fragrant bark peeled off and dried.

Below is a 2-minute video by Mode Foodie that shows the harvesting process. It will give you a renewed respect for how much human effort it takes to bring you a cinnamon stick.

There are two varieties of cinnamon, "true cinnamon" and "cassia." Cassia is the Chinese cinnamon and is grown in China, Vietnam, and Burma, it is the cheapest and most commonly used in commercial spice products. Most of so-called "true" cinnamon, or Ceylon cinnamon, comes from Sri Lanka.

For more about true Sri Lankan cinnamon, check out local spice shop Curio Spice's excellent Aromatum blog about visiting Sri Lanka and learning to peel cinnamon!

Cinnamon in Skincare

Cinnamon (whether ground or as an essential oil) acts as a stimulant, it increases blood circulation and gives energy but it also has anti-inflammatory properties. To round out these superpowers it also has anti-bacterial, anti-viral, and anti-fungal properties (common with spices grown in hot climates). Beware, however, that some people are allergic to cinnamon, so always spot check first and discontinue if excessive redness or irritation occurs.

Most skincare products use cinnamon for it's anti-inflammatory or anti-bacterial properties, such this recipe for pimple relief:

1 tsp. Cinnamon

2 tsp. Honey