Cinnamon oil was once believed to be more precious than gold. Extracted from the bark of the Laurus Cinnamomum tree, cinnamon oil (Cinnamomum verum) contains antioxidant polyphenols and proanthocyanidins.
Cinnamon oil also contains cinnamyl acetate, cinnamyl alcohol, and cinnamaldehyde which provide it with antiviral, antibacterial and anti-fungal properties.
Cinnamon oil is used as a natural remedy for coughs and colds. Cinnamon essential oil also diminishes the feelings of depression, alleviates aches and pains, improves skin health, reduces inflammation and boosts immunity.
What is cinnamon oil?
The cinnamon essential oil is steam distilled from the bark of the cinnamon tree. An essential oil with a rich aroma, cinnamon oil is warming, stimulating and energizing.
This oil is reddish brown and has a slightly oily consistency. Its aroma is peppery, spicy, earthy and somewhat woodsy.
Its major constituents include cinnamaldehyde, eugenol, cinnamyl acetate, linalool, B- caryophyllene and p-cymene.
History of cinnamon essential oil
Cinnamon is amongst the oldest spices known to man. In ancient times, cinnamon was considered a costly and decadent substance.
During Biblical times cinnamon was the ‘choice spice’ and part of the holy anointing oil of Exodus.
Cinnamon was imported around 2000 BCE in Ancient Egypt. During those times the value of cinnamon was considered equivalent or more than gold.
In Egypt cinnamon was used for flavoring, as a medicine and also as an embalming agent.
During the middle ages also Cinnamon was considered a symbol of wealth and high social status.
It was used for medicinal purposes and for concealing the odor of cured meats. Emperor Nero burned a year’s worth of the city’s stock of cinnamon at his wife’s funeral in AD 65.
Cinnamon was also used in Ayurvedic medicine for its antimicrobial properties.
Health benefits of cinnamon oil
1. Boosts immunity
Cinnamon is packed with antioxidant polyphenols and proanthocyanidins which help boost the immune system function. Cinnamon has strong antifungal and antibacterial properties that help boost immunity.
In 2006, 21 essential oils were tested to evaluate their antibacterial activity against six bacterial species. The results showed that cinnamon oil showed promising inhibitory activity even at low concentrations (1).
During another study, researchers investigated the anti-fungus mechanism and curative effects of cinnamon oil towards intestinal candida infections. The results showed that cinnamon oil has strong antifungal effects (2).
Drink a combination of warm lemon water mixed with honey and cinnamon oil. Diffuse cinnamon oil throughout your home. Use this oil as a disinfectant to clean surfaces in the house.
2. Improves heart health
Cinnamon oil also helps to boost heart health in many different ways. It helps lower blood pressure, supports healthy heart muscle, lowers triglyceride levels and raises HDL cholesterol.
According to a 2014 study, cinnamon bark extract and long-term aerobic training helped improve heart performance. The results showed that cinnamon significantly decreased serum levels of total cholesterol and LDL and increased HDL levels (3).
Cinnamon oil helps to maintain a healthy circulation which supports heart health. It is also beneficial for people who have suffered a heart attack or stroke as it helps foster nitric acid.
Cinnamon oil contains anti-inflammatory and anti-platelet compounds that further benefit arterial heart health (4).
Diffuse this oil throughout your home for improved heart health.
Regular use of cinnamon essential oil can control various factors in diabetes. Cinnamon helps in keeping blood sugar levels stable, which prevents fatigue, moodiness, sugar cravings and overeating.
According to a 2003 study, 60 people with type 2 diabetes were given 1, 3 and 6 grams of cinnamon daily for 40 days. The results showed that all three different quantities of cinnamon helped reduce serum glucose, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol levels in people with type 2 diabetes (5).
Specific compounds in cinnamon, which are also present in cinnamon oil like cinnamaldehyde are responsible for reducing blood glucose levels.
According to a 2015 research, cinnamic acid present in cinnamon oil exerts anti-diabetic activity by improving glucose tolerance and stimulating insulin secretion (6).
4. Improves digestive health
Cinnamon oil has been used since ancient times as a remedy for digestive issues like diarrhea, constipation, heartburn, flatulence, nausea and stomach pain.
Cinnamon oil contains eugenol and cinnamaldehyde which protect against ulcers and lesions in the mucosal lining. According to a 2000 study eugenol can reduce the number of ulcers and the gravity of lesions (7).
