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Natural Awakenings Atlanta

Cinnamon The Fragrant Spice

Cinnamon was highly prized in ancient times as a perfume, medicine, preservative and a flavoring spice. It is the dried, aromatic inner bark of a tropical evergreen laurel species native to India and Sri Lanka. Only small groves of cinnamon trees grew in Arabia, where the spice was so prized that only priests were permitted to gather it, offering the first bundle to the Sun God.

After the bark is peeled from the tree’s shoots during the rainy season, when it is juicy with sap, it is left to dry and ferment for 24 hours. Then the outer layer of the bark is scraped off, leaving the inner, light-colored layer, which curls into quills as it dries. Removing the outer bark makes the cinnamon less biting and mellows its aroma.

Ancient travelers introduced the aromatic herb to the Egyptians, that added it enthusiastically to their embalming mixtures. It was partly the Egyptian demand for cinnamon and pepper that fostered the spice trade and world exploration. Cinnamon has a fragrant spicy

flavor that is slightly sweet and becomes stronger when ground. It is available in either quills or powder; the thinnest bark is the best quality and has the finest aroma. It is best purchased whole and ground as needed or purchased ground in very small quantities and constantly replaced, as it quickly becomes stale. It is a good detoxifying herb because it creates freshness and strengthens and energizes the tissues. It also acts as a pain reliever, promotes digestion and has a natural cleansing action.

Cinnamon contains a substance that kills fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms, including staph infections, botulism and many molds. Cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and clove are all used together as a tea to relieve cough and congestion and promote digestion. It is frequently used in baked goods and adds a warm flavor to mulled wine, puddings, fruit pies, curries, pilafs and creams. Much of the cinnamon sold is actually partly cassia, a related plant of lesser quality.

Many raw food dishes can be created using small amounts of cinnamon, and because it is not heated in the cooking process, it provides the best health benefits.

Raw Apple Cinnamon Nut Delight 9 apples 2 cups raisins 2 tsp cinnamon 2 Tbsp lemon juice 1 cup walnuts 1 cup almonds 1½ cups medjool dates 1/8 tsp. Himalayan salt

Peel, core and seed the apples. Put 2 apples, 1 cup raisins, and1 tsp. cinnamon in a food processor and process into a smooth mixture.

Chop the rest of the apples into bite-size pieces and combine with the lemon juice and 1 cup raisins in a large bowl.

Pour the apple raisin puree over the apples and raisins and mix well. Spoon the mixture into a baking dish and set aside. Pit the dates. Pulse the walnuts, almonds, dates, 1 tsp. cinnamon and salt in the food processor until coarsely ground. Don’t over-process.

Sprinkle the mixture over the apples and press down lightly with your hands and serve right away.

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