BY LISA S.T. DOSS
The cultural knowledge of herbal lore is not entirely lost. The experience may still be in our genes, urging to take root and blossom. It begins by first loving the fragrance and taste of herbs. Take the interest one step further! Start drying leaves and flowers to make delicious teas, healing salves, tinctures, poultices and more to promote wellness!
On a shelf in a glass bottle contains a nostalgic memory. The stick-like scrolls bring hot chocolate or cider on cold nights or simmered with a pot of oatmeal. Instantly, the body feels warm, comforted and tingling with excitement. Great-Grandma, Grandma or Mom knew the properties of folk and traditional medicines. Cinnamon, while an indulgent kitchen spice used for flavoring, is also a medicinal plant. It contains phytochemicals, vitamins and well-needed minerals, such as calcium and iron, to boost our healing systems. By knowing folk and traditional medicines, promoting cinnamon was a useful digestive aid, while encouraging a mixture of healing and happiness!
Grow a Cinnamon Tree
Allured by the unique shape of exotic leaves, colors or fragrances, North Carolinians can grow a diverse range of plants from the far north to the arid south. If homeowners living in zone seven can feature banana and palm trees, why not consider investing in growing another tropical plant, the Ceylon cinnamon tree? Pruned, it can maintain a maximum height of three to eight feet. Thriving in temperatures above 60 degrees, the Ceylon can withstand a mild frost. The broad, shiny leaves turn red and develop flowers by summer. The birds and bees, attracted to the scent, find the yellow and white blossoms irresistible.
Cultivators chop down the tree at the base after two years to peel strips of the fragrant bark. As it dries, the sticks curl and harden, and are pounded into a powder. Suckers appear and create new growth.
Burning incense is a ritualistic experience for those who need to soothe the brain’s nerve pathways, encouraging peace and relaxation while reducing heart rhythms. In choosing cinnamon, the mind comes alive with a well-needed boost of energy and increased intimacy, passion, creativity and mental clarity. Over the centuries to the present day, incense is a tool for meditation, religious practices and clearing away negative energy. As an incense, cinnamon still possesses similar bodily effects as the powdery slice. Through the skin’s pores, the mind releases the thoughts of depression, sadness and pessimism!
Uncapping the lid from the bottle labeled “cinnamon bark,” the fragrance offers a woody, spicy and warm scent comprising minerals and vitamins, anti-oxidants, anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. Potent labels suggest some essential oils are digestible and added to teas; however, one small drop can reduce inflammation, infection, rash and pain relief. Diluted within a carrier oil to prevent burning, the application as a rub can ease aching joints, nourish the skin and enhance circulation.
A Tea for the Digestive System
In learning about herbal healing, we can feel empowered by knowing that each medicinal herb has a connection to relief. Under digestive health, teas labeled as black, chamomile, chai, ginger, green and peppermint offer the same anti-inflammatory benefits to help with stomach cramps, and intestinal spasms while fighting indigestion, nausea, gas and diarrhea. The potent drink can stimulate circulation, increase energy levels, shorten colds and improve overall well-being.
Cinnamon is a healthy spice and choice! Proven to reduce cholesterol by 18%, sugar levels by 24%, control blood glucose levels and reduces cravings; cinnamon is a better choice than sugar! It contains the third-highest anti-oxidant content to slow down aging.
Next Month: Turmeric