Cinnamon leaf oil (Cinnamomum verum)
Cinnamon leaf oil comes from Cinnamonum verum (also called Laurus cinnamomum) from the Laurel (Lauraceae) plant family. This small and bushy evergreen tree is native to Sri Lanka, but now grows in many countries such as India, China, Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Indonesia. There are actually over 100 varieties of C. verum, with Cinnamonum zeylanicum (Ceylon cinnamon) and Cinnamomun aromaticum (Chinese cinnamon) as the most consumed.
Cinnamon bark oil is extracted from the outer bark of the tree, resulting in a potent, perfume-quality essential oil. Cinnamon bark oil is extremely refined and therefore very expensive for everyday use, which is why many people settle for cinnamon leaf oil, as it’s lighter, cheaper, and ideal for regular use. Cinnamon leaf oil has a musky and spicy scent, and a light yellow tinge that distinguishes it from the red-brown color of cinnamon bark oil.
Composition of Cinnamon Leaf Oil
The oil extracted from cinnamon leaves contain phenols and beneficial components like eugenol, eugenol acetate, cinnamic aldehyde, linalool, and benzyl benzoate. It also has low levels of cinnamaldehyde, an excellent flavoring agent and the active component that helps repel mosquitoes and other insects. The leaf oil has a higher eugenol content then the bark oil, which increases its analgesic properties.
Blends Well With
Benzoin, bergamot, cardamom, clove, frankincense, ginger, grapefruit, lemon, mandarin, marjoram, nutmeg, orange, peppermint, peru balsam, petitgrain, rose, vanilla, ylang ylang
Blending: This oil blends well with various essential oils, so it is added to many aromatherapy preparations. It enhances the effectiveness of other herbs and essential oils, thus speeding up the treatment of various herbal remedies. Furthermore, many herbs can have an unpleasant taste. Cinnamon or cinnamon oil is often added to herbal preparations to make them taste better.
Benefits of Cinnamon Leaf Oil
The health benefits of cinnamon can be attributed to its antibacterial, antifungal, antimicrobial, astringent and anticlotting properties. The spice is rich in essential minerals such as manganese, iron, and calcium, while also having a high content of fiber.
Cinnamon boosts the activity of the brain and makes it a great tonic. It helps to remove nervous tension and memory loss. Research at the Wheeling Jesuit University in the United States has proved that the scent of the spice has the ability to boost brain activity. The team of researchers, led by Dr. P. Zoladz, found that people who were given cinnamon improved their scores on cognitive activities such as attention span, virtual recognition memory, working memory, and visual-motor response speed.
Cinnamon leaf oil can work wonders as a quick pick-me-up or stress buster after a long and tiring day, or if you want to soothe your aching muscles and joints. This oil has a warm and antispasmodic effect on your body that helps ease muscular aches, sprains, rheumatism, and arthritis. It’s also a tonic that assists in reducing drowsiness and gives you an energy boost if you’re physically and mentally exhausted.
Due to its antifungal, antibacterial, antiviral, and antiseptic properties, it is effective for treating external as well as internal infections. Cinnamon leaf oil offers benefits against viral infections, such as coughs and colds, and helps prevent them from spreading. It even aids in destroying germs in your gallbladder and bacteria that cause staph infections. When diffused using a vaporizer or burner, cinnamon leaf oil can help ease chest congestion and bronchitis.
Cinnamon can also help remove blood impurities and even aid in improving blood circulation. This helps ensure that your body’s cells receive adequate oxygen supply, which not only assists in promoting metabolic activity but also helps reduce your risk of suffering from a heart attack.
Cinnamon helps to improve the circulation of blood due to the presence of a blood thinning compound in it. This blood circulation helps to significantly reduce pain. Good blood circulation ensures oxygen supply to the body’s cells, which leads to higher metabolic activity. You can significantly reduce the chance of suffering from a heart attack by regularly consuming it.
Cinnamon leaf oil has gastric benefits as well, mainly because of its eugenol content. It works well for helping alleviate nausea, upset stomach, and diarrhea. It also works as an antibacterial agent that can promote good digestion. Research suggests that cinnamon may help to reduce effects of a high-fat diet. It is very effective against indigestion, nausea, vomiting, upset stomach, diarrhea, and flatulence. Due to its carminative properties, it is very helpful in eliminating excess gas from the stomach and intestines. It also removes acidity and reduces the effects of morning sickness. It is, therefore, often referred to as a digestive tonic.
Cinnamon has the ability to control blood sugar, so diabetics find it very useful because it aids them in using less insulin. Research has shown that it is particularly helpful for patients suffering from type 2 diabetes. Type 2 diabetes patients are not able to regulate their insulin levels properly. Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture’s Human Nutrition Research Center in Beltsville, Maryland studied the effect of various food substances that include cinnamon on blood sugar levels. They found that a water-soluble polyphenol compound called MHCP, which is abundant in cinnamon, synergistically acted with insulin and helped in the better utilization of this vital component of human health.
