Cinnamon is comforting to us—and for good reason. It boasts anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties. Studies have shown it can lower cholesterol and possibly treat some infections. Keep cinnamon—specifically cassia cinnamon—stocked in your spice cabinet and use it for everything from soothing upset tummies to taming troublesome pests.
Household Uses for Cinnamon
Scent of the Season: In a reusable squirt bottle, combine water with a few drops of cinnamon essential oil. Spray in any room to eliminate odor.
Massage Magic: This lightly scented oil can aid in a relaxing massage. Combine 1⁄2 cup almond or sesame oil, 1⁄2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1⁄2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract in a clean container. Shake oil gently before using. You can use it as a bath oil, as well.
Stomach Soother: Cinnamon contains catechins, which can help relieve nausea. To make cinnamon tea, boil 1 teaspoon cinnamon bark in a cup of water for about 10 minutes. Strain and drink. Do not drink cinnamon tea during pregnancy.
Cassia Cleaner: To make a wintry-scented all-purpose cleaner, in a large reusable spray bottle combine 1-1⁄2 cups vinegar, 1-1⁄2 cups water and 30 drops cinnamon essential oil.
Brain Booster: Cinnamon may help enhance cognitive function and memory. When studying for a test or brushing up on vocabulary in a new language, waft cinnamon essential oil under your nose or sip cinnamon tea for a brain boost.
Athlete’s Aid: To help kill athlete’s foot fungus, soak your feet in cinnamon tea. To make such a foot soak, boil water and add a few cinnamon sticks. Soak feet for a few minutes each night.
Hairline Helper: To discourage hair loss and promote hair growth, try this homemade hair mask. Warm 1⁄2 cup olive oil in a bowl. Add 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder and 1 teaspoon honey, and stir. Work mixture into scalp and leave in for 15 minutes, then wash hair as usual. Note: If you are already treating hair loss, consult your doctor before adding a new remedy.
DIY Bronzer: To make an all-natural bronzer, combine cinnamon, cocoa powder and cornstarch until you have a color that suits you (more cornstarch for a lighter color and more cocoa powder for a darker color). Add plain, unscented lotion and mix well. Store in a clean jar with lid.
Ant Eliminator: Ants have an aversion to cinnamon. Sprinkle some along windowsills to deter ants. Replace if it gets wet.
Remarkable Wreath: Make a simple yet elegant wreath for your home using cinnamon sticks. With a hot glue gun, attach cinnamon sticks around a wooden wreath ring from your local craft store (you will need about 80 to 120 sticks). Attach a seasonal ribbon and voilá: a handmade wreath.
DIY Diffuser: Skip the chemical-laden store-bought diffusers and make your own. Mix 1⁄4 cup almond or olive oil with 20 to 25 drops cinnamon essential oil in a glass container with a narrow opening. Place four or five reed diffuser sticks in container. Refresh the scent every few days by flipping the sticks.
Olfactory Ornament: Fill your Christmas tree with easy-to-make cinnamon-scented cookie ornaments.
Pain reliever: Some studies have shown cinnamon can provide pain relief. Cinnamon inhibits prostaglandin—a hormone like substance that contributes to muscle contraction and relaxation. Drink cinnamon tea or take a cinnamon tincture.
Victoria Pitcher is Web Editor at Mother Earth Living. Find her on Google+.