I’ll happily admit that I’m a cinnamon junkie. I dust ground cinnamon on my hot chocolate froth. I chew cinnamon sticks when I’m studying to help with concentration (and because they taste good). I use triple-strength cinnamon sugar on my toast. I even eat the occasional atomic fireball, because yum. Something about that intense sweet spice with an almost-but-not-quite uncomfortable spike of heat soaks into my brain and body.
Lucky for people like me, cinnamon is good for you. It supports the immune system and promotes skin health. It aids digestive issues and protects your body against environmental threats. It boosts feelings of energy and is rich in antioxidants. It can lift your mood and decrease mental fatigue. On top of all that, the potent aroma is incredibly enticing … warm, intoxicating, spicy, and delicious. Winter or summer, nothing can cheer a room like the sweet scent of cinnamon.
The question is, how to get it into that room? Cinnamon is considered a “hot” essential oil, meaning it’s potent, spicy, and can be overwhelming. Cinnamon contains the constituents cinnamaldehyde and eugenol, which work like capsaicin in chili peppers (the stuff that makes hot peppers seem hot – cinnamon actually has a small amount of capsaicin as well). When you use cinnamon essential oil topically, it has to be carefully diluted to keep your skin happy. And it can be intense when diffused improperly. My first few sessions with cinnamon essential oil in my ultrasonic diffuser were short (remember? I’m a junkie). I added too much and felt it in my nose, on my skin, and in my throat. I had to turn off the diffuser after just a few minutes and open a window. There wasn’t any lasting harm, and I quickly learned to carefully measure the drops I added to the diffuser, and to blend it with other essential oils for a more balanced approach.
For a typical diffuser recipe, I add six drops of essential oil to a cup of room-temperature tap water. Cinnamon requires less … one or two drops for a wonderful, rich scent that doesn’t overwhelm a typically-sized room. Add a second or third oil for a more complex aroma, and more aromatherapy benefits. The sharp scent of cinnamon blends well with the mellow aroma of lemongrass, creamy bergamot, sweet orange, woody frankincense or the softness of lavender. Or, for a surprisingly appealing mix, try blending cinnamon with rosemary. The round herbal aroma of rosemary balances and augments the spike of cinnamon, and the effect is startlingly invigorating. It is my go-to blend when I need mental focus and clarity … the night before my taxes are due, for instance. Or when trying to help my seventh-grader with his math homework.
Remember not to diffuse hot essential oils around cats, and use lower doses around children and people who make have special sensitivity. But don’t be scared to experiment with cinnamon in your diffuser. The potential sweet ambiance is worth it. Now I wrap myself in the warm scent whenever I feel the need for a natural pick-me-up. It is both invigorating and calming and the sweet smell always draws my family into the room and makes my home feel warm and relaxed.