The leaves of cinnamon trees, called cinnamomum verum or true cinnamon, contain phytonutrients that may provide nutritional benefits. Cinnamon powder is extracted from the bark of the tree and is not a major component of its leaves. The leaf of the cinnamon tree contains vitamins and minerals that can either be extracted and placed in a nutritional supplement in the form of an oil or capsule, or the entire leaf itself can be used as a hot water tea ingredient so that its contents can be extracted into the tea and orally ingested. As with any herbal supplement, consult your physician before using a supplement or tea containing cinnamon or cinnamon leaf extract due to the potential risk of side effects.
The oil contained within cinnamon leaves may have anti-bacterial properties Cinnamon leaf oil contains compounds that promote the growth of healthy bacteria in your upper gastrointestinal tract that aid in digestion, as well as strengthens your immune system to fight against potentially harmful bacteria in your blood stream that may cause sickness or infection. For this reason, cinnamon leaf oil has sometimes been used as a remedy for the common cold or flu.
Cinnamon leaf oil may improve the balance of chemicals and neurotransmitters in your brain, according to the book, "Today's Herbal Health: The Essential Reference Guide." By balancing brain chemicals and promoting the production of neurotransmitters, such as dopamine and serotonin, cinnamon leaf oil may reduce the symptoms associated with some mental conditions, such as depression, anxiety, nervousness and mental tension. Dopamine in particular is recognized as a mood-enhancing hormone and is directly related to positive thoughts, reducing the effects of depression and anxiety.
Cinnamon leaf oil contains eugenol, which may reduce symptoms of gastrointestinal distress such as upset stomach, nausea, and diarrhea. Cinnamon leaf oil also contains high concentrations of a chemical compound called cinnameldehyde, which is a natural pain reliever that also has anti-inflammatory properties which can reduce the painful effects of arthritis, or swelling in your body's joints. Cinnameldehyde may also have a positive effect on the metabolism of glucose, which may increase insulin sensitivity and decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Cinnamon leaf oil is sometimes used in aromatherapy as an aphrodisiac for its potential ability to increase sexual function. According to the book, "Aromatherapy: An A-Z," cinnamon leaf oil has a warming, spicy scent that is used to relieve impotence and increase sexual potency in both men and women. Cinnamon leaf oil in aromatherapy is most often mixed with other therapeutic oils, burned in an oil bowl and inhaled for its potential benefits.
- "The New Encyclopedia of Vitamins, Minerals, Supplements, and Herbs"; Nicola Reavley; 1999
- "Today's Herbal Health: The Essential Reference Guide"; Louise Tenney; 2007
- "Aromatherapy: An A-Z"; Patricia Davis; 1999