Hi, my loves and welcome to WiccaNow. Today I want to talk about one of my favourite herbs of all time, cinnamon! We’ve been talking a lot about herbs and their magical uses, we’ve covered herbs for protection, money herbs, herbs for self love, and herbs for love spells along with some of the individual heavy hitters like rosemary and lavender. Given this list, we would be remiss to not go into the magical properties of cinnamon! This is one of my most frequently used herbs, due to its versatility and easy availability. I want to talk a bit about its history and health benefits as well as its magical properties, so let’s dive right in!
Below I’m going to answer a few common questions about cinnamon, including an outline of its history, how it’s harvested, it’s medicinal benefits and, of course, the magical properties of cinnamon.
The History of Cinnamon
Where did Cinnamon Originate?
While cinnamon arrived in Europe from Egypt as early as 2000BC, no one in the western world really knew where cinnamon came from until the middle ages. There was enough written about it to know that it came via the Red Sea to trading ports in Egypt but from there very little was known about it. There was a false belief that it originated at the source of the Nile and was fished up with nets.
There was also a belief that large “cinnamon birds” flew to the cinnamon trees and harvested the sticks to build their nests, from where cinnamon gatherers had to trick the birds in order to steal their cinnamon. Obviously it turned out that this was a made-up story so that the cinnamon traders could charge more but it’s a great story none the less which would be well suited to “Arabian Nights”, maybe a storey about Sinbad.
The first time its origins were mentioned was in Zakariya al-Qazwinis “Monument of Places and History of God’s Bondsmen” which was written around 1270. In 1292, John of Montecorvino wrote about the origins of cinnamon. He described the process of Indonesian rafts transporting it directly from the Maluku Islands to East Africa. It was then carried north to Egypt from where it was transported to Venice. At this stage, there was a Venetian monopoly on the European trade of cinnamon.
The European-wide Fight for Control of Cinnamon
In early modern times, the trade of cinnamon was about more than just the trade of a delicious spice. At this stage, cinnamon was highly sought after but still only had one source, and this source was controlled by the Venetians. This meant that if anyone else was able to find a source of cinnamon, they stood to make a massive amount of money. Because money is always an extreme potent driving force, many traders attempted to find alternative sources of cinnamon.
Portuguese traders braved the Horn of Africa in the 15th Century in search of cinnamon and made their way to Ceylon. When they arrived, they found the cinnamon they were looking for and promptly enslaved the native Sinhalese and ramped up production. Massive amounts of money often seem to stem for extreme human rights breaches, don’t they? Sad but true.
In the 1500s, a Spanish explorer, Ferdinand Magellan, went on the search for spices for Spain. Maybe they were sick of having to deal with the monopoly on spices and cinnamon which at this point was controlled by the Portuguese. Ferdinand made it to the Philippines, where he found Cinnamomum Mindanaense which is closely related to True Cinnamon from Sri Lanka. This form of cinnamon became a rival for true cinnamon which weakened the position of the Portuguese traders.
In the 1600s, a Dutch trading post was established in Sri Lanka. The Dutch traders quickly took control of cinnamon manufacturing and by 1658 had thrown out the remaining Portuguese traders. The Dutch East India Company completely overhauled the traditional methods of harvesting cinnamon and started cultivating their own trees instead of harvesting from the wild.
The Dutch maintained control of the industry until 1767, when Lord Brown, of the famous East India Company, established what would become Asia’s biggest cinnamon producing estate, the Anjarakkandy Cinnamon Estate. Through this estate, and through their control of the sea trade, the British took control of Ceylon away from the Dutch in 1796.
Since the British takeover of the cinnamon industry, many other places have started producing their own cinnamon. This has led to an increase in the availability of cinnamon and today it’s a spice most of us have access to at a reasonable price.
