Cinnamon Bark Oil Guide - Benefits, Properties, Characteristics & Composition
 

 

Cinnamon is a widely popular spices found in almost every kitchen around the world. Cinnamon bark oil, which is extracted from bark of cinnamon tree, not only has a captivating aroma but also has a number of health benefits including controlling blood sugar levels and boosting heart health.

Read on to learn about characteristics, composition, properties, benefits and usages of cinnamon bark essential oil.

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Synonyms

The botanical name of cinnamon is Cinnamomum verum. Other names of cinnamon are Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Laurus cinnamomum, Ceylon cinnamon, Seychelles cinnamon and true cinnamon among others.

Please note that a number of species are sold as cinnamon in the market. Some of them them are Cassia or Chinese cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia), Indonesian Cinnamon (C. burmannii), Saigon cinnamon or Vietnamese cassia (C. loureiroi).

This guide is about True Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum). In case of cinnamon also, 3 different types of oil may be distilled using different plant parts. 1. Bark, 2. Leaf and 3. Root Bark.

First two cinnamon oil are popular and well known. The main difference is in between their composition. Cinnamon bark oil contains up to 70% cinnamaldehyde, whereas the oil of the root bark consists mainly of camphor and linalool, and the leaves produce oils with eugenol as main compound.

Cinnamon

Cinnamon belongs to Lauraceae family and is a tropical evergreen tree. It grows upto a height of 10-15 meters. Cinnamon tree has shiny green, leathery, ovate-oblong shape leaves, panicles arranged small white flowers and oval bluish-white berries.

The bark of the tree is papery pale brown and is thick scabrous. The inner bark of the new shoots from the cinnamon tree are gathered every two years and sold in the form of sticks for use as a domestic spice.

True Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka and is grown in Madagascar, Sri Lanka and India.

China, Indonesia and Indochina are largest producer of other varieties – Cassia, Vietnamese or Saigon cinnamon and Indonesian cinnamon – of cinnamon.

History of Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been used for thousands of years, especially in Eastern civilisation. In addition to its culinary uses, in Ayurvedic medicine cinnamon is considered a remedy for respiratory, digestive and gynaecological ailments. [1]

Cinnamon was a widely sough after commodity during ancient trade periods and was considered as valuable as gold. Cinnamon was such an important trade commodity that its source was kept mysterious in the Mediterranean world for centuries by those in the spice trade to protect their monopoly as suppliers.

In ancient Egypt, cinnamon was valued for its multi purpose usages including medicine, flavouring agent and for embalming. The Egyptians used it for foot massage as well as to remedy excessive bile. It was used as a main ingredient in mulled wines and love potions, and as a sedative during birth. Cinnamon oil was also used in temples as incense.

The earliest reference of cinnamon in Greek world is found in a poem by Sappho in the 7th Century BC. According to Discorides (Discorides, 50 AD), cinnamon was a breath freshener, would aid in digestion, would counteract the bites of venomous beasts, reduced inflammation of the intestines and the kidneys, and acted as a diuretic.

Extraction

Cinnamon bark oil is extracted from dried inner bark using water or steam distillation.

Characteristics of Cinnamon Bark Oil

Cinnamon bark oil is a yellow to brownish liquid with a sweet-woody aroma which is sweeter and intense. The odour of cinnamon bark oil is similar to that of Cassia.

NameCinnamon Oil
Botanical NameCinnamomum verum
Family Lauraceae
GenusCinnamomum
ColourYellow to Brownish
AromaSweet-Woody
Note Middle

Composition of Cinnamon Oil

The principal constituent of cinnamon bark oil is cinnamaldehyde, which is present upto 65-70%.

Other major constituents of bark oil are eugenol (4‒10%), linalol, benzaldehyde, carbides, cuminaldehyde, pinene, cineol, phellandrene, furfurol, cymene, terpenic alcohols among others.

Adulteration

Cinnamon bark oil is adulterated by adding cassia oil and synthetic cinnamaldehyde.

In case of adulteration with cassia oil, adulteration can easily be detected by the presence of coumarin, a substance found in cassia oil and not in cinnamon oil. In case of synthetic cinnamaldehyde, adulteration can be identified by the combination of GC-C-IRMS and GC-P-IRMS.

Blending With Cinnamon Bark Oil

Cinnamon bark oil blends well with benzoin, clove, frankincense, ginger, grapefruit, lavender, mandarin, orange, Peru balsam, pine, rosemary, and ylang-ylang.

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Properties of Cinnamon Bark Oil

Cinnamon bark has analgesic, antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-infective, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, anti-parasitic, anti-oxidant, anti-rheumatic, carminative, energising and warming properties.

Benefits of Cinnamon Bark Oil

Cinnamon bark oil is a highly versatile essential oil that can be used for a wide variety of health issues including to control blood sugar levels, support the respiratory system, prevent infection, boost heart health, alleviate stress, increase oral hygiene and ease the pain of sore muscles among others.

Blood Sugar

Cinnamon is considered a natural remedy for keeping the blood sugar level in control. Cinnamon shown to contain biologically active substances that regulate blood glucose by insulin-mimetic properties, which enhances glucose uptake by activating insulin receptor kinase activity, auto-phosphorylation of the insulin receptor and glycogen synthase activity [2].

According to a study conducted, intake of 1, 3, or 6 g of cinnamon per day reduces serum glucose, triglyceride, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol in people with type 2 diabetes and suggest that the inclusion of cinnamon in the diet of people with type 2 diabetes will reduce risk factors associated with diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. [3]

Heart Health

Cinnamon oil may be a natural way to take care of heart health.

