Please note that you should never self-prescribe TCM ingredients. A TCM ingredient is almost never eaten on its own but as part of a formula containing several ingredients that act together. Please consult a professional TCM practitioner, they will be best able to guide you.
Preparation: Remove impurities and the exterior skin. Crush before use.
Dosage: 1 - 6 grams
Main actions according to TCM*: Warms the Spleen and Kidneys and tonifies the Yang. Expels Cold, Warms the meridians, promotes circulation of Qi and Blood and relieves pain. Used with tonics to assist in the generation of Qi and Blood.
Contraindications*: This herb should not be used by those with Yin Deficiency with Heat signs or when there is Interior Heat; it should be used with extreme caution during pregnancy.
Source date: 1624 AD
Number of ingredients: 10 herbs
Formula key actions: Warms and tonifies Kidney Yang. Replenishes the Essence. Tonifies the Blood.
Rou Gui is a king ingredient in You Gui Wan. Like the name indicates, it means it has more power than other ingredients in the formula.
Source date: 1742 AD
Number of ingredients: 6 herbs
Formula key actions: Tonifies Qi and Blood. Nourishes Yin.
Rou Gui is a deputy ingredient in Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang. This means it helps the king ingredient(s) treat the main pattern or it serves to treat a coexisting pattern.
In Ren Shen Dang Gui Tang, Rou Gui promotes Qi and Blood creation. Despite its Hot nature which would normally worsen Yin Deficiency (since Yin is Cold in nature), a small quantity in the formula acts as a 'spark' to promote the generation of Blood and Yin.
Source date: 650 AD
Number of ingredients: 15 herbs
Formula key actions: Anti-rheumatic, clears Wind, Cold and Damp Stagnation. Strengthens the function of the Liver and Kidney. Tonifies Qi and Blood.
Rou Gui is an assistant ingredient in Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang. This means that it either serves to reinforces the effect of other ingredients or it moderates their toxicity.
In Du Huo Ji Sheng Tang, Rou Gui warms and unblocks the Channels and fortifies the Yang. It opens up the lower back and is an important herb for treating lower back pain.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), cinnamon bark are plants that belong to the 'Herbs that warm the Interior and/or expel Cold' category. Herbs in this category are used for Internal Cold with Qi Deficiency and/or Yang Deficiency. In the Yin and Yang system of thought Yang is Hot in nature. A deficiency of Yang will therefore lead to Internal Coldness since there will as a result be more Yin (Cold in nature) than Yang. In extreme cases this can lead to so-called 'Yang collapse' with convulsions or coma and these herbs are particularly indicated to treat such scenarios.
As suggested by its category cinnamon bark are plants that are Hot in nature. This means that cinnamon bark typically help people who have too much "Cold" in their body. Balance between Yin and Yang is a key health concept in TCM. Those who have too much 'Cold' in their body are said to either have a Yin Excess(because Yin is Cold in nature) or a Yang Deficiency (Yang is Hot in Nature). Depending on your condition cinnamon bark can help restore a harmonious balance between Yin and Yang.
Cinnamon bark also taste Pungent and Sweet. The so-called 'Five Phases' theory in Chinese Medicine states that the taste of TCM ingredients is a key determinant of their action in the body. Pungent ingredients like cinnamon bark tend to promote the circulations of Qi and Body Fluids. That's why for instance someone tends to sweat a lot when they eat spicy/pungent food. On the other hand Sweet ingredients tend to slow down acute reactions and detoxify the body. They also have a tonic effect because they replenish Qi and Blood.
The tastes of ingredients in TCM also determine what Organs and Meridians they target. As such cinnamon bark are thought to target the Spleen, the Heart, the Kidney and the Liver. In TCM the Spleen assists with digestion, Blood coagulation and Fluids metabolism in the body. In addition to regulating Blood flow, the Heart is believed to be the store of the 'Mind' which basically refers to someone's vitality. The Kidneys do not only regulate the urinary system but also play a key role in the reproductive system and the growth and aging process of the body. The Liver is often referred as the body's "general" because it is in charge of regulating the movements of Qi and the Body Fluids. It also takes a leading role in balancing our emotions.
5 g dose of Cassia cinnamon may reduce the peak blood glucose response and improve glucose tolerance following an oral glucose tolerance test.1
1. Gutierrez JL, Bowden RG, Willoughby DS. ( 2016). Cassia Cinnamon Supplementation Reduces Peak Blood Glucose Responses but Does Not Improve Insulin Resistance and Sensitivity in Young, Sedentary, Obese Women. J Diet Suppl. , 13(4):461-71. doi: 10.3109/19390211.2015.1110222. Epub 2015 Dec 30.
Cinnamon bark are also eaten as food. It is used as an ingredient in dishes such as Cinnamon Buns or Hong shao rou.