Cinnamon is one of the best known and loved spices for its heady and unmistakable scent and its innate versatility. Already widespread and used at the time of the ancient Greeks, Romans and Egyptians, over the centuries it has won the favorable opinion of all the populations that came into its possession. With its renowned therapeutic power, it held a privileged role in the courts and among aristocrats from all over the world and its fame was such that it earned the title of “spice of kings”.
Thanks to its enormous versatility in the kitchen, cinnamon in powder or in sticks it is one of the most consumed spices in the world. In addition to the preparation of delicious and fragrant delicacies well goes well with the welcoming atmosphere of home in the form of essence to be spread in the environment heating it in practical and elegant diffusers or collection in pleasant potpourri for making pretty scented bags for linen and wardrobe.
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History and origins
The origin of this spice much loved begins in the land of the Rising Sun, in distant China where its use was intended above all for artisanal preparations and galenic in the medical field and curative. In fact, its presence is already attested in 2700 BC and, later spread in the Middle East, it was defined by the Arabs “Kin Anomon” or “fragrant plant of China“. Its spread was rapid and consistent and soon from the Far East arrived in Europe after having crossed for centuries Mesopotamia and theEgypt.
Much used among the ancient populations to it were attributed remarkable therapeutic and healing properties as well as a strong aphrodisiac power, knowledge that has reached our days thanks to some writings of the ancient Romans and then confirmed in the sixteenth century.
It seems, in fact, that some people proved this power Renaissance medical treatises where they praised the multiple property of this spice and the real stimulating effect on a sexual and hormonal level. Her powerful healing powers were further confirmed by Mithridates king of Pontus that around the first century BC. C. attributed to this spice an enormous power, such as to be inserted inside his Tiriaca indicating the cinnamon, in combination with other spices and herbs, an important e indispensable antidote to many poisons.
Cinnamon in nature
Cinnamon is a shrub of the family of Lauraceae is It shows up in nature like an odoriferous bark easily recognizable by the color of the stems which appear to the eye with the typical brown – reddish shades. It was originally grown on the famous island of Ceylon, China, India and Madagascar.
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Always highly appreciated it is still considered one of the most important spices today and in ancient times it was combined with prestigious products such as gold, incense and myrrh which, recalling the gifts brought by the Magi to the cave of Bethlehem, raise this spice to the rank of royal gift.
Cinnamon comes down to the present day in different forms based on the various processes of cultivation and production to which it is intended. From plant to table, the cinnamon process is a lot complex how fascinating. It starts from bark, which once engraved comes cut into small strips and left to dry. He sees his final destination protagonist not only at the table, but it becomes soon a decorative element refined and elegant.
The characteristic sticks in addition to giving a pleasant scent to the environment they are used to decorate Christmas centerpieces or intoxicating candles with calming and relaxing power. Cinnamon gastronomic destination sees it protagonist of the kitchen if reduced to dust giving the dishes, both sweet and savory, a fragrant, warm and fragrant touch that envelops in a pleasant atmosphere delicate forest aroma, but at the same time intense and warm.
Properties and benefits
Cinnamon is a spice whose benefits and innate healing properties were already known in ancient times. Among the best known therapeutic properties we remember its function antibacterial and antifungal. It is a useful one remedy in case of seasonal influence and cooling ed is advisable in these cases the preparation of excellent herbal teas, decoctions and infusions combined with other healing herbs such as to be an excellent solution to avoid to resort tofrequent use and harmful of drugs.
It seems to be also useful for fighting infertility states, already among the ancient Romans, in fact, cinnamon was attributed a strong aphrodisiac power, a theory that was later confirmed by medical studies of the ‘500 regarding its stimulating properties afferent to the sexual sphere. Helpful ally in the blood sugar regulation and in reducing cholesterol and triglycerides, the consumption of cinnamon it is also indicated in case of diabetes type 1 or 2 and is a valid support in the prevention of it.
There are many benefits to the gastrointestinal system, in addition to possessing important properties anticancer, promotes learning, improves memory and is of support for women suffering from arthritis, muscle spasms and abdominal cramps due to menstrual pain. Contains a fair amount of vitamins of group A and B in addition to mineral salts such as magnesium, calcium, selenium and copper.
Powder or sticks
Cinnamon we find it on the market in two forms: in powder or in sticks. The use of ground cinnamon is intended for kitchen for preparation of sweets and baked goods, but also for excellent original and fragrant first courses.
It is also widely used in the preparation of herbal teas, infusions and decoctions while the stick, if left to infuse is ideal in the preparation of mulled wine, creams and spoon desserts. It is good practice keep cinnamon in airtight containers well sterilized; if stored without protections, its intense aroma would risk dispersing and no longer guarantee the same fragrance at the time of use.
Between myth and legend
There cinnamon it has been present since ancient times in the gastronomic history and beyond, of many ancient populations. Especially among Middle Eastern civilizations, it has played an important role. Consumed by the nobility and like royal gifts, its sacredness is testified by myths and legends coming from different stories handed down to the present day thanks to the oral tradition.
Apparently this a very precious spice would come used by the Phoenix for the preparation of the its nest and it is from this myth that the famous cinnamon are attributed capacity therapeutic e confirmed curatives also by Ovid in his Metamorphoses, in which he associates the intense and sweet aroma of cinnamon with the mythological animal of the Phoenix.