Cinnamon, indigenous to Sri Lanka, is one of the most ancient spices and is mentioned in the Bible.
This tree when fully grown can reach up to a height of 6m and occasionally there are trees that even grow to 12m. The trunk is stout, about 30-60 cm in diameter and when matured it is covered with a thick grey bark. The branches of this tree are naturally low set and very bushy. The leaf apice is acute and its base rounded to acute The matured leaves measure about 7-10 cm long and 3-5 cm wide. The leaves are deep green in color with 3 conspicous longitudinal veins. The young leaves of the flush are reddish in color which later turns to lighter green and then finally to its deep green in color.
This plant is normally cultivated in Malaysia. It can be found growing semi-wildly in Sri Lanka in moist lowlands to an elevation of 2,000 feet . Cinnamon is propagated either by seeds or by cuttings.
PLANT PARTS USED
USES IN TRADITIONAL MEDICINE
The plant possesses antifungal and antibacterial actions. The volatile oil has antiviral and hypotensive activity whilst the bark is used for dyspepsia, flatulence, dysentery, bronchitis and gangrene of the lungs. The bruised bark is steamed and used externally as a fomentation on boils and abscesses. The oil is a useful application for acute and chronic rheumatism. Cinnamon is also given for cramps of stomach, toothache and paralysis of the tongue and used in massive doses in the treatment of cancer. In China, the dried bark and twigs are medicinally used, especially combined with other medicinal plants to treat cancer, high blood pressure and stomach troubles.