indian herbs
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Indian Herbs

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Aloe Vera
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Cinnamon
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Cinnamon

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum, synonym C. zeylanicum) is a small evergreen tree 10-15 meters (32.8-49.2 feet) tall, belonging to the family Lauraceae, native to Sri Lanka and South India. The bark is widely used as a spice due to its distinct odour. In India it is also known as "Daalchini". The leaves are ovate-oblong in shape, 7-18 cm (2.75-7.1 inches) long. The flowers, which are arranged in panicles, have a greenish color, and have a distinct odor. The fruit is a purple one-centimetre berry containing a single seed.

Its flavour is due to an aromatic essential oil which makes up 0.5 to 1% of its composition. This oil is prepared by roughly pounding the bark, macerating it in sea-water, and then quickly distilling the whole. It is of a golden-yellow colour, with the characteristic odour of cinnamon and a very hot aromatic taste. The pungent taste and scent come from cinnamic aldehyde or cinnamaldehyde and, by the absorption of oxygen as it ages, it darkens in colour and develops resinous compounds. Chemical components of the essential oil include ethyl cinnamate, eugenol, cinnamaldehyde, beta-caryophyllene, linalool and methyl chavicol.

Uses

Cinnamon bark is widely used as a spice. It is principally employed in cookery as a condiment and flavouring material, being largely used in the preparation of some kinds of desserts, chocolate, spicy candies, tea, hot cocoa and liqueurs. In the Middle East, it is often used in savoury dishes of chicken and lamb. In the United States, cinnamon and sugar are often used to flavour cereals, bread-based dishes, and fruits, especially apples; a cinnamon-sugar mixture is even sold separately for such purposes. Cinnamon can also be used in pickling. Cinnamon bark is one of the few spices which can be consumed directly.

In medicine it acts like other volatile oils and once had a reputation as a cure for colds. It has also been used to treat diarrhea and other problems of the digestive system.

In the media, "cinnamon" has been reported to have remarkable pharmacological effects in the treatment of type II diabetes. However, the plant material used in the study was actually cassia, as opposed to true cinnamon (see cassia's medicinal uses for more information about its health benefits). Cinnamon has traditionally been used to treat toothache and fight bad breath and its regular use is believed to stave off common cold and aid digestion.

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