A study conducted in 2014 on male rats found that long-term treatment of rats with cinnamon and regular training improved cardiac hemodynamic through an additive effect. Both regular training and supplementation with cinnamon significantly decreased serum levels of total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein (LDL), and increased high-density lipoprotein (HDL) level and HDL/LDL ratio as compared to control group (P<0.01). [4]

Alleviates Stress

Cinnamon oil helps in relieving stress and promote relaxation. Cinnamon oil arouses emotional and psychic forces and stimulates creativity. It may relieve feelings of weakness, depression, emotional coldness, physical tension and any tendency to isolation. In addition, cinnamon oil warms mind and emotions and may be helpful for dispelling feelings of loneliness.

Respiratory Issues

Toning, calming and warming effect along with antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon oil helps in addressing pain, colds, and flu. Inhalation of cinnamon oil has proven effective for relieving respiratory infections. Use cinnamon oil in a diffuser for acute bronchitis and colds, and lifting a depressed mood.

Pain Reliever

Cinnamon bark oil has been used for thousands of years in Ayurvedic medicine to soothe aching joints and numb pain. It is still used for similar purposes in India, presumably because of its anti-inflammatory property.

Cinnamon oil is a natural remedy to reduce pain from arthritis and rheumatism in muscles and joints. Antispasmodic, stimulant and astringent properties make cinnamon oil helpful for relieving painful muscles and stiff joints.
According to a study conducted to compare the anti-nociceptive effect of cinnamon oil with those of over-the-counter pain medications in mice, cinnamon oil possesses anti-nociceptive properties and has similar potency in chronic pain inhibition as over-the-counter pain medications.[5]

A study was conducted in 2017 to study anti-inflammatory activity of cinnamon bark oil in validated human dermal fibroblast system, a model of chronic inflammation and fibrosis. Cinnamon bark oil showed strong anti‐proliferative effects on skin cells and significantly inhibited the production of several inflammatory biomarkers and several tissue remodeling molecules. Furthermore, CBEO significantly modulated global gene expression and altered signaling pathways, many of which are important in inflammation, tissue remodelling, and cancer biology. [6]

Oral Health

Cinnamon essential oil is an effective natural remedy to prevent oral bacterial growth due to its antimicrobial property.
In fact, according to the study carried out to compare cinnamon and clove oils for oral antibacterial activity, cinnamon oil was found to be more effective than clove oil exhibiting broad spectrum of antibacterial activity inhibiting all the ten test bacterial species involved in dental caries. [7]

Immunity and Parasites

Cinnamon helps in expelling parasitic worms (helminths) from the body by either stunning them as with vermifuges or killing them as a vermicide.

Research into antimicrobial effects show that cinnamon oil inhibits and even completely destroys viruses, bacteria and fungi. According to a research conducted to study n vitro antibacterial activity of 21 essential oils, cinnamon oil showed promising inhibitory activity even at low concentration, inhibiting both gram-positive and gram-negative bacteria. In general cinnamon oil showed significant inhibitory effect against P. aeruginosa, B. subtilis, P. vulgaris, K. pneumoniae and S. aureus. [8]

Another study conduced in 2014 has confirmed the therapeutic effects of ginger and cinnamon extracts on G. lamblia infection in albino rats as a promising alternative therapy to the commonly used antigiardial drugs. Giardia lamblia is one of the most common protozoal infections in human especially children.[9]

Cinnamon bark oil’s antiseptic properties have been shown to be even more powerful for killing bacterial and fungal infections than cinnamon leaf.

Products

Cinnamon bark oil is used for fragrance and therapeutic actions in toothpastes, nasal sprays, mouthwashes, cough syrups and dental preparations. In addition, it is widely used in food flavouring, especially in alcoholic and soft drinks.

Safety

Cinnamon bark oil is a dermal toxin, irritant and sensitiser. It should never be used on the skin. In case of need to apply topically, dilute heavily. Recommended dilution is .5 percent or two drops to one ounce. Never use cinnamon oil undiluted on the skin.

It may also be irritant to the mucous membranes. It must be used in very low dilutions and only for short periods. May cause skin and mucous membranes to become itchy, inflamed, and/or cause an allergic reaction.

Do NOT use if taking anticoagulant drugs such as aspirin or warfarin, or before surgery.

Avoid during pregnancy. Not for use on young children. Consult your healthcare provider if you are pregnant, nursing, taking medication, or being treated for other health challenges. Keep out of reach of children.

Care must be taken in storing cinnamon bark oil. Must be stored in a cold and dark place. Shelf life is around 4-5 years.

Disclaimer

The above statements have not been evaluated by the FDA. This information is for educational purposes only, it is not intended to treat, cure, prevent or, diagnose any disease or condition. Nor is it intended to prescribe in any way. This information is for educational purposes only and may not be complete, nor may its data be accurate.

References
Konstantine, Ramit. Essential Oils: A Complete Guide to Healing With Natural Herbal Remedies, Alternative Therapies, and Using Essential Oils For Beauty, Essential Oils For Stress and Weight Loss
White, Gregory Lee. “Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: How to Use Essential Oils for Beauty, Health, and Spirituality
Julia Lawless. “Encyclopedia of Essential Oils
Konstantine, Ramit. “Essential Oils: A Complete Guide to Healing With Natural Herbal Remedies, Alternative Therapies, and Using Essential Oils For Beauty, Essential Oils For Stress and Weight Loss
KG Stiles. “The Essential Oils Complete Reference Guide
 
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