Cinnamon essential oil - not just for Christmas

There are many scents that remind us of the festive season and of memories of past years, no essential oil screams Christmas more than Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum). A well-known aroma that features in many festive foods and drinks including mulled wine and minced pies.

Cinnamon has a warm and spicy scent that is comforting and appealing to most who come across it. The essential oil comes from the bark of the tree itself and grows in warmer climates such as Sri Lanka, India and South East Asia. It is said the finest oil comes from trees grown in regions that have average temperatures of 27-30 degrees Celsius.

The use of cinnamon has been documented for centuries and is even mentioned in the bible, it has been used for thousands of years in treating chronic diarrhea, rheumatism, colds and kidney problems. It was a prized ingredient, so much so that it was the main incentive for the Portuguese in discovering the route around the Cape to India and Ceylon.

Cinnamon essential oil is incredibly powerful mostly due to it being at least 80% eugenol. Various studies show eugenol can fight bacteria including a variety of candida strains and that it is a very powerful fat-soluble antioxidant, inhibiting the accumulation of fat peroxide products in red blood cells and maintaining the activities of the body’s antioxidant enzymes at normal levels. Other preliminary studies show that eugenol protects against cardiovascular disease by inhibiting the aggregation (abnormal clotting) of platelets.

Aromatherapists now mostly use cinnamon for its warming properties in treating muscular aches and pains and rheumatism and joint pain as well as balancing the digestive system and promoting good circulation. It is known as one of the most anti-bacterial agents around so is often in diffusers during cough and cold seasons and commonly used in eco friendly or homemade cleaning preparations.

In terms of emotions cinnamon essential oil is a hot and stimulating oil that promotes motivation and puts the fire of courage in those who may have lost it. The oil is said to restore a taste and vigor for life for those who are depressed. Those with a cinnamon personality are strong, practical, intelligent and larger than life.

Cinnamon essential oil is phenol rich and care should be taking when using it, as always please seek a qualified aromatherapist for advice.


Evans WC. Trease and Evans pharmacognosy. 15th edn, WB Saunders, 2002.

Lawless J. The encyclopaedia of essential oils. Element Books Limited, Great Britain, 1992.

Weiss EA. Essential Oil Crops. CAB International, UK, 1997

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