Cinnamon essential oil is one of the most versatile essential oils. Cinnamon is a sweet spice relished all over the world. It is also used as an herbal tea. Cinnamon is also used to extract an essential oil which has its exact sweet, pervading aroma which is very soothing. Cinnamon essential oil has a plethora of health benefits and healing properties.
(Photo Courtesy : Wikipedia )
The source of cinnamon essential oil is the sweet spice Cinnamomum verum ( also zeylanicum ). This is known as true cinnamon. There is another cheaper variety of cinnamon powder that we get from trees in the genus Cassia. This cheap cinnamon comes from China, while true cinnamon grows in many parts of the tropical world, notably in Sri Lanka and India. Although Cassia cinnamon is also used to extract essential oil, the one from true cinnamon is the one which possesses wonderful health benefits. There are two kinds of essential oils derived from this tree.
(Photo Courtesy : steenbergs )
- Cinnamon Leaf Essential Oil – This one is steam distilled from the leaves of cinnamon. This is yellowish in color.
- Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil – This is steam distilled from the bark of cinnamon. It is slightly reddish in color with a hint of brown.
Both of these essential oils have some differences in their chemical composition, obviously because they come from different parts of the same plant. However, their health benefits can be quite similar. Production The essential oil can be obtained through steam distillation. This yields organic essential oil which is pure. There are other methods of extracting essential oil, like through solvent extraction which may yield a higher oil extraction percentage. This is more economical for the manufacturer but it is not organic. As a result, it may not provide all the health benefits to such a degree as the pure, organic essential oil.
(Photo Courtesy : L. shyamal )
Cinnamon is known by other names like dal chini, kayu manis, cannella.
Blends Well With
Cinnamon essential oil blends well with clove, nutmeg, ylang-ylang and grapefruit essential oils. It forms a nice combination with the cooling peppermint essential oil. It acts as a fixative and can prolong the aroma of essential oils like rose, lavender, lemon, lime, orange and other citrus essential oils.
Cinnamon essential oil exerts many therapeutic properties.
- Antibacterial – Cinnamon essential oil is used in aromatherapy blends to get rid of airborne bacteria. It thus prevents many respiratory tract infections.
- Astringent – When applied to the skin, it shrinks and pulls the skin, making it tight and firm.
- Antioxidant – It is a moderate antioxidant capacity essential oil.
- Antihelminthic – It is used to get rid of intestinal worms.
- Anti-infection – It prevents infections of the urinary tract.
- Antiseptic – It reduces the risk of septic in wounds.
- Enhancer – It enhances the property of another oil or compound mixed with it.
- Immunostimulant – It stimulates the immune system to work better.
- Insect repellent – The leaf essential oil is used in aromatherapy to drive away mosquitoes.
- Detoxifying Agent – Its volatile compounds initiate a detoxifying response in the body.
- Anti-inflammatory – It is anti-inflammatory in nature.
- Carminative – It aids the expulsion of stored intestinal gas. This was it alleviates bloating.
- Emmenagogue – It facilitates proper menstruation and relieves menstrual pain to some extent.
- Analgesic – It is a pain reliever, naturally.
- Anti-rheumatic – It is a mild anti-rheumatic agent. It is used in formulations to soothe rheumatoid arthritis pain.
- Expectorant – It expels phlegm from the lungs and throat.
- Digestive – It aids digestion and alleviates upset stomach and mild stomach ache.
- Antifungal – Cinnamon essential oil is a powerful antifungal. It is used to kill mold causing fungi. 
- Stomachic – It tones the stomach and boosts the appetite.
- Antidepressant – It alleviates negative thoughts and depression.
- Hypoglycemic – It lowers blood glucose and is helpful in diabetes. 
- Galactagogue – Promotes production of mother’s milk.
Color and Aroma
Cinnamon leaf essential oil has a yellowish color while the bark essential oil has a reddish tinge. They are light but highly aromatic oils. Cinnamon essential oil has a spicy aroma which is warming to the senses.
