No longer will you ignore your cinnamon until December for wreaths and cookies. In fact, there are numerous ways to use cinnamon, one of the world's oldest known spices that is regarded by many cultures to have magnificent healing properties. Ancient Egyptians used cinnamon for the embalming process and in various medicines. In traditional Chinese medicine, cinnamon is a celebrated herb used to warm the body and boost blood circulation. The health benefits of cinnamon come from its wealth of anti-fungal, anti-bacterial and antioxidant qualities.
Natural diffuser: Take a new lightbulb and add one drop of essential oil of cinnamon to the outside. When you turn the lights on next, the heat will naturally diffuse the warm smell throughout the room. That will help reduce odors from permeating your house.
Reduce the risk of urinary tract infections and yeast infections: Cinnamon is wrought with anti-bacterials, which can help control candida in the body because cinnamon lowers blood sugar levels. Cinnamon also helps with urinary discharge. Studies have found that cinnamon extracts and cinnamon oils have anti-parasitic and anti-fungal properties and can help treat infections caused by bacteria and candida. Next time you feel something funky brewing, chew on a piece of cinnamon bark.
>> Learn more about cinnamon in the Glossary of Foods.
Kill athlete's foot fungus: Kill the fungi by soaking your feet in a warm cinnamon bath. To make the soak, boil water and add a few cinnamon sticks. Immerse your feet for a couple minutes every night to reduce the fungus that lives between your toes!
Natural bronzer: Do it yourself and make your own bronzer by combining cinnamon, cocoa powder and corn starch. For a lighter color, add more corn starch. For a darker color, add more cocoa powder. Then mix well with unscented lotion, put in a jar and store in a cool, dry place.
All-purpose cleaner: Make your own all-purpose cleaner with a wonderful wintery scent. Combine 1½ cups of vinegar, 1½ cups of water and 20 drops of essential oil of cinnamon in an old glass bottle. Store in a cool, dark place because essential oils oxidize in the sunlight.
Ant stopper: Ants hate the smell of cinnamon because it confuses their ability to tell fellow ants where food is located. Insects have an aversion to this smell. Make the ants high-tail it out of your house by sprinkling some cinnamon on windowsills and at the base of doors.
Dry skin scrub: Exfoliate the natural way with this DIY scrub. It combines sea salt, almond and olive oils, honey and the warm spice, cinnamon. Rub away dead skin cells and moisturize your derm at the same time, without any harsh chemicals!
Increase cognition: By wafting a few cinnamon sticks or an essential oil of cinnamon, your brain will boost its cognitive functions. A small study showed that merely smelling cinnamon can improve memory and motor functions.