Cinnamon v. Cinnamon
It’s cold and wet outside. I’ve been recommending cinnamon a lot these days. I have also been noticing that the internet has not been giving cassia, the cinnamon commonly grown in Vietnam and China, a fair shake.
Ceylon cinnamon, that which is grown in Sri Lanka, is touted as the truer, healthier stuff, but let’s not bark up the wrong tree (pun absolutely intended); While both are warming herbs, Ceylon cinnamon twig (a.k.a. Guì Zhī) and Cassia bark (a.k.a. Roù Guì) have different functions in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
Guì Zhī (Ceylon twig) helps fight the common cold by harmonizing our nutritive and defensive chi (qi) (guiding nutrients to our immune system) and by unlocking/unblocking the chi /qi in the chest and lungs (great for lung tightness and congestion). Used as an analgesic for menstrual cramps and for joint painexacerbated by cold, wet weather, guì zhī promotes blood circulation by “warming the vessels” and by “dispersing cold and damp” Bensky, D. and Gamble, A. (1993) Chinese Herbal Medicine Materia Medica: Revised Edition. Seattle, WA: Eastland Press, Inc..
Roù Guì (Cassia bark) warms at a deeper, more basic level. We use this when depletion, reduced appetite, frequent urination, and /or deep aversion to cold are present. Roù Guì also helps with chronic wheezing due to deficiency; conditions that present with sensation of heat in the upper body, but cold below; and diarrhea due to deficiency (see Bensky and Gamble, 1993).
Cinnamon is most effective when combined with synergistic food or herbs and best to avoid in cases of severe yin deficiency. I’ll write about yin deficiency soon in conjunction with menopausal symptoms, but if you’re wondering how best to incorporate cinnamon in your diet, read this relatively even-handed article I found:
…and consult your local acupuncturist!
Call (503) 572-4196 to schedule an appointment with
Malia Susee, L.Ac. at Pohala.