Scientific: Cinnamomum verum [WikiPedia]
Ceylon cinnamon is considered safe for your pets due to its low levels of courmarin. Courmarin is a natural organic chemical compound that can be found in many plants, including both the Ceylon Cinnamon Tree (its bark is used to make Ceylon Cinnamon) and the Chinese Cinnamon Tree (its bark is used to make Cassia Cinnamon). Ceylon cinnamon does not contain measurable amounts of courmarin, making it safe for dogs to eat. However, Cassia cinnamon is not considered safe because it has higher levels of courmarin, which may pose a potential health risk.
Appearance: Cinnamomum verum is a small evergreen tree native to tropical southern India and Sri Lanka, growing from sea level to almost 3,000 feet. It has been introduced to Madagascar and the Seychelles and is cultivated there extensively. It belongs to the Laurel or Lauraceae family, a family containing diverse genera ranging from the Mediterranean bay tree, to sassafras, paw-paw, and the tropical avocado.
Parts Used: Dried inner bark as a spice, tea, potpourri, tincture, or powdered and encapsulated. Fresh or Dried bark, twigs and leaves distilled as an essential oil.
Common Uses: While there is some controversy regarding the safety of cinnamon for dogs, The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) has ruled it non-toxic. This spice not only smells heavenly, but it provides a number of health benefits as well. Cinnamon has been shown to boost energy and vitality while also improving brain function. Additionally, cinnamon is has natural antifungal properties which helps to protect against the type of fungus which causes yeast infections (these are particularly common in dogs with allergies). When adding cinnamon to your dog’s diet, experts recommend sticking with Ceylon cinnamon, rather than using the Cassia variety that is more common. That’s because Ceylon cinnamon contains much less coumarin, which is a compound that is associated with blood thinning. Cinnamon bark has been used for thousands of years in traditional Eastern and Western medicines. It appears in recorded history dating back to at least 1,700 years B.C.E where it was a component of embalming fluid in ancient Egypt. The Arabs were avid spice traders who provided this spice to the ancient Romans, Greeks, and Hebrews. These cultures treasured cinnamon as a spice. It is believed that it was added to a spiced wine referred to as ‘Hippocras’. Cinnamon is considered to be a warming herb that is stimulating to the circulatory system and soothing to the digestive system. The essential oil is used extensively as a flavouring for soft drinks, baked goods, sauces, confectioneries and liqueurs. It is distilled from a mixture of leaves, twigs and bark, and must be used with caution as a fragrance as it does have skin sensitizing properties.
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PLEASE NOTE that herbal and other natural products can harm your animals – not all plants are safe and gentle! Do not attempt using any of the ingredients listed, or any other plant matter, without the guidance of a qualified herbalist.