Herbalist Robin Rose Bennett

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Cinnamon to the Rescue

By Robin Bennett
Posted in Articles, Blog, Recipes
On December 16, 2016

(Originally published as an article on New York Spirit 12/16/2016)

When I met a cinnamon tree in the tropics for the first time, I was so excited that I kissed it and gave it a big bear hug, much to the amusement of our guide. Cinnamon is a delicious, warming spice, and one of my all time favorites. The powder can be ground from the bark of any species of cinnamon tree and added to many foods. It blends well with everything from vanilla to curries. It is also potent medicine, both antimicrobial and a clinically proven moderator of blood sugar.

Cinnamon tincture, straight or diluted, is strong, tasty and warming, a winter-party favorite. It lifts the spirits, balances blood sugar, and stimulates digestion. As we head into the New Year, this spicy tincture could be added to our holiday drinks or teas.

{Recipe from The Gift of Healing Herbs}

Spicy Cinnamon Tincture:

10-15 cinnamon sticks

1 quart 100 proof vodka

Break up the cinnamon sticks in a mortar and pestle. Put them into a wide-mouth quart jar. Cover them with 100-proof vodka, and fill the jar to the top. Wait about 6 weeks. It isn’t necessary to strain the cinnamon out as it will settle on the bottom of the jar, but you can if you’d like. Otherwise, simply pour the cinnamon tincture through a strainer when you want to use it. This tincture can be added to tea or coffee, diluted into water, or served neat in a shot glass. I bet it would also be a perfect addition to an herbal cocktail.

Cinnamon is also a good antiseptic herb. I had reason to be grateful for this on a trip to the tropics. A large tropical centipede bit my partner when were visiting the Caribbean island nation of Dominica. Centipedes are the only poisonous creatures there, but one managed to find him, crawl up under his shirt, and bite him under the arm. This compounded the challenge, because it invited the poison to circulate directly into his lymph system.

Although the locals said he would be okay in a few days, I did not want to waste any time on the holiday we worked so hard to afford. I wracked my brain for something I could use, and then remembered that I’d gathered some cinnamon leaves that afternoon. I pounded up one of the leathery leaves and poured boiling water over it to soften it and open up the cell walls to release its antiseptic compounds. He held it over the site while I bandaged it so it would stay put.

Well, the story has quite the happy ending. He woke up the next morning with no swelling, no infection, and no pain. Our local friends later told us that they had never seen a bite from a large centipede not swell and hurt for days. I, of course was ecstatic that my instincts were spot on and that cinnamon could be so helpful in speeding up the healing of the infection.

I am forever grateful for the cinnamon tree for its amazing medicinal properties as well as it’s warming, comforting taste I can enjoy year round in teas and herbal beverages.  The tropics will also always have a huge part of my heart, and I can’t wait to teach an herbal retreat at Centro Ashe in Costa Rica in February 2017. There are a few spaces left and deposit deadline is January 1. For more info, please visit: http://bit.ly/2gaeQ87

Sign up for my free newsletter at WiseWomanHealingWays.com. You can find hundreds of healing recipes in, The Gift of Healing Herbs-Plant Medicines and Home Remedies for a Vibrantly Healthy Life and clear guidance on how to connect with Nature and your own true nature in Healing Magic, A Green Witch Guidebook to Conscious Living-10th Anniversary edition. My meditation CD’s are available through CD Baby.

Robin Bennett

Robin Bennett

Robin Rose Bennett is a writer, teacher, green witch, herbalist, and a wisewoman… one who loves the earth and gives voice to the healing wild food and medicine plants which surround us. She has been a practicing herbalism for over 30 years, based in New Jersey & NYC. Robin focuses on the spiritual and ecological lessons of plants and treatment of illness.