Elder Cinnamon, Cinnamomum spp.

Parts Used: Inner bark, either rolled into sticks, crumbled into chips or ground into a powder.

Medicinal Properties
Cinnamon has enjoyed a lengthy history, where wars were fought and silver traded over this rich herb. Used frequently in culinary applications, cinnamon gives warmth, depth and even contrast in both sweet and savory recipes. Those same qualities are what make cinnamon such a great herb for chilly winter days.

Cinnamon is rich in volatile oils, tannins, and coumarins. These compounds attribute to cinnamon's action as an antimicrobial herb, used in times past as a preservative. It is considered astringent, making it useful to arrest bleeding, especially in the case of heavy menstrual flow which causes weakness. A warming herb, cinnamon is great for digestive complaints, including nausea and gas. Cinnamon also plays well with other herbs, warming and directing them. Recently there has been much research on cinnamon's potential as an antioxidant, a mild anti-inflammatory and as a blood sugar regulator.

Cinnamon bark or chips can be used to flavor herbal preparations that otherwise might not be as tasty. Of course, the powder is wonderful in all sorts of recipes.

Preparations & Applications

Warming Winter Tea
1 Tablespoon cinnamon chips
1 Tablespoon astraglus root
1/2 Tablespoon orange peel
1/2 Tablespoon ginger
Simmer herbs gently in 3 cups of water for 15 minutes. Drink throughout the day to keep warm, support your immune system and balance your blood sugar while enjoying holiday treats!

Cinnamon Ornaments
(non-edible, great to make on a snowy day with friends or children)
1 cup ground cinnamon
1/4 cup applesauce
1/2 cup white craft glue
In a medium bowl, mix the cinnamon and applesauce together, then add the craft glue. Mix until the dough is smooth, let stand for 1 hour. Roll the dough out to 1/4 inch thick, using ground cinnamon to keep it from sticking. If the dough starts to crack, spritz with water. Use cookie cutters to cut fun shapes out of the dough and use a straw to make a hole to string them up when they are dry. Dry the ornaments on a baking sheet in an oven temperature of 200 degrees for two hours, flipping the ornaments after an hour so they dry evenly. Decorate as you see fit!