Cinnamon essential oil has powerful health benefits. It is also a regular in aromatherapy.
1. Pain Relief
Cinnamon essential oil is a natural pain reliever. It is used to alleviate muscle pains, aches, chronic pain and joint stiffness. Take 3 drops of cinnamon essential oil and add 2 tablespoon of carrier oil, like olive oil. Dilute in this ratio. Massage this oil on the painful area. Avoid using it on sensitive skin areas. Regular massage with cinnamon essential oil reduces inflammation and provides quick relief from stiffness. One can use it to get rid of regular body pains that occur when we stress our body and work long hours. One can use it to relieve pain caused by muscle knots ( myofascial pain ) and lower back pain.
2. Breathe Bacteria Free Air
Cinnamon essential oil is used in aromatherapy to clean the air off airborne bacteria. When used in combination with other strong antibacterial agents like essential oils of lemon, clove, eucalyptus, tea tree and rosemary, it kills almost 99 % of the airborne bacteria circulating with the air within a dozen minutes. This is incredibly fast. For this health benefit, add 4 drops of each essential oil to a vaporizer and let their combined aroma pervade the house.
(Photo Courtesy : kjcs )
Cinnamon essential oil is used with other anti-rheumatic essential oils to make massage oils for relief from arthritis. Add 4 – 5 drops of cinnamon essential oil in a base oil like mustard oil. Warm the oil gently. Now massage the painful joint with this oil combination. Regular massage once a day provides quick relief from arthritis.
The aroma of cinnamon essential oil is warming and uplifting to the senses. Inhale directly from the vial of cinnamon essential oil for about 1 minute. Its warming aroma soothes the mind and helps one overcome negative feelings.
Add 1 drop of cinnamon essential oil to food after it is cooked. One good way to use it is to mix this one drop in salad. Consuming just 1 drop of cinnamon essential oil provides nutrients from cinnamon. It helps to lower blood glucose levels and has a stimulating effect on the pancreas. Cinammon essential oil from the bark contains cinnamaldehyde which exerts this strong blood glucose lowering effect.
Massaging cinnamon essential oil on the feet and legs is very helpful in diabetic neuropathy. It reduces the tingling sensation and burning pain caused by neuropathy.
6. Protects Kidneys
Cinnamon essential oil has a protective effect on the kidneys. It has been found to prevent the kidneys from damage induced by alloxan. Similarly, it can protect the kidneys from damage by environmental toxins and reduce its workload.
7. Improving Digestive Health
Dilute cinnamon essential oil in a base oil of olive. Massage this oil on the abdomen. Continue this massage for about 5 minutes. This tones the digestive system and helps to expel excess intestinal gas. It relieves bloating and abdominal distension. This massage when done regularly can also help in inflammatory conditions of the colon and small intestine, like diverticulitis and colitis.
8. Urinary Tract Infections
Women are especially prone to infections in the urino-genital tract, although it affects men too. These infections are generally bacterial or fungal. They can be treated by taking a warm water sitz bath with essential oils in it. Use essential oils like cinnamon, eucalyptus and tea tree essential oil. Add 10 – 15 drops in this water bath. It provides quick relief from UTI and other infections in a few applications.
Cinnamon leaf oil has a high amount of eugenol, a compound which is found in high amounts in clove essential oil. It is because of this chemical compound that clove oil provides instant relief from toothache. If you do not have clove oil at hand, use cinnamon oil instead. Put a few drops on a cotton ball and place it between the teeth above the tooth that is paining.
10. Irregular Menstruation
Cinnamon essential oil is quite helpful in conditions that come with menstruation. It prevents menstrual cramps and also prevents irregular menstruation. It belongs to a group of substances that are emmenagogue. These substances promote timely menstruation.
11. Immune System Booster
Cinnamon essential oil boosts the functioning of our immune system. Our bodies are then more capable to deal with minor and major infections and diseases. It can even prevent auto-immune conditions in which the immune system of the body itself leads to the disease, like lupus.
