Cinnamon Bark - Rou Gui
Products Featuring This Herb:
Ten Complete Supertonic
Golden Book Teapills
Golden Book Teapills Economy Size
Ten Flavor Teapills
Other Common Names
Page # In Ancient Wisdom of the Chinese Tonic Herbs
Cortex Cinnamomi Cassiae
Yang Jing, Qi and Blood
Acrid and Sweet
Organ Meridian Systems
Primarily Kidney and Circulation-Sex, but also Spleen, Heart and Liver
Part Used and Form
The shade-dried inner bark of the trunk and thick branches, from which the outer cork has been scraped of.
Supplementing fire of the vital gate to strengthen Yang, dispelling cold to relieve pain, warming up and clearing the channels.
Chinese Cinnamon bark is a strong essence tonic that promotes good circulation and powerful internal energy. It is sweet and spicy and is considered to have a very hot energy. Cinnamon bark is said to increase the Yang energy and sexual vitality. The best Cinnamon bark in the world comes from Southeast Asia from trees where the bark is, at its best, almost a half inch thick and over twenty years old.
Chinese Cinnamon bark is one of the most warming of all herbs. It is a strong Yang tonic that may be used to correct syndromes of Kidney Yang deficiency which will generally present itself by an aversion to cold, cold hands and feet, weak kidneys, backache and lack of sexual energy. It is widely used in combination with Yin and Yang Jing tonic herbs and with Qi tonics to build energy and to fire up sexual energy.
Cinnamon bark promotes good circulation and enables Qi to circulate freely. It has a hot energy which warms the body at its core. Cinnamon bark is used to warm up cold visceral organs and to calm the nerves. However, its energy is said to “move upwards and float”. In moving upwards it disperses energy blocks in the neck and shoulders and therefore relieves tension in this area. In moving outward (“floating”), it warms the flesh. Prolonged use is said to result in a more youthful, rosy cheeked complexion and will help clear the skin of blemishes. It is also used medicinally to treat headaches, abdominal pain, especially when combined with licorice root and to promote menstruation.
Cinnamon bark will open the energy channels of the abdomen and it can dispel even severe chills. If used when a person experiences “flushing up”, a condition where heat rises in the body making the upper part of the body hot and the lower part cold, it will help regulate the energy so that heat becomes distributed properly.
One other feature of cinnamon bark is its antipyretic activity. An antipyretic is a substance that lowers surface body heat when the surface is abnormally hot and unable to release the heat. When you first consume cinnamon bark, you mainly feel warm, but over a very short time it can actually help to cool you down if you are too hot. It is sometimes used in Chinese medicine to reduce fevers.
Cinnamon Bark also generates Qi and Blood, especially when combined with Qi and Blood tonics such as Astragalus. Use with Tang Kuei for menstrual pain due to poor circulation.
Extracts from cinnamon bark have shown in vitro anti-fungal and antibacterial activity and the volatile oil from cinnamon has shown anti-viral activity. The volatile oil, which is responsible for cinnamon’s flavor, has also shown cardiovascular effects which can lower blood pressure in cases of high blood pressure. Cinnamaldehyde, one of the main active ingredients in cinnamon bark, has been shown to have sedative activity in mice and has shown hypothermic and antipyretic (fever reducing) activity as well.
Preparation and Utilization
Because of the extreme power and spiciness of cinnamon bark, it is usually used in conjunction with other tonic herbs which are milder. Use very small amounts of cinnamon bark, as its flavor and effects are very powerful. Its taste becomes bitter if boiled and the important volatile oils are evaporated off. So cinnamon bark is not added to boiling concoctions except at the very end during the last few minutes unless the cooking is taking place in a closed system where the oils can be trapped and retained.
So when making a tea which includes cinnamon bark, it is best to use a ginseng cooker, since the herb brew will not quite boil and yet the essence of the herbs will be thoroughly extracted. If you use an herb cooker, you may add the cinnamon for the last fifteen minutes of cooking. If you are not using a ginseng cooker and are simmering a brew in a regular pot, add the cinnamon bark during the last ten minutes, but only after you have turned the flame down to it’s very lowest so that the brew is no longer boiling. And keep the lid on.
- Ginger and Aconite to warm up the body in case of chill
- Peony to relieve blood stasis
- Ginseng Root and Deer Antler to tonify and stimulate the primal yang
Varieties and Grading
Cinnamon is a very highly prized herb and premium grades can be very expensive. China produces a wide range of qualities of Cinnamon bark, so the consumer has to be alert to what they are buying. The Cinnamon is grown in the very southern areas of China that border on Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar (Burma). This is hot, tropical territory which produces superb Cinnamon. Most Cinnamon bark sold will be in small broken pieces that are thin, almost like a potato chip. This low grade Cinnamon bark is inexpensive and is of only moderate quality because it is too young. The very best Cinnamon bark comes in large pieces that is perhaps 1/4 inch thick. It will always be sold with some fanfare because great Cinnamon bark is rare. The taste will be very hot, but also very pleasantly sweet. It is usually possible and recommended to sample a little piece before buying.
Frankly, even middle grade cinnamon bark is very powerful and delicious to chew on. Often you can buy wonderful Cinnamon bark that is old and thick but that is broken into small chunks. This is an excellent buy because it is very delicious, very effective and not very expensive — a great value all the way around. Just remember, the hotter and sweeter, the better. The real greatness in the expensive premium varieties is in the effect on the Kidney function and on how it warms the body. Consuming good cinnamon bark is by no mean just a taste sensation — it makes you feel good. It warms your flesh and has a relaxing effect on the nerves that is very pleasant. That is one reason why people like it. The very finest cinnamon bark, according to all the Asian connoisseurs, comes from Southeast Asia, especially from Vietnam. These specimens will be the most expensive and have the most powerful effect. But high grade common Chinese cinnamon bark will suffice for all your real tonic needs.
This herb should not be used by those who have a hot constitution or feverish condition.