Cinnamon, one of the oldest spices known to humanity, was once viewed as being more valuable than gold. It is not only capable of flavoring our food and drink, it also has great medicinal value. Originating from Sri Lanka, there are now over 100 varieties of the small, bushy tree that gives us the cinnamon leaf oil.
In addition to the cinnamon tree’s distinct white flowers, leathery green leaves, and purple oval berries — it’s papery, pale brown bark rolls into quills. These quills, what we call cinnamon sticks, are harvested every two years. What we normally find in our cabinets is the powdered form of those quills.
From the outer bark of the tree, we get cinnamon bark oil. This oil is a potent and refined perfume quality oil, and thereby too expensive for everyday use. The less expensive cinnamon leaf oil has a musky and spicy scent with a light-yellow tint, very different from the cinnamon bark oil’s reddish-brown hue.
The cinnamon leaf oil is distilled from — you guessed it — the green leathery leaves already mentioned. Packed away in those leaves are properties such as:
- phenols (antioxidants)
- eugenol (giving cinnamon its yellowish color and a natural anesthetic and anti-inflammatory)
- eugenol acetate (has a spicy taste and odor)
- cinnamic aldehyde (giving it its flavor and odor and is also a fungicide)
- linalool (used for its scent and as an insecticide)
- benzyl benzoate (found is medicines and as an insect repellant)
Given the great components listed above and because it is inexpensive, cinnamon leaf oil is often found in hair and beauty products and other items used around the house.
Cinnamon Leaf Oil Uses
- As a disinfectant for various household surfaces.
- As a facial wash or scrub; it can be used to treat
- As a mouthwash when adding a drop or two to a glass of purified water. (Denture wearers can make a solution of water, hydrogen peroxide, and cinnamon leaf oil, for an overnight soak.)
- As a foot soak; just mix a drop of cinnamon leaf oil in a bucket of warm water.
- As an insect repellent; the scent alone repels insects without the harmful chemicals.
- For haircare, add a drop to your shampoo. It’s known to kill head lice.
- Use as a quick pick-me up for mental exhaustion or stress reducer.
- As an antispasmodic to soothe aching muscles and joints. Even helps with arthritis and rheumatism.
- As an anti-viral, it can prevent spreading of colds and ease chest congestion.
Cinnamon is said to help remove blood impurities and assist in increasing blood circulation. This in turn helps the body’s cells receive necessary oxygen and promote metabolic activity and thought to reduce the risk of having a heart attack. Cinnamon leaf oil is reported to destroy germs in the gallbladder and decrease the chance of staph infection.
Please keep in mind, cinnamon leaf oil cannot be handled as the cinnamon we use to spice up our sweet potato pies. No, it is not advised to use cinnamon leaf oil internally without the guidance of a trained medical professional. It has been said that ingesting the oil can lead to irritation in the urinary tract, intestines, and stomach lining. Sounds like nasty business!
Another caution to bear in mind is that cinnamon leaf oil has emmenagogue effects (can induce menstruation). Therefore, pregnant women are advised to avoid its use due to the dangers to the unborn child. Nursing mothers and parents are warned against using the oil on young children as well. Researchers state that it is best to use cinnamon leaf oil in moderation and only when diluted, because it may lead to convulsions in some individuals.
When using cinnamon oil leaf topically, it is always wise to dilute the oil with a carrier oil. Because there is still a chance of skin irritation even when watered down, it is always best to do a skin test to check for any allergic reactions. When encountering any negative reactions, it is best to immediately consult with a healthcare provider.
Given that most individual uses for the cinnamon leaf oil only require 1–2 drops each use, its price point is reasonable and affordable. Below is a recipe for a face wash.
Cinnamon Leaf Oil Face Wash
In a bowl, simply combine:
- 1 T Organic Coconut Carrier Oil
- 3 T Raw Honey
- 1 T Apple Cider Vinegar
- 20 drops Cinnamon Essential Oil
- 2 capsules of live probiotics
Thoroughly mix all ingredients with a hand blender. Pour mixture into a bottle or dispenser. To use, apply cleanser to the face as you would with any face wash and rinse completely. When not in use, store the cleanser in a cool place.