Herbs A-Z: Citrus & Cinnamomum

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This week’s herbs are orange peel & cinnamon. Each one has multiple varieties: sweet orange, bitter orange, cassia cinnamon, “true” cinnamon, etc.

Citrus x aurantium and C. x sinensis are the bitter and sweet orange, respectively. Not just an excellent flavoring agent (although that counts for a lot!), citrus peel makes a nice gentle digestive bitter and is a classic in cocktail bitter blends. It’s great in mulled cider or wine, but also a nice cooling drink in the summertime. If you’ve only had citrus as juice – or, on the other end of the spectrum, orange oil as a cleaning product – we recommend drying your own organic citrus peels and working with them in tea!

Cinnamomum cassia is sometimes just called cassia, or cassia cinnamon. C. verum is the “true” cinnamon, a bit sweeter and less astringent by comparison. Cinnamon is a great relaxant to the viscera and the lungs, one of our favorites in a wintertime blend for spasmodic coughs. It’s got an interesting relationship with water and can act as an astringent or demulcent depending on how you prepare it. Cinnamon is also helpful for improving blood sugar regulation, and achieves this in the best possible way for long-term support.
These quick plant profiles were done off-the-cuff & on-the-spot. If you enjoyed them, we have more! Our organized & comprehensive presentation of our herbal allies is in the Holistic Herbalism Materia Medica course. We have detailed profiles of 90 medicinal herbs! Plus you get everything that comes with enrollment in our courses: twice-weekly live Q&A sessions, lifetime access to current & future course material, discussion threads integrated in each lesson, guides & quizzes, and more.

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