There’s no mistaking the warm, comforting flavor of cinnamon (Cinnamomum species, especially C. verum). A culinary staple all over the world, it’s a staple in beverages, savory dishes, sauces, and desserts alike.
While this tropical evergreen is relatively new to European-based witchcraft, it has thousands of years of history as a medicinal and magical herb in its native range.
Magical Properties of Cinnamon
Cinnamon, like many hot spices, is a magical catalyst. This means that it can help magical workings bear fruit more quickly.
While cinnamon is one of the “sweet” hot spices that often finds itself in love and money magic, it’s just as at home in baneful recipes.
This spice is a wonderful ingredient in incense, especially healing blends. Since it’s woody, it burns well — sometimes a little too well. Be careful when using powdered cinnamon around fire, as it is highly flammable and potentially explosive.
Both the spice and its essential oil are powerful ingredients for love and money drawing.
Cinnamon is ruled by the Sun and the element of fire.
Benefits & Uses
The strong scent of fresh cinnamon can keep pests away. Sprinkle it in cabinets to repel bugs.
Cinnamaldehyde, one of the volatile compounds in cinnamon, is antifungal and antibacterial.
Cinnamon contains polyphenols. These are antioxidants, which means they can help protect cells from free radical damage.
This spice has anti-inflammatory properties.
Cinnamon contains compounds that slow the buildup of tau protein in the brain. Tau protein is associated with Alzheimer’s disease. In a rodent study, cinnamon also improved motor function in Parkinson’s disease.
In a study of people with type 2 diabetes, consuming half a teaspoon a day was associated with improved blood lipids and a reduced risk of heart disease.
Cinnamon can also improve insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugar levels. It blocks the action of certain digestive enzymes, which keep carbohydrates from entering the blood stream.
In some studies, a cinnamon extract appeared to protect against some forms of cancer.
Possible Risks & Side Effects
It’s possible to be allergic to cinnamon. If you are, you may experience skin rashes, itching of the lips, tongue, or throat, or anaphylactic shock. If this is the case, please use a different ingredient.
Many of the jars of cinnamon sold at grocery stores don’t contain actual cinnamon. Instead, much of what people call “cinnamon” is actually the bark of the Cassia tree. The flavor is very similar to true cinnamon, but it tends to be stronger, with darker, rougher wood.
While their health benefits are very similar, cassia contains a substance called coumarin. This can cause liver damage in large doses, and may be implicated in kidney damage, lung damage, and cancer, as well.
While cassia is safe in the amounts used to flavor food, if you consume large amounts of cinnamon or take a cinnamon supplement, make sure it’s sourced from a member of the Cinnamonum genus.
Cinnamon oil is extremely strong. It absolutely must be diluted before topical use. Never ingest cinnamon oil.
History & Folklore
Cassia, which grows in China, has been a medicinal ingredient for four thousand years.
Cinnamon was used in Egypt as part of the mummification process. Blended with other herbs, spices, and resins, it was used to fill spaces in the body.
The spice also had religious significance in Greece and Rome. In Greece, people burned it as incense. In Rome, the bark was used as a temple decoration. One ancient inscription records a gift of cinnamon and cassia given to the temple of Apollo at Miletus.
After cinnamon came to Europe, it was treated as a cure-all. This idea still lingers in some home remedies and family traditions today.
Getting Started With Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a tropical evergreen tree, and it isn’t suitable for growing indoors. Green witches who live in temperate climates may, unfortunately, have to purchase the spice if they wish to work with it.
One of the easiest and most fun ways to get started working with cinnamon is to make cinnamon clay. If you have a favorite salt dough recipe, substitute a portion of the flour for powdered cinnamon.
Otherwise, combine 3/4 cup of applesauce, 2 tablespoons of white craft glue, and about 1 cup of cinnamon. Mix until it reaches a doughy consistency. You can roll out this clay, cut it with cookie cutters or knives, mold it, or inscribe it with magical symbols. It will harden as it dries.
You can use this dough to make heart charms for love drawing spells, offering coins for money spells, or anything else you can think of that might benefit from cinnamon’s energy. You may wish to use it to make a bowl for herbs, coins, or other dry offerings.
Cinnamon fills spaces with a warm, sweet energy conducive to attracting love and abundance. Its aroma and flavor captivated cooks, perfumers, and spice traders the world over, and it’s now easy to find in western grocery stores.
No matter how you choose to use it, do so with gratitude and reverence for the trees that provide it.