Herb & Spice Series: Cinnamon
Similar to special songs in our lives, flavors and smells, too, can transport us to a particular time, occasion, or place. For me, cinnamon is a rich reminder of the holidays and warm, family (and friend)- filled celebrations. So with the holidays right around the corner what better time to learn more about cinnamon?
Beyond the familiar sweet and spicy sprinkle in our holiday treats, oatmeal, or granola, cinnamon is a seasoning that can be found in flavorful and savory dishes around the world, from an Afro-Caribbean pumpkin soup, Mexican mole, or a Moroccan lentil stew.
Like many other herbs and spices, cinnamon has been known to have aphrodisiacal powers and its use dates back thousands of years. Historical references show it being used in embalming, as funerary incense, and it is said that Moses used cinnamon oil to anoint the Ark of the Covenant.
Cinnamon is harvested from the bark of evergreen trees. There are two familiar types, one being Ceylon, which many call true cinnamon, that is native to Sri Lanka and the other Cassia, which typically comes from Indonesia, China, and other countries and is what is widely sold and familiar in the United States. Our Western word for cinnamon comes from the Greek kinnámmon.
From a health perspective, cinnamon has been shown to regulate blood sugar, reduce pain, improve cholesterol, and even aid in fertility. So if you don’t already use cinnamon we suggest you get to sprinkling more of this special spice!