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A Guide To Cinnamon Essential Oil and Its Benefits and Uses

Guide To Cinnamon Essential Oil and Its Benefits and Uses (with photo of cinnamon tree)

"Love, in all its many guises, speaks through cinnamon, to touch those hidden areas of the self that we have denied love access to," writes aromatherapist Valerie Ann Worwood in Aromatherapy For the Soul.

She goes on to say the emotional benefits of cinnamon essential oil are to encourage invigoration, benevolence, strength, energy, confidence, motivation, and generosity.

True cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) is a shrub or small tree native to Sri Lanka (formerly known as Ceylon). This cinnamon is also called Cinnamomum zeylancium or Ceylon cinnamon.

Cinnamon oil is available distilled from tree bark (cinnamon bark essential oil) or from the leaves (cinnamon leaf essential oil). The chemical composition of the two oils is different. The oil from the bark contains a high percentage of cinnamaldehyde and a small percentage of eugenol. The oil from the leaves contains a high percentage of eugenol with a small percentage of cinnamaldehyde.

Another species of cinnamon is Cinnamomum aromaticum (also called Cinnamomum cassia, cassia, or Chinese cinnamon). Like cinnamon bark, cassia essential oil contains large amounts of cinnamaldehyde. Do not confuse cassia with cinnamon.

Cinnamon bark essential oil is strong and some aromatherapy sources recommend avoiding it in favor of the leaf oil. However, other sources recommend the bark oil as more effective. Keep in mind both the bark and leaf oils can sensitize and irritate skin, so you need to use them with care. Even a strong diffusion of cinnamon may irritate the mucous membranes of the nasal passages and eyes — for diffusion, blend cinnamon with a citrus essential oil to lower the risk of irritation.

Basic Cinnamon Facts

Plant family: Lauraceae

Production: Steam distilled from the leaves or bark of the cinnamon tree.

Aroma: Warm, pungent, earthy, spicy.

Perfume/Aromatic note: Base to middle

Is cinnamon essential oil safe to use during pregnancy? No.

Is cinnamon essential oil safe for children? Some sources recommend not using cinnamon with children under age five.


Cinnamon is a strong oil that can irritate skin. Essential Oil Safety suggests no stronger than a 0.07% dilution (1 drop in 7 teaspoons carrier oil) of cinnamon bark or a 0.5% dilution (1 drop in 1/2 teaspoon carrier oil) of cinnamon leaf.

Cinnamon bark oils may be adulterated with cinnamon leaf or cassia. Read labels: I saw a company on Amazon selling a product labeled as cinnamon bark, but when I read the details, I found it was actually Cinnamomum cassia. The two are not the same.

Aromatherapy for Health Professionals suggests avoiding cinnamon bark oil if you have a liver condition or alcoholism or when taking acetaminophen (the active ingredient in Tylenol). The reason for the suggestion is cinnamaldehyde may deplete glutathione, an antioxidant the liver uses to help break down toxins for removal from the body.

Main components:

Bark Oil

  • (E)-Cinnamaldehyde   63.1–75.7%
  • Eugenol                     2.0–13.3%                   
  • (E)-Cinnamyl Acetate  0.3–10.6% 
  • Linalool                      0.2–7.0%                   

Leaf Oil

  • (E)-Cinnamaldehyde   0.6–1.1%%
  • Eugenol                     68.6–87.0%                 
  • (E)-Cinnamyl Acetate  0.8–4.6%
  • Linalool                      2.0–5.0%

Source: Essential Oil Safety, 2nd edition

Cinnamon Aromatherapy Benefits and Uses

Aromatherapy: A Complete Guide to the Healing Art: The scent of cinnamon relieves tension, steadies nerves, invigorates the senses, and acts as an aphrodisiac. The oil may improve appetite and aid digestion.

Aromatherapy for Dummies: Cinnamon is a "mover and shaker" that is an emotional stimulant, physical stimulant, and aphrodisiac. The scent may help reduce depression, drowsiness, irritability, pain, digestive distress, and headache pain/frequency.

The Complete Book of Essential Oils and Aromatherapy: Cinnamon leaf helps relieve fungus, fevers, coughs, flu, muscle injury, aches and pains, rheumatism, arthritis, cold arms and legs, general physical debility, exhaustion, and fatigue.

The Encyclopedia of Essential Oils (updated edition): Use cinnamon leaf oil for tooth and gum care, warts, nervous exhaustion, stress-related conditions, cold, and flu. The oil may also improve sluggish digestion.

Essential Oils for Immunity by KG Stiles: During the winter months enjoy cinnamon leaf's warming and elevating scent in your aromatherapy diffuser. You can also diffuse the oil to relieve brain fog and the winter blahs. The warm fragrance makes this oil excellent for warming your mind and emotions and dispersing feelings of loneliness.

Aromatherapy Bible: Use cinnamon leaf in a diffuser to prevent colds and flu. Highly diluted in a massage oil, apply the blend to the abdomen to relieve digestive complaints. "Psychologically, cinnamon is fortifying and reviving... warming, invigorating, restorative, and uplifting... [The aroma] restores a zest for life and restores courage."

Aromatherapy and Subtle Energy Techniques: Cinnamon leaf strengthens, invigorates, and motivates. Especially useful for the third chakra.

The Essential Guide to Aromatherapy and Vibrational Healing: Spiritually, cinnamon essential oil increases psychic awareness. Use the oil with the intention of increasing your intuitive skills. Mentally, this essential oil supports cognitive function and wakes you up. Emotionally, cinnamon increases your confidence and self-esteem.

Here are a few other uses for cinnamon essential oil:

  • Include the oil in a warming liniment for tight muscles, painful joints, and menstrual cramps and to improve circulation.

  • Add cinnamon to your homemade cleaning products to help fight germs. To get rid of musty smells from a garbage disposal: First, run soapy water down the drain. Then add 5 drops of cinnamon bark and 3 drops of lemon essential oil and let them sit for up to an hour.

Cinnamon and Blood Sugar

Research has suggested that cinnamon may help control blood sugar. However, the effects resulted from using whole cinnamon or its extract, not cinnamon essential oil. An April 2011 analysis, Cinnamon intake lowers fasting blood glucose: meta-analysis, concluded whole cinnamon or its extract improves fasting blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes or prediabetes.

Research from the USDA suggests using one-half teaspoon of cinnamon extract a day could dramatically improve blood sugar, cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglycerides in people with type 2 diabetes. Although some websites extrapolate the effects of cinnamon extract to the essential oil, the USDA states the active ingredient is in the water-soluble part of cinnamon powder and is not found in the fat-soluble cinnamon oil.

Buy Rocky Mountain Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil

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Photo Credit: David J. Stang [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons