Laurus Cinnamomum. Cinnamon.
Related entry: Cinnamomum camphora
Description: Natural Order, Lauraceae. Cinnamon was long classed under the genus Laurus; but possesses so few of the characters of that tribe as now to be placed in a separate genus of the Lauraceae: CINNAMOMUM ZEYLANICUM. This is the true technical name of the plant; but having by accident been omitted in the proper place in this work, is here introduced under the above caption.
The cinnamon is a tree growing wild in Ceylon, reaching the height of thirty feet; but is much cultivated there and in some parts of China, and is not permitted to grow above ten feet. It is grown in large clamps, presenting the beautiful appearance so peculiar to the evergreen laurels. "Branches somewhat four-cornered, smooth. Leaves opposite, ovate or ovate-oblong, tapering into an obtuse point, three-ribbed, reticulated on the under side, smooth. Panicles terminal and axillary, stalked. Flowers somewhat silky; calyx six-cleft, with the limb deciduous; stamens twelve, in four rows, three inner ones abortive. Fruit a berry, in the cuplike base of the calyx." (Wight.)
The inner bark of the young branches is the medical portion. The best is obtained from the young shoots which spring up from the roots in a cluster after the parent stem has been cut down. These shoots are usually cut once in three years, the bark peeled from them by making two or more longitudinal incisions. The outer and pulpy epidermis is peeled off, and the layers of thin inner bark placed one within the other; and as these dry they roll inwardly, forming long "pipes." The true bark is thin, smooth, readily splitting lengthwise, breaking transversely with a splintery fracture. It is very fragrant, with a sweet and warming aromatic taste. Coarser qualities (properly CASSIA) are brought from Malabar and China; and these have a thick and somewhat woody bark, which breaks transversely with a short and resinous fracture, and possesses less fragrance and aroma than the true cinnamon. The bark contains a volatile oil, obtained by distillation; which at first is yellowish, gradually becomes reddish, is heavier than water, and has a strong and purely cinnamonic taste and smell.
Properties and Uses: Cinnamon bark is one of the pleasantest of the spices, warming, diffusibly stimulating, and leaving behind a gentle astringent influence. It acts upon the stomach, and through it upon the whole sympathetic system–also promoting assimilation, and stimulating the entire nervous and arterial organisms to a moderate extent. It is not allowable in febrile or inflammatory conditions; but is useful in atony of the stomach, looseness of the bowels with griping and flatulence, coldness of the surface, nervous depression, sympathetic nausea and vomiting, and even in passive uterine hemorrhage. It is rarely depended upon alone, but is usually added to tonics, griping cathartics, and diaphoretics; and as a cooperative adjuvant, is among the pleasantest and most acceptable. The dose in substance ranges from five to twenty grains.
The oil is used for the same general purposes, but is not astringent. It is rarely given alone, but is employed in a variety of compounds.
Pharmaceutical Preparations: I. Cinnamon Water. Twenty ounces of bruised cinnamon are mixed with two gallons of water, and one gallon distilled over. Or half a fluid drachm of the oil may be rubbed with sixty grains of carbonate of magnesia, and afterward triturated with a quart of water, in the usual manner for Medicated Waters. It is used as an adjuvant.
II. Tincture. Three ounces of cinnamon are treated carefully in the percolator with diluted alcohol till two pints have passed. Dose, half a fluid drachm to two fluid drachms. Used as an adjuvant.
III. Aromatic Powder. Cinnamon, four ounces; pimento, three ounces; ginger, asarum, and cardamon, (freed from their capsules,) each, one ounce. Procure the powders separately, and then mix with a pound and a half of fine sugar. This is a preparation similar to one of the same name in the American and other Pharmacopoeias, each having a formula of its own. It is an excellent aromatic and stimulating compound for faintness and sudden prostration, and a good adjunct to more positive articles.
The Physiomedical Dispensatory, 1869, was written by William Cook, M.D.
It was scanned by Paul Bergner at http://medherb.com