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Celebrate and appreciate one of the world’s favorite ancient spices by getting excited about National Cinnamon Day. So grab a favorite cinnamon treat and read on to learn more about this delicious spice and the ways it has been part of human history for thousands of years!

History of National Cinnamon Day

Native to Ceylon, which is modern day Sri Lanka, cinnamon’s first recordings are from Chinese writings that date as far back as 2800 BC. Even today in the Cantonese language, cinnamon is still known as “kwai”. And in the Malay language, it goes by “kayumanis”, which means “sweet wood”. This is certainly an apt description of this spicy but uniquely sweet flavor.

During medieval times, doctors found that cinnamon worked well as a treatment for coughs, sore throats and hoarseness. It may also have been considered a status symbol and was often used as a special imported gift given to monarchs, royalty and other people of importance.

Cinnamon, along with other precious spices might seem rather innocuous now, but in the early days of their discovery, several wars were fought over the lands where cinnamon came from. The Portuguese, Dutch and British armies all sought to conquer Ceylon (modern day Sri Lanka) in an effort to obtain full access to their spices.

Today, sourcing cinnamon comes with much less angst and political struggle as, for most people, it’s easy to simply pop over to the local grocery store, health food store or spice shop to pick some up. Typically cinnamon can be found in two varieties, ground or whole. Ground cinnamon is used in many different recipes for baking and cooking, while whole cinnamon sticks are more often steeped into beverages or infused into flavoring syrups.

Of course, cinnamon is really the star of the show when it comes to the beloved pumpkin pie spice. Combined with allspice, nutmeg and clove, cinnamon is the base for this grouping of flavors that represents all things fall.

In honor of National Cinnamon Day, it’s time to get creative and enjoy cinnamon in a whole myriad of ways!

National Cinnamon Day Timeline

2000 BC

Spices are exchanged along the Silk Road

A network of sea routes link East to West, from Japan all the way over to Europe, and cinnamon is one of the spices traded on this route.[1]

65 AD

Emperor Nero burns cinnamon

Nero is said to have burned a year’s worth of Rome’s supply of cinnamon at his wife’s funeral. [2]

14th Century

Portuguese explorers find cinnamon

While traders brought the spice to the West, the place where it originates from is kept secret until the Portuguese discover it in Ceylon.[3]

Early 1800s

British take over Ceylon

Defeating the Dutch occupiers, the British take over the island country of Ceylon, gaining full access to cinnamon. [4]

1930s

Cinnamon candy is made

Produced by the Ferrara Pan Candy Company, Red Hots are made using the panned method of candy making.[5]

How to Celebrate National Cinnamon Day

Get excited about cinnamon and enjoy National Cinnamon Day with some of these fun and clever ideas for celebrating:

Eat Something Cinnamon

From cinnamon candy to cinnamon rolls and everything in between, National Cinnamon Day is best celebrated by enjoying the flavors of this delicious spice. Whether it’s simply grabbing a pack of cinnamon gum from the local convenience store, or a cinnamon latte from a local coffee shop, this is the day to enjoy all things cinnamon!

In fact, while often associated with sweet things in the West, cinnamon is also often used in savory dishes in many cultures. From curries to mole sauces to barbecue rubs, cinnamon can be used in every meal of the day for breakfast lunch and dinner!

Try a cinnamon roll or a healthy bowl of oatmeal flavored with cinnamon for breakfast. Lunch could consist of a Hawaiian pizza topped with pineapple, ham and almond slivers, sprinkled with delicious cinnamon. And dinner? Well, a big vat of butter chicken, cinnamon green lentil soup or chicken shawarma would do nicely, thank you very much!

Learn the Health Benefits of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is more than just a yummy way to flavor foods and beverages! It is also a natural substance that offers a whole host of properties that may be beneficial to human health. There’s a reason that it was often offered as a gift to kings! 

Consider some of these interesting benefits of including cinnamon as part of a healthy diet: 

  • Cinnamon is full of antioxidants. Fighting off free radicals is the name of the game when it comes to preventing health problems such as cancer, heart disease and other issues.

  • Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can be helpful in fighting off foreign bodies, but too much inflammation can cause huge health problems like arthritis, asthma, diabetes, cancer and so much more.

  • Cinnamon may help prevent heart disease. This unassuming spice has been linked as a way to reduce heart disease, which is the number one cause of death in the world today.

  • Cinnamon can help balance insulin. A serious problem today is insulin resistance which can cause type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Cinnamon can help to reduce the body’s resistance to the hormone insulin and help it do its job well.

Enjoy Baking with Cinnamon

Cinnamon brings a whole host of opportunities for cooking and baking in the kitchen at home. From cinnamon rolls to snickerdoodle cookies, from cinnamon donuts to cinnamon coffee cake, this spice really has it all!

Get creative by adding cinnamon sugar to honey and rolling it in phyllo dough for a pseudo-baklava taste. Or go a bit more traditional by baking an all-American apple pie that is, of course, spiced with cinnamon. Another enjoyable way to use cinnamon is to add it to a traditional loaf of quick bread, such as banana bread, pumpkin bread.

Savor a Cup of Cinnamon Tea

While many people think of cooking and baking with cinnamon, one of the best ways to enjoy this delicious spice is by steeping it into a hot beverage. Teas made from cinnamon can be not only tasty but can also offer a nice way to infuse some of the health benefits that were mentioned above.

So, in honor of National Cinnamon Day, perhaps consider trying out one of these delightful brands of cinnamon tea:

  • Harney & Sons Hot Cinnamon Spice Tea. This is the most popular flavor of this company’s tea that is sold throughout the world, its flavors are of cinnamon, orange peel and sweet cloves. 
  • The Republic of Tea Cinnamon Plum Tea. This is a black tea that is blended with zingy cinnamon spice and offers the calm taste of ripe plums. 
  • Bigelow Black Tea Cinnamon Stick. A classic version with a spicy kick, this black tea is just the right balance of sweet and spicy.

National Cinnamon Day FAQs

Can dogs have cinnamon?

Cinnamon is not toxic to dogs, but it could cause indigestion so it may be best to avoid giving cinnamon to a dog.[1]

Is cinnamon good for you?

Yes! Cinnamon is a healthy spice that contains antioxidants and may be helpful in fighting against heart disease, insulin resistance, and might even protect against cancer. [2]

Where does cinnamon come from?

Originating from trees in Sri Lanka, which is an island in the Indian Ocean, a lot of cinnamon is now grown in Indonesia. [3]

How to make cinnamon sugar?

Cinnamon sugar is easy! Just combine 2 tablespoons of cinnamon with ½ cup white sugar and combine.

Can cinnamon go bad?

Though cinnamon will not usually “go bad”, it can get old and lose some of its strength and flavor.[4]

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