Welcome to the Herb of the week! Here you can find short presentations of favorite herbs, common uses and some extra information related to Chinese and Greek herbal medicine.
Our winter herbs could not miss the fragrant, spicy and sweet cinnamon. It is very common to use it daily in cooking but also in decoctions. It is now known that the best quality cinnamon is Ceylon as the most commonly used Indonesian cinnamon can easily be irritative, and in large doses can even be toxic. This is due to their coumarin content. Otherwise, their properties are common, only the quality is completely different. From personal experience, when I started using Ceylon cinnamon I did not use Indonesian cinnamon again.
Let’s take a look at some properties.
The main organs that cinnamon affects on the basis of Traditional Chinese Medicine (T.C.M.) are the spleen, heart, kidneys, and liver.
It is an herb used to tonify yang, move and heat because it eliminates the cold and moves the blood. Its most common use is for the common cold and menstrual cramps. It should be consumed with caution during pregnancy.
In TCM it is used:
- To lead the fire to its source.
- To enhance qi and blood production.
- To eliminate very deep cold and unblock meridians.
- As a painkiller in some cases.
- To warm the kidneys, the spleen, the heart, to strengthen the yang and to stimulate the fire of the mingmen (the gate of life)
In western herbal medicine, it is used in cases of fungal infections such as Candida, to control heart disease as it makes the blood “thinner” and helps better blood circulation, to control blood sugar levels, as well as its action against HIV.
In Chinese herbal medicine, an herb alone is rarely used because it needs to be a yin-yang combination, so since cinnamon is a very hot herb, it is often combined with something colder to make this combination. Or with different herbal movements.
For example, the combination of ginger, cinnamon and cardamom for common colds is very hot because we have to deal with something very cold, and elimination of external factors. But these herbs have different movements and complement each other as well as act in different organs. An example of a hot and cold combination is cinnamon with mint that we use in cases of dysmenorrhea and indigestion.
Ways of consumption are in food, in our well-known sauces, in sweets such as cinnamon rolls, but also in decoctions.
Some common combinations for decoction are
- Cinnamon, clove, cardamom, ginger, mountain tea, citrus fruits peels. A very fragrant combination heats and moves the qi. A very good combination for the common cold. Boil all the herbs together for about 5-7 minutes, turn off the heat and consume lukewarm. If we wish, we add honey.
- Cinnamon, turmeric, black pepper, ginger, allspice or a little chili optional, cardamom, vegetable milk and honey for golden milk. Boil all the ingredients together for about 4-5 minutes, being careful not to swell. Leave the hot drink for about 3-5 minutes and add a spoonful of honey. If one is vegan one can use sweetener of one’s choice. Very hot and spicy drink with anti-inflammatory action. I will upload a recipe soon.
Caution! It is generally a common and safe herb, but should not be consumed by people who do not tolerate heat, have yin deficiency, have blood deficiency, dryness or have frequent sweating. It can cause heartburn if you have tenderness or irritation of the lining of the stomach. May cause cough and irritation of the lungs. Attention when someone is taking medication, ask your doctor about possible contraindications.
All the information provided is informative, if someone has health problems or wants to follow a specific treatment, it is good to refer to an herbalist and even with the supervision of his doctor in cases of prescription medicine. In cases of herbal therapy, an herb is rarely used by itself and is needed to be monitored by a trained herbalist for the right combination.