Phoenix, the legendary bird that rises from its ashes in mythology, uses cinnamon, myrrh and spikenard (ever heard of that one?) to build the magic fire from which it magnificently emerges in rebirth. Remember Harry Potter! During the Middle Ages the Arabians brought cinnamon and other spices from Asia to Egypt. They invented the story of the cinnamologus bird to hide the source of the cinnamon and to justify its scarcity and high price. Their mythical cinnamologus bird made nests of cinnamon sticks but the Arabs claimed they did not know where the birds sourced the precious cinnamon. They only knew, they said, that obtaining the cinnamon required them to dislodge the birds from their perilous, cliff-hanging nests and heroically steal their cinnamon branches. Cinnamon candy is a bit easier to come by these days.
Cinnamon is also mentioned in Sanskrit writings and in the Bible. Ancient Hebrews it is said, used cinnamon oil as part of holy anointment. The Egyptians used cinnamon oil in ceremony and in the mummification process and to make an area holy. Stone records indicate that the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses III offered 246 bundles and 86 measures of cinnamon to the gods and goddesses on one occasion, and on another occasion 3,036 logs of the same rare spice.
Cinnamon, it is believed by some, has the power to heal or to inspire love or lust, to invoke power, provide protection and bring about enhanced spirituality and success. As a psychological stimulant cinnamon is burned as incense and creates high spiritual vibrations which aids healing and also stimulates psychic powers. Cinnamon was used by the Chinese to purify the temples and the Egyptians to make an area holy. If a person is superstitious they will tie cinnamon sticks over the door of their home as a protective charm.
Medicinally cinnamon is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium. It has been used for thousands of years in the East to help with the symptoms of cold, flu, digestive disturbances and as a physiological stimulant. Cinnamon has an anti-clotting effect on the blood, possibly because it stimulates blood flow. A Copenhagen University study of arthritic patients showed some interesting results. Patients were given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder mixed with a tablespoon of honey each morning before breakfast. The study found that all had significant arthritic pain relief after one week and could walk without pain after a single month.
Several studies have shown that a 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon a day can lower LDL cholesterol. Other studies suggest that cinnamon has a regulatory effect on blood sugar and the ability to cure yeast infections. If those aren’t reason enough to put teaspoon in hand, there is some early research which may show cinnamon reduces the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
Of course today cinnamon is used widely as a flavoring in such future mythological divine products as Altoids sugar free gum, Xtreme hot salt water taffy, Hot Tamales candy, Horchata Licks lollipops and of course cinnamon toothpicks!