A popular stimulant in Chinese medicine, cinnamon is harvested from trees usually after they have reached 7 years of age. Its outer bark is the common spice; the inner bark contains more oil and has stronger medicinal effects. Cinnamon bark is used to treat abdominal disorders, menstrual pain, infertility and some forms of asthma. Characterized as hot, acrid and sweet according to traditional Chinese medicine, the best quality has a thick skin and is oily and fragrant.
Cinnamon bark is available fresh or dried at Chinese pharmacies, Asian food markets and some Western health food stores. It is normally taken in the form of powder, pill or tincture, in which the crushed bark is mixed with alcohol.
Combinations: Chinese herbalists prescribe cinnamon bark together with the roots of Asian ginseng and of Chinese foxglove cooked in wine to treat palpitations of the heart and shortness of breath. A Chinese medicine practitioner can advise you on dosages and additional herbal combinations.