12. Other Health Benefits
Cinnamon essential oil used in aromatherapy provides many other health benefits as well. It reduces inflammation in the nasal passage. Its immune boosting effect makes one recover faster from colds and flu. Its warming effect is good for someone who has spent many hours in the cold.
Besides its use in home remedies for health conditions, it is also used in many industries.
- Mosquito Larvae Killer – Cinnamon essential oil is powerful at killing mosquito larvae.
- Perfumes – It is used in making scented products and perfumes.
- Mold – It is used to kill fungus species that form mold in houses and on food products.
Side Effects, Safe Dosage and Toxicity Issues
Cinnamon leaf oil is generally considered safe. Cinnamon bark oil is somewhat toxic and sensitizing. Therefore one should use it with caution. Both of these essential oils should be diluted before use in most purposes. In some people, it can cause an allergic reaction or contact dermatitis.
Cinnamon and its products interact with antidiabetic medication. So, this should be taken note of.
Nutritional and Medicinal Information
Let us look at the nutrition facts of cinnamon essential oil. An essential oil contains volatile organic compounds which provide many health benefits.
Chemical composition and Nutritional Profile of Cinnamon Bark essential oil.
|α – Copaene||0.8 %|
|δ – Cadinene||0.9 %|
|α – Amorphene||0.5 %|
Source : 5
We see that almost all of cinnamon bark essential oil is made up of cinnamaldehyde. This is the compound which lends cinnamon its aroma. Cinnamaldehyde is the nutrient behind much of the health benefits of cinnamon bark essential oil. It is yellowish in color and is used to impart cinnamon flavor to food products. It is used as an antibacterial in mouthwash and some dental care products . It is also being studied for its efficacy in preventing melanoma.
Chemical composition and Nutritional Profile of Cinnamon Leaf essential oil
|α – Phellandrene||1.9 %|
|β – Caryophyllene||1.9 %|
|α – Thujene||0.1 %|
|α – Pinene||0.5 %|
|p – Cymene||0.7 %|
Source : 5
Cinnamon leaf essential oil is rich in eugenol. This compound is used as an anesthetic in dentistry and to flavor food products. In large dosage, it is hepatotoxic. So, one should be careful while using cinnamon leaf essential oil for long periods of time.
Cinnamon essential oil is a mild antioxidant when compared with other essential oil. It has an ORAC value of 10,340 μ TE / 100 gm. Since we use only a few drops of essential oil each time, the resultant antioxidant power left in the mixture is quite less.
Buying and Storage
While purchasing cinnamon essential oil, one should make sure that the essential oil is extracted from the right Cinnamon species and that it is not adulterated with cassia oil. 100 % pure cinnamon essential oil is expensive. It should be kept in a cool place and definitely air tight.
1. Antimicrobial activity of cinnamon and clove oils under modified atmosphere conditions. N. Matan et. al.. International Journal of Food Microbiology.
2. Chemical Composition and Mosquito Larvicidal Activity of Essential Oils from Leaves of Different Cinnamomum osmophloeum Provenances. Sen-Sung Cheng et. al.J. Agric. Food Chem., 2004, 52 (14), pp 4395–4400
3. Cinnamon bark oil, a potent fungitoxicant against fungi causing respiratory tract mycoses. H. B. Singh et. al.Allergy.
4. Ameliorative Effect of the Cinnamon Oil from Cinnamomum zeylanicum upon Early Stage Diabetic Nephropathy. Awanish Mishra et. al. Georg Thieme Verlag KG Stuttgart · New York
5. A comparison of chemical, antioxidant and antimicrobial studies of cinnamon leaf and bark volatile oils, oleoresins and their constituents. Gurdip Singh et. al. Food and Chemical Toxicology.
6. Popular Chewing Gum Eliminates Bacteria That Cause Bad Breath. Science Daily.
7. The cinnamon-derived Michael acceptor cinnamic aldehyde impairs melanoma cell proliferation, invasiveness, and tumor growth. Free Radic. Biol. Med. Cabello CM et. al.