Related entry: Cinnamomum camphora
I. Cinnamomum Saigonicum. Dried bark of an undetermined species of Cinnamomum. Chiefly from China.
II. Cinnamomum Zeylanicum. Dried bark of cultivated Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Breyne. (Nat. Ord. Lauraceae.) Ceylon.
Common Names: Cinnamon; (1) Saigon Cinnamon; (2) Ceylon Cinnamon.
Principal Constituents.—A volatile oil (Oleum Cinnamomi), tannin, and sugars. (Oil of Cinnamon of medicine is Cassia Oil (Oleum Cassiae) derived from Cinnamomum Cassia (Nees), Blume.)
Preparations.—1. Specific Medicine Cinnamomum. Dose, 5 to 60 drops.
2. Oleum Cassiae, Oil of Cinnamon (Cassia Oil), a yellowish or brownish fluid becoming darker and denser by age and exposure, and having the odor and taste of cinnamon. Dose, 1 to 5 drops.
Specific Indications.—Passive hemorrhages.
Action and Therapy.—Cinnamon is an aromatic stimulant, carminative and astringent. Besides it possesses marked internal hemostatic power. That this is not wholly due to the tannin contained in the bark is shown by the prompt action of the tincture of the oil. Oil of Cinnamon has properties which make it nearly specific for certain conditions. While no tests have been made that convinces one of its power over germ-life, there seems to be no question that some such germicidal action is exerted by it in acute infections, as "common colds," and as la grippe or epidemic influenza. Aromatic bodies, like cinnamon and camphor, have been overlooked in recent years, though the use of the latter has been revived as an antiseptic stimulant in pneumonia. That they possess antibacterial virtues we believe will be found true should investigations be made of them in that line. Cinnamon imparts a flavor to unpleasant medicines and may be used to preserve them from rapid changes. Medicines dispensed in but few drops in a half glass of water will not keep sweet long at any time and will quickly sour in summer time. A few drops of Specific Medicine Cinnamon added to such mixtures give an agreeable sweetness and aroma and will help the medicine to preserve its balance for several days. Children invariably like the flavor. Even cinnamon can be overdone, however. It should not be added day after day for a long period lest the stomach revolt and the taste recoil. Nor should much be put in mixtures for little children, for if overdone it smarts the mouth severely; nor should it be employed when the mouth is irritated or ulcerated. When too much has been added the oil of cinnamon separates and floats upon the surface, and if thus given it is decidedly irritant. If the medicine to which it has been added in over-amount is too valuable to throw away, the excess of cinnamon may be easily removed by lightly sweeping over the surface with a clean piece of bibulous paper-blotting paper or filter paper-or a firm, non-crumbling piece of bread.
Cinnamon is frequently employed as an ingredient of mixtures to restrain intestinal discharges, and the powder with or without chalk or bismuth, or its equivalent in infusion has long figured in the treatment of diarrhea and acute dysentery, though it does not equal in the latter condition other agents which we now use specifically. In diarrhea it should be used in small doses if of the acute type, and in large doses in chronic non-inflammatory and non-febrile forms. It warms the gastro-intestinal tract and dispels flatus, being decidedly useful as a carminative. It has the advantage of preventing griping when given with purgatives, and it enters into the composition of spice poultice, a useful adjuvant in the treatment of some forms of gastro-intestinal disorders.
Cinnamon has been proved in Eclectic practice to be a very important remedy in hemorrhages. It acts best in the passive forms. The type of hemorrhage most benefited is the post-partum variety, though here it has its limitations. If the uterus is empty and the hemorrhage is due to flaccidity of that organ due to lack of contraction, then it becomes an important agent. Then it strongly aids the action of ergot and should be alternated with it. If retained secundines are the provoking cause of the bleeding, little can be expected of this or any other agent until the offenders have been removed. Cinnamon should be frequently given, preferably a tincture of the oil, though an infusion might be useful, but it cannot be prepared quickly enough or be made of the desired strength. Specific Medicine Cinnamon is a preferred preparation. Oil of erigeron acts very well with it. In menorrhagia, even when due to fibroids and polypi, it has had the effect of intermittently checking the waste: but only a surgical operation is the rational course in such cases.
Other hemorrhages of a passive type are benefited by cinnamon. Thus we have found it a very important agent in hemoptysis of limited severity. In such cases we have added it to specific medicine ergot and furnished it to the patient to keep on hand as an emergency remedy. By having the medicine promptly at hand the patient becomes less agitated or frightened, and this contributes largely to the success of the treatment. Rest and absolute mental composure on the part of the patient and the administration of cinnamon have been promptly effective. If not equal to the emergency, then a small hypodermatic injection of morphine and atropine sulphates will usually check the bleeding. When used with ergot in pulmonary hemorrhage probably more relief comes from the cinnamon than from the ergot, for ergot alone is far less effective. We are told that ergot does not act as well in pulmonary bleeding as in other forms of hemorrhage because of the sparse musculature and poor vaso-motor control of the pulmonic vessels. But cinnamon has given results which have been entirely satisfactory. Hemorrhages from the stomach, bowels, and renal organs are often promptly checked by the timely administration of cinnamon.
The Eclectic Materia Medica, Pharmacology and Therapeutics, 1922, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D.