Mix a few drops of cinnamon bark essential oil with a carrier oil and massage with it on the abdomen. You can also add a few drops to a warm bath.
5. Improves respiratory health
Cinnamon oil may help treat cough, cold, flu, congestion, bronchitis, and sore throat. The antibacterial properties of cinnamon oil help get rid of airborne bacteria.
The anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon oil also help reduce inflammation in the throat and lungs. According to a 2007 study, cinnamon oil has strong antibacterial properties that can be used for treating respiratory tract infections (8).
For respiratory benefits of cinnamon oil diffuse this oil throughout your home. You can add a few drops to a bowl of boiling water and breathe in the vapors.
6. Treats skin conditions
The cinnamon essential oil can calm dry skin, reduce acne, rashes, and infections. It also nourishes the skin which helps improve skin tone and keeps the skin looking young.
According to a 2017 study, cinnamon bark oil can significantly modulate global gene expression and alter signaling pathways that are important in inflammation and tissue remodeling (9).
The anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon oil help treat inflammatory skin conditions like acne and rashes. Cinnamon oil is beneficial for hair health as well.
7. Speeds up your metabolism
According to the University of Michigan Life Sciences Institute, cinnamaldehyde, a major constituent of cinnamon oil, affects metabolism.
Cinnamaldehyde can improve metabolic health by acting directly on fat cells and induces them to start burning energy through a process called thermogenesis (10).
Cinnamon also helps to sweeten the taste of food without adding any sugar, which helps lower calorie consumption. Adding cinnamon oil to food also helps lower the rate at which the glucose is released in the blood.
8. Relieves pain
Cinnamon oil is a natural pain reliever. It alleviates chronic pain, muscle aches, and joint stiffness. A study was conducted in 2016 to compare the effects of cinnamon oil with those of Diclofenac and morphine in mice.
The results showed that pain inhibition of cinnamon oil was similar to Diclofenac but lower than that of Morphine.
9. Aphrodisiac properties
Cinnamon has been used as an aphrodisiac since ancient times. It is said that the queen of Sheba seduced King Solomon with a cinnamon-based oil. Cinnamon is also recommended in Ayurvedic medicine for sexual dysfunction.
According to a 2013 study, cinnamon extracts are useful in the management of sexual dysfunction of rats (11). Cinnamon improves blood supply to the male and female genitals and facilitates sexual arousal.
Since its aroma helps create a relaxed atmosphere, this helps in combating a decreased sexual drive.
10. Improves oral health
Cinnamon oil supports oral health and reduces bacteria that cause gum disease and plaque. In 2011 a comparative study was carried out between cinnamon oil and clove oil on the oral microbiota causing oral carries.
The study found that cinnamon oil was more effective than clove oil as it exhibited a broad spectrum of antibacterial activity while inhibiting all the ten test bacterial species involved in dental caries (12).
Ways to use cinnamon oil
Mix cinnamon oil with a carrier oil like coconut oil or jojoba oil in the ratio of 1:1 before using it topically.
Diffuse a few drops of cinnamon oil using a diffuser.
Apply it to a cloth and inhale it.
The FDA considers cinnamon oil safe for consumption, but you must choose high-quality oil from a reputable source for consumption. Add a drop of cinnamon oil to a glass of water and drink it. You can also add it to your smoothie. Mix it with honey and have it.
You can also mix the cinnamon essential oil with water and put it in a spray bottle. Cinnamon oil acts as a natural disinfecting spray for all household surfaces.
Side effects and precautions
Cinnamon oil is safe to be used topically, aromatically and internally. Cinnamon oil can cause skin irritation when used topically so always dilute it with a carrier oil. Always conduct a patch test before applying it topically over larger areas for the first time.
Avoid the use of cinnamon oil if you are pregnant or breastfeeding. Children should also not be given cinnamon essential oil.
The cinnamon essential oil is extracted through steam distillation of the bark of the cinnamon tree. The major constituents of cinnamon essential oil include cinnamaldehyde, eugenol, cinnamyl acetate, linalool, B- caryophyllene and p-cymene.
These constituents provide cinnamon oil with many health benefits that include better immunity, improved heart health, lower blood sugar levels, pain relief, better oral health, aphrodisiac properties, and weight loss.
You can use cinnamon essential oil internally, topically and aromatically. However, you must ensure that you are using high-quality organic essential oils. Always dilute this oil when you consume it orally and mix it with a carrier oil before you use it topically.