With the holidays around the corner, the smell of cinnamon beckons and there are so many wonderful ways to use it, such as a natural health aide or even as an air freshener.This potent spice has been used medicinally around the world for thousands of years. It is used daily in many cultures because of its benefits and ease of use in recipes.

So, what exactly is cinnamon and where does it come from? It is actually made from the Cinnamomum Verum tree and the unique smell, color, and flavor of cinnamon comes from the oily part of the tree. The health benefits of cinnamon come from the bark. This bark contains several special compounds which are responsible for its many health-promoting properties, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid and cinnamate.

The many health benefits of cinnamon can be obtained in the form of essential oils, ground spice form (bark powder) or extract form. These compounds make cinnamon one of the most beneficial spices on earth, giving it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial and immune-boosting properties. Including it in many sweet and flavorful recipes is easy, or it can certainly be taken as a supplement.

The smell of hot cinnamon rolls baking in the oven is certainly a wonderful way to get the natural smell of cinnamon in the home. You can also simply simmer cinnamon sticks in a pan of hot water. For something longer lasting but a bit more detailed, here is a recipe you can try. 

Ingredients

  • 1/2 whole nutmeg grated
  • 1/4 cup ground cinnamon or 5 whole cinnamon sticks
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin pie spice or apple pie spice
  • 1/8 cup cloves ground
  • 4 zested oranges or frontier orange peel 

Instructions

Zest and dehydrate orange zest in oven.

Use parchment or foil and bake at 230 degrees for 20-30 minutes. Watch the oranges so they don’t burn. Mix together spices and orange zest/peel. Using a small sauce pan boil 3 cups water. Once at a rolling boil, lower heat to simmer. Add spice/orange zest mixture.

— Sara Lemons Vaules is the founder of Lemon and Light, which offers consulting, products and strategies for moving with ease into an organic, chemical-free lifestyle.