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Cinnamon comes from a tree. People use the bark to make medicine.
Cinnamon bark is used for gastrointestinal (GI) upset, diarrhea, and gas. It is also used for stimulating appetite; for infections caused by bacteria and parasitic worms; and for menstrual cramps, the common cold, and the flu (influenza).
Cinnamon bark, as part of a multi-ingredient preparation, is applied to the penis for premature ejaculation.
In foods, cinnamon is used as a spice and as a flavoring agent in beverages.
In manufacturing, cinnamon oil is used in small amounts in toothpaste, mouthwashes, gargles, lotions, liniments, soaps, detergents, and other pharmaceutical products and cosmetics.
There are lots of different types of cinnamon. Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon cinnamon) and Cinnamomum aromaticum (Cassia cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon) are commonly used. In many cases, the cinnamon spice purchased in food stores contains a combination of these different types of cinnamon. See the separate listing for Cassia Cinnamon.
The oils found in cinnamon bark are thought to reduce spasms, reduce gas (flatulence), and stimulate the appetite. Cinnamon might also increase blood flow. Cinnamon bark also contains a chemical that might work like insulin to lower blood sugar. However, these effects are thought to be fairly weak.
There are also ingredients in cinnamon bark called tannins that might help wounds by acting as an astringent, and also prevent diarrhea.