Cinnamon is an Ayurvedic herb and common aromatic cooking spice, being the dried bark of the Cinnamon Tree (Cinnamomum verum), native to India and Sri Lanka. Also called tvac in Sanskrit (meaning “skin” or “bark”), Cinnamon has many beneficial healing properties in Ayurvedic medicine, for both external and internal use. These mostly derive from the properties of its component essential oils, mainly cinnamaldehyde and eugenol.
In fact there are three species of plant commonly called Cinnamon, all having very similar properties:
- Cinnamomum verum (True Cinnamon) also known as Ceylon cinnamon
- Cinnamomum cassia (Chinese Cinnamon) which is a very common substitute for true cinnamon with a stronger, hotter taste
- Cinnamomum tamala (Indian Bay Leaf) whose leaves are more commonly used than its bark
While they all have similar properties and uses and are often confused with each other, they are not exactly the same. In this article we focus mostly on the Ayurvedic properties of True Cinnamon.
Ayurvedic Healing Properties
Cinnamon has a hot (uṣṇa) and penetrating (tīkṣṇa) potency and is a strongly warming, aromatic herb with sweet, bitter & pungent tastes. It therefore stimulates the pitta dosha in the body and reduces or pacifies both kapha and vāta. It has similar properties to other warming aromatic Ayurvedic herbs like Cloves, and is especially helpful during the winter season and winter-time seasonal self-care (ṛtucaryā).
It is a powerful aid to digestion, stimulating the metabolic fire (agni) and helping to clear out unmetabolized wastes and toxins (āma). It’s also ideal as a cooking spice for sweet dishes, as its flavor and aroma enhances the dish while at the same time its herbal properties aid in proper digestion. Although modern medical research is inconclusive, some research suggests that Cinnamon may be helpful in regulating blood sugar, and thus helpful to persons suffering from diabetes. While inconclusive, this is very much in line with the traditional Ayurvedic conception and understanding of Cinnamon’s herbal properties.
Being a powerful kaphahara (kapha-reducing) herb, Cinnamon also has expectorant properties which help to relieve cough and congestion, and is included in different traditional Ayurvedic formulas in both powder and tablet form for this purpose.
Cinnamon is also often recommended for pain relief due to its anti-inflammatory qualities, being helpful in relieving the symptoms of arthritis or joint pain/ stiffness along with other synergistic Ayurvedic herbs, typically in the form of a medicated oil or balm. It is also helpful for relieving sore throats, in which case it is included in a soothing lozenge or herbal tea.
Cinnamon in Ayurvedic Dental Care
Last but not least we come to the role of Cinnamon in Ayurvedic dental care. As already mentioned above, Cinnamon is traditionally prescribed for pain relief by Ayurvedic physicians and this also and especially applies to toothaches, where it is usually prescribed together with or as a substitute for Cloves.
Having strong astringent and antiseptic/antimicrobial properties which are helpful in maintaining optimal oral health, Cinnamon is often included in Ayurvedic dental care products like traditional tooth powders, or Ayurvedic toothpastes and mouthwashes, together with other synergistic herbs which share similar or complementary properties.
Cinnamon Oil is also often used in these formulas simply from the viewpoint of its taste and fragrance, enhancing the flavor of Ayurvedic toothpaste or mouthwash and helping to freshen the breath.
All varieties of Auromere’s Ayurvedic Toothpaste include Cinnamon, and its beneficial properties are part of our unique 23+ herb Ayurvedic formula for optimal oral hygiene.
As an important part of that same 23+ herbal formula, Cinnamon is also present in Auromere’s Ayurvedic Mouthwash.
Auromere Neem Picks are infused with Cinnamon oil (Cinnamomum cassia), which imparts to the toothpicks a pleasant taste and its wonderful breath-freshening property.
And stay tuned for an upcoming announcement of our newest variety of toothpaste (Cinnamon Ayurvedic Toothpaste), now with even more of the beneficial properties of Cinnamon and its wonderful spicy flavor!
Whether it’s found in pain balm to soothe aching joints, soothing a sore throat in the winter as a warm spicy tea, adding its sweet flavor and fragrance to a cooking dish, or contributing to your optimal oral hygiene through Ayurvedic dental care products, Cinnamon is an important Ayurvedic herb which should be recognized and cherished.