Cinnamon is also an anti-inflammatory substance, so it helps in removing stiffness of the muscles and joints. It is also recommended for arthritis and is known to help in removing headaches caused by cold.
It is believed that the calcium and fiber present in cinnamon provide protection against heart diseases. By including a little of this spice in your food, you can help prevent coronary artery disease and high blood pressure.
Cinnamon is diuretic in nature and helps in the secretion and discharge of urine. It is commonly used as an aphrodisiac and is believed to arouse sexual desire in men and women.
Cinnamon oil is a great mosquito repellent. Research has now proved that it is very effective in killing mosquito larvae. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry (a renowned scientific journal) has reported on a research conducted at the National Taiwan University. Apart from the leaves of cinnamon, its bark is also a good source of cinnamaldehyde, which is an active mosquito-killing agent. This research has paved the way for finding an environmentally safe solution for solving the global menace and disease-spreading capacity of mosquitoes.
Uses of Cinnamon Leaf Oil
Cinnamon leaf oil can be used as an additive in soaps and a flavoring to seasonings. When used in aromatherapy – diffused, applied topically (I recommend diluting with a mild essential oil or mixing in your favorite cream, lotion, or shampoo), or added to your bath water – it can have health-promoting effects. Here are some ways to use cinnamon leaf oil for your health and around your home:
Use it as a disinfectant. With its strong germicidal properties, cinnamon leaf oil works as a non-toxic natural disinfectant. Use it to clean your toilets, refrigerator, kitchen counters and other surfaces, door knobs, microwave, and sneakers. You can even use it to clean and disinfect your chopping boards.
Make a facial scrub. Mix it with cinnamon sugar, orange juice, and olive oil to create a rejuvenating scrub that has antiseptic properties to help kill facial bacteria effectively.
Gargle as a mouthwash. Add a drop or two to a glass of purified water, and gargle with it. For people with dentures, simply make a solution of water, hydrogen peroxide, and cinnamon leaf oil, and soak your dentures in it.
Add it to your foot soak. Mix a drop of cinnamon leaf oil in a bucket of warm water, and then soak your feet in it. This works great for athletes and people who wear closed shoes for most of the day.
Use cinnamon leaf oil as an insect repellent. Did you know that the scent of cinnamon leaf oil can deter pesky household insects, such as black ants, mosquitoes, roaches, and flies? Studies found that it may even be more effective at repelling mosquitoes than the toxic chemical DEET. Simply spray or diffuse the oil around your home. You can also spray it over your mattresses and sheets to get rid of bed bugs.
Add it to your shampoo. Add a drop of cinnamon leaf oil to your regular non-chemical shampoo. This will help keep your hair healthy and, in children, help kill stubborn head lice.
Instead of fabric softener. Add a few drops of the oil to wool laundry drying balls. As the balls mingle and fluff damp fabric in the dryer, the scent is transferred. I love adding essential oils when laundering bedding or towels.
Warmer diffusion. Mix a tablespoon of pure coconut oil with two to three drops of cinnamon essential oil, and place it in a wax warmer. As the coconut oil melts, the essential oil scent is released into the air.
Clean better. Place a few drops of cinnamon oil in a homemade cleanser. As you wipe down surfaces, the oil leaves behind a nontoxic scent that some studies claim may help reduce bacteria growth. You can read these and decide for yourself in Public Library of Science (PLoS) ONE and Food Control.
Relax in the bath. Place a few drops of oil in your bath water. As you soak, the aroma fills your bathroom and creates a calm feeling.
Sleep Better. Put one drop of cinnamon essential oil on the back of your pillowcase to promote restful sleep.
Mix a drop or two of cinnamon oil into massage oil before indulging.
Side Effects of Cinnamon Leaf Oil
Use cinnamon oil in moderation and properly diluted, as high dosages may lead to convulsions in some individuals. This oil may also lead to side effects such as skin irritation, mouth sores, dizziness, vomiting, and diarrhea. It may irritate your urinary tract, intestines, and stomach lining, if taken internally. If these symptoms occur, consult a healthcare practitioner immediately.
Very high quantities of cassia cinnamon may be toxic, particularly in people with liver problems. Because cinnamon may lower blood sugar, people with diabetes may need to adjust their treatment if they use cinnamon supplements. An ingredient in some cinnamon products, coumarin, may cause liver problems; but the amount of this compound ingested is usually so small that this wouldn’t happen for most people.
If you take any medication regularly, talk to your doctor before you start using cinnamon supplements. They could interact with antibiotics, diabetes drugs, blood thinners, heart medicines, and others.
Word of Caution: Being strong in nature, cinnamon oil should be avoided for internal consumption. Furthermore, it can have adverse effects on the skin if used topically in concentrated form. Therefore, it should be used in diluted form. Before using the oil, it should be tested to make sure it suits your skin. You should apply only a small quantity of the oil initially and check if you develop an allergic reaction. Do not apply the oil to the face and other sensitive areas.