Doesn’t cinnamon smell amazing? It’s so good! And cinnamon bark essential oil smells the same way. But that’s not all this essential oil is good for. It has some exceptional benefits, backed up by lots of research.
So let’s get into the properties, benefits and uses of cinnamon bark essential oil.
Properties of Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
You will actually find two botanical names for cinnamon. The older one is Cinnamomum zeylanicum and the current botanical name is Cinnamomum verum. Both refer to cinnamon or ‘true cinnamon.’
You may see another type of cinnamon called cassia cinnamon or Chinese cinnamon. The botanical name for this is Cinnamomum cassia. Its essential oil is inferior to true cinnamon.
You may also come across cinnamon bark essential oil and cinnamon leaf essential oil. Although, both come from true cinnamon, the composition of the two oils are very different. So when buying cinnamon bark essential oil, you have to verify both its botanical name AND the part of the tree used to make the oil.
Color & Scent
Cinnamon bark essential oil has a golden color and I’m sure you can guess its scent. Spicy, rich, warming cinnamon!
What’s in the oil?
The main compound in this essential oil is cinnamaldehyde. It can make up about 70% of the oil.
Eugenol, beta-caryophyllene, linalool, benzyl benzoate, limonene, alpha-terpinene, beta-terpinene, and gamma-terpinene can also be found in this oil.
Eugenol makes up about 50% of cinnamon leaf essential oil. That’s why the two oils differ.
Benefits of Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
You can find lots of studies proving the incredible benefits of cinnamon bark essential oil. Here are just a few of them.
It is antibacterial
Cinnamon bark essential oil has exceptional antibacterial benefits.
Consider this 2008 study. It tested thirteen essential oils (cinnamon bark, cinnamon leaf, lemongrass, palmarosa, clove, eucalyptus, tea tree, cajeput, oregano, thyme, orange and ajowan) on 65 bacteria samples with varying sensitivities to antibiotics.
The results? Cinnamon bark had the highest antimicrobial activity of all the oils tested. And it was especially potent against the antibiotic-resistant strains.
A later study (2014) agreed with these findings. It found that, at very low concentrations, cinnamon bark inhibited the antibiotic-resistant Acinetobacter sp., the bacteria responsible for most hospital infections.
Awesome right? Well that’s not all. This 2001 study found the vapor of cinnamon bark essential oil had strong antibacterial benefits too!
It is also antifungal
Again, there are so many studies proving this essential oil has incredible antifungal benefits. For instance, a 2006 study tested 75 essential oils on Aspergillus niger, the common fungi responsible for black mold in fruit. The study found cinnamon bark, cinnamon leaf, cassia (cinnamon), clove and lemongrass were the top five anti-fungal essential oils. Yep it’s powerful!
And here’s another interesting study (2010). It found the antifungal activity of cinnamon bark and ginger essential oils were comparable with amphotericin B, an antifungal drug used for serious fungal infections.
Finally, this 2005 study identified cinnamaldehyde as the main antifungal compound in cinnamon bark essential oil. So it’s pretty safe to say cinnamon bark is a powerful antimicrobial oil.
It is antioxidant
Lab studies like these from 2010 and 2015 have confirmed the essential oil of cinnamon bark has good antioxidant benefits. In fact, these benefits were comparable with the antioxidant activity of alpha-tocopherol, BHT and BHA.
The studies went on to suggest both cinnamaldehyde and eugenol were responsible for cinnamon bark’s antioxidant effects.
It may have anticancer benefits
There’s a 2010 study that demonstrated the cytotoxic, apoptotic and anti-carcinogenic effects of cinnamon bark essential oil on mutated and normal cells.
What does that mean? Cinnamon bark oil is toxic to both mutated cancer cells and normal cells. So that’s why it is not recommended for use on your skin or at high concentrations.
Cinnamon bark oil is insecticidal
A 2011 study looked at the effects of cinnamon bark and cinnamon leaf essential oils on three mosquito species. Both oils showed good ‘knock-down’ and mortality against the species.
Again, cinnamaldehyde was the active insecticidal compound for cinnamon bark essential oil.
It is also effective against lice
A 2005 article published in the International Journal of Parasitology tested cinnamon bark essential oil on the eggs and adult females of human head lice (Pediculus humanus capitis). The oil was found to be slightly less effective than two chemicals used to kill lice – phenothrin and pyrethrum. But these chemicals have no effect on the eggs. On the other hand, the study found cinnamon bark essential oil prevented egg hatching even at very low concentrations.
This essential oil really is potent. Here is a quick look back at the benefits of cinnamon bark essential oil:
Uses of Cinnamon Bark Essential Oil
The benefits of cinnamon bark essential oil are amazing. But there’s a catch. Remember when I said the oil was found to be toxic to both mutated cancer cells and normal cells? Well, that’s why no one uses this oil on their skin. It can seriously damage it. It’s a known skin irritant. And it’s sensitizing.
Bottom line? Don’t use it on your skin. Period!
I would suggest instead using low concentrations of the oil when you are cleaning, disinfecting, and fumigating your home. You have seen it is a powerful antimicrobial and insecticidal oil. So use it for such purposes. Be sure to handle the oil with proper gloves and safety clothing.
Finally, even the vapor of this essential oil is potent. So check with your doctor before using cinnamon bark essential oil.
Where to buy cinnamon bark essential oil?