Hair raising tales were told about the origin of cinnamon in the days of antiquity. The Arab traders, who held the monopoly in those days, claimed that cinnamon sticks were harvested from the nests of huge phoenix birds. However, the trees that hosted their nests grew on such steep slopes or on the edge of a cliff, that it was impossible to reach them. To overcome the problem the Arabs claimed to use a trick, luring the birds with large hunks of meat. When they lumbered back to their nests with their lure, the nests, unable to bear the weight, would collapse, thus spilling the cinnamon on the ground where the Arabs could more easily pick it. Many such stories were told about the origins of precious spices and magical plants; it added to their mystique and justified the exorbitant prices. Nevertheless, the ancients valued spices highly, and thus did not flinch at their cost. The sweetly fragrant Cinnamon was used as an ingredient of incense, embalming oil, consecration oil, perfume, as well as for the more mundane purpose of flavouring food and wine. Later, when the true origin of cinnamon trees was discovered and wars were fought over spice monopolies, supplies were controlled artificially burning excess stocks in order to keep prices up. Only once the monopoly was broken did precious spices become affordable and thus commonplace.
Cinnamon, the best of which comes from Sri Lanka, has a long history of use. In the traditional medicine of Sri Lanka Cinnamon is used as an astringent, tonic, stimulant and carminative. It eases digestion, cramps and nausea, but could also be of service to treat a paralysed tongue. In western medicine it has long been used as a flu remedy, taken regularly at the very beginning of feeling run down and like one might have caught something, to prevent a full outbreak. Externally, it is applied as a stimulant to ease headaches, neuralgia and rheumatism with its warming and comforting effect. There are even reports that claim it to be of benefit in treating certain types of cancer.
The practitioner can make ample use of Cinnamon's stimulating power. It gives an extra boost of energy to all magical work and focuses the mind on the magical intention. It is excellent to use for cleanses and to purify or consecrate the ceremonial or ritual space. It can open psychic channels and may be useful for divination. It is also often included in love philtres and potions to attract lovers. As an aphrodisiac aroma it can be used in sex magic or tantric practices. Cinnamon is often regarded as a 'good luck' plant that may help to clear energy blockages and thus may help the practitioner to connect with the cosmic flow of his inner resourcefulness, prosperity and riches.