Friday, November 30, 2012
A fabulous spice that warms you up in these cold winter months. Cinnamon is a fascinating spice with a turbulent history. We tend to think of it as a common kitchen spice, but cinnamon has an amazing number of different uses.
Its pleasing, spicy, aromatic, and sweet taste combined with its warming attributes can ease digestive woes by increasing circulation and moving along stagnate digestion. This makes it useful for a variety of digestive complaints including indigestion, gas, and cramping.
It can be used to increase general circulation of the body in cases where there are chronically cold hands and feet. Or, it can be used in more acute situations like colds and the flu in which the person feels shivery and cold. Herbalist Lesley Tierra says,
"Cinnamon bark also leads the body's metabolic fires back to their source, alleviating symptoms of a hot upper body and cold lower body."
Cinnamon has been making headline news lately for its ability to decrease insulin resistance and lower blood sugar levels in diabetics. Most of these studies involved using Cinnamomum cassia or Cassia cinnamon. People with insulin-dependent diabetes need to consult their doctor about taking cinnamon so that injected insulin levels can be adjusted as necessary.
Cinnamon spiced milk. This is a nutritive beverage that warms the body, supports digestion, and can help tone the lower digestive tract to relieve loose or runny bowels.
Making a cinnamon tincture. When I first heard of a cinnamon tincture I thought it was a little ridiculous. Why not just use the powder?
I have since come to love cinnamon tincture. This liquid preparation makes it easy to add to beverages like teas, herbal infusions and coffee without leaving a powdery substance behind. Also, small amounts can be added to teas or tinctures that don’t taste very good.
To make cinnamon tincture you’ll need:
Alcohol (Any alcohol that you can drink will do. I used vodka. Some use scotch, diluted Everclear, etc. Just NOT rubbing alcohol since you are ingesting it.)
To begin, simply fill a jar half full with cinnamon chips. I like to use the chips in place of powder because it is easier to strain. You can also take cinnamon sticks and break them down into smaller chips.
Next fill the jar with the alcohol.
Let this mixture sit for two to six weeks. (Longer is better)
When done, strain the mixture and bottle.
You can add a little bit of cinnamon tincture to teas, herbal infusions, coffee, and even ice cream. A little goes a long way, so start off with small amounts to find the right amount for your taste buds.