The Uses of Cinnamon in Ancient Times
Cinnamon was a highly prized commodity in ancient times. So much so that it was often given as a gift to reigning monarchs and was even considered fit for the Gods. According to Pliny the Elder, a Roman pound (327g) of Cinnamon could cost up to 1500 denarii which equated to about 50 months of an average workers wages. At the time, you could equate cinnamon to being worth around 15x the value of silver by weight. You can see why it was a gift fit for the gods right? Why would they want silver when they can have cinnamon?
Ancient Egyptians used cinnamon in their embalming process because it inhibited the growth of bacteria. This is one of the reasons why the European elite prized cinnamon so much. They used it to mask the flavour and smell of meat that had already gone bad with the added bonus being that it also helped to preserve the meat a little longer. Yum.
Pliny (this guy pops up everywhere doesn’t he? Talk about an ancient celebrity) wrote about using cinnamon as a flavouring for wine. Because of its extravagant cost, cinnamon really wasn’t used all that much unless it was a special occasion, or you had a LOT of money. The most famous case of cinnamon being used in excess is by Emperor Nero. When his wife, Poppaea Sabina, was buried in 65AD Nero burned a year’s worth of the city’s cinnamon supply on her funeral pyre in order to make up for his part in her death.
How is Cinnamon Harvested?
Cinnamon is produced by stripping the bark off the tree branches and then drying them. Cinnamon trees are planted, then when they are around 2 years old they are cut right back and the stump is covered with soil. This causes the stump to produce multiple shoots the next year which means there is more cinnamon to harvest. The many shoots are cut back and the bark is peeled off and set out to dry in the sun. The peeled bark naturally curls up into what we know as cinnamon quills while it’s drying. The quills are then cut to size, packaged and shipped around the world.
What are the Benefits of Cinnamon?
Disclaimer: We are by no means medical professionals and don’t claim to be. If you have any health issues, we urge you to seek medical assistance. Please don’t take any of this advice in place of a trained medical professionals.
Cinnamon is high in antioxidants which reduce the damage caused by free radicals and slow the ageing process. These antioxidants can also help to relieve inflammation which can lower the risk of heart disease and cognitive decline among other things. Due to its anti-inflammatory properties, cinnamon has been proven to be a wonderful natural pain reliever, especially for muscle pain.
One of the biggest benefits of Cinnamon is its ability to improve heart health. It can lower cholesterol, high blood pressure and high triglyceride levels. The reduction in high blood pressure is particularly noteworthy as this can greatly decrease your chances of heart disease or a stroke.
Cinnamon can help to increase circulation, which improves tissue repair and aids the body’s natural healing process. Studies have shown that cinnamon can also help to stop excessive bleeding by helping the body to coagulate blood and form blood clots.
Did you know that cinnamon is considered as one of the best foods for diabetics? It naturally lowers blood sugar levels while also improving the body’s ability to use the hormone insulin. It can also help to block digestive enzymes which can cause the rapid absorption of sugar into the bloodstream meaning a spike in blood sugar levels, something that no diabetic wants. Cinnamon also sweetens food which is a bonus if you have diabetes and can’t eat sugar.
Cinnamon has natural antibiotic, antifungal, antiviral and antimicrobial properties, all of which are extremely helpful in fighting off illness and boosting the immune system. Cinnamon oil can protect against bacterial infections and can be very useful in fighting off colds. These above-mentioned properties can also help to naturally preserve food (the ancient Romans were onto a good thing) so that you don’t need to use chemically produced preservatives.
Does Cinnamon Give You Energy?
I believe that cinnamon gives you a natural energy boost. It curbs sugar cravings, which means that instead of having an instant sugar high, you will have more consistent and sustained energy levels. It also increases your circulation, which can help to increase the speed of your metabolism which should help to give you an energy boost.
Next time you need a little energy boost, add a little cinnamon to your coffee. The cinnamon works to keep your blood sugar levels stable while preventing a sugar high followed by a crash and the caffeine gives you an instant perk.
Can You Eat Too Much Cinnamon?
