Of cinnamon and cloves

Years ago when I was suffering from a very painful sore throat, my oldest sister suggested that I drink a “tea” made by boiling a cinnamon stick and a bunch of cloves in some water until the color is rich mahogany. Optional additions include ginger root and cardamoms. It proved to be a most soothing concoction and has become my mainstay in fighting the oft recurring viral attacks we all suffer, especially in the northeastern winters. In a public radio discussion yesterday I heard of a recent study performed in Pakistan, looking at other amazing benefits of cinnamon. Truly exciting!

As for cloves, according to the American Cancer Society website, they “are said to have antiseptic (germ killing) and anesthetic (pain-relieving) properties. Undiluted clove oil is often applied topically to relieve pain from toothaches and insect bites. Some proponents also claim that, taken internally, cloves and clove oil combat fungal infections, relieve nausea and vomiting, improve digestion, fight intestinal parasites, stimulate uterine contractions, ease arthritis inflammation, stop migraine headaches, and ease symptoms of colds and allergies. ” Not to mention it’s use as a fish anesthetic, or claims that clove oil can repel snakes and mosquito, and cure ear aches. Apparently European doctors used to breath through leather “beaks” filled with cloves to ward of the plague (here)! Very impressive range, but there’s still little scientific evidence for most of these. Learn more here.

In the meantime, enjoy your cinnamon toast crunch or sprinkle cinnamon on your granola.