Yes, actually you can! It depends on what form of cinnamon you are eating. As mentioned earlier, there are two main sources of cinnamon. There is Ceylon Cinnamon which is considered “True” cinnamon and there is Cassia cinnamon. While both forms are safe to eat in moderate amounts, eating large quantities of cassia can cause serious health problems. Cassia contains a much higher concentration of the compound coumarin than Ceylon cinnamon. Coumarin can cause harm to your liver and can increase your chances of cancer.
Be particularly careful when using cinnamon if you are taking medication that might affect your liver, such as paracetamol. Excessive intake of cinnamon mixed with certain drugs may increase the chances of liver toxicity and damage. As mentioned earlier, cinnamon can also affect your blood sugar levels. So while it may help some people with diabetes, always clear this with your doctor first because mixed with diabetes medication you could cause your blood sugar to drop too low.
So what does this tell us? Cinnamon can be great, but like most things, everything in moderation is the key!
What Herbs Bring Good luck and is Cinnamon one of them?
This is an interesting question that often gets asked in regards to cinnamon. Cinnamon brings luck while also boosting the power of the other herbs its paired with. We wrote a whole article about herbs for luck! Check out money herbs too for herbs which increase your luck around money.
The main luck bringing herbs are:
- Irish Moss
The Magical Properties of Cinnamon
Cinnamon has a wide range of magical uses, which is why I love it so much! It’s ruled by the Sun and Mars and its sign is Aries. Its element is fire. Cinnamon can be used to consecrate your spaces or magical tools. Just use a couple of drops of oil in a diffuser to cleanse your spaces or anoint each tool with oil to cleanse it. Burn cinnamon to stimulate your spiritual powers and increase your psychic ability and awareness.
Cinnamon invokes lust and is considered an aphrodisiac. It can be used in love spells as well as for sex magic. Use it to protect your home and yourself from negative energies. Cinnamon can help to speed up the other spells you’ve cast. Anoint your wallet with cinnamon oil or carry a cinnamon stick to draw money to you. It can be used in spells relating to success and can bring you luck. It is also great when used in healing spells.
How Do You Use Cinnamon Sticks for Magic?
Cinnamon sticks can be used in magic in the same way that oil or ground cinnamon is used. One great use for sticks, which you can’t do with other forms of cinnamon is to make a cinnamon stick bouquet for protection. Take as many sticks as you feel you need and tie them together with a ribbon. Hang or attach this above your front door to protect your whole house and family from negative energy and bad intentions.
You can also burn cinnamon sticks inside your home as a smudge stick. This is particularly good if you haven’t told your friends that you practise magic. Cinnamon gives the whole house a delicious smell of baked goods, while sage gives a much more distinct and earthy smell. Using cinnamon will cleanse and protect your space and imbue it with a calming energy. The only question you might get from your friends is whether you baked cookies and if they can have some!
How Do You Use Cinnamon for Good Luck?
Cinnamon can be used in spells to do with luck and money. It’s a great aid in speeding up other spells. For a simple spell to attract money luck, do the following:
Simple Money Drawing Spell
- Select a bill of your choice
- Use cinnamon oil to create 3 lines on the bill
- Set your intentions and meditate strongly for 3 minutes. Imagine prosperity and luck flowing to you. Think about how you will feel when you reach your goals and try to stay in that feeling of success.
- Take the bill and keep it in your wallet for as long as you can so it will continue to bring you luck. If you spend it, don’t worry! Just repeat this short ritual.
A Simple Spell for Abundance Using the Magical Properties of Cinnamon
If you want to perform a short spell for abundance using candle magic and cinnamon, check out this abundance spell.
So, my fellow cinnamon lovers, I hope I’ve managed to answer all your burning questions about the history, uses and benefits of this magical spice!
I’ll leave you with a short prayer asking cinnamon to do its work:
“Cinnamon imbue me with your magical power. Release my fears and let me access my power. Cinnamon help me to slip into the stream, of money, success and fulfilling my dreams. Cinnamon protect me and bring me calm, for this I thank you. So Mote It Be”
Until next time,
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