When most of us think of cinnamon, we may remember a warm, sweet, and fragrant tea warming our cold winter hands on a snowy morning bundled up on the couch. Or perhaps memories of different foods like cinnamon oatmeal or fall time themed cinnamon flavored lattes come to mind. Cinnamon in western culture is often associated with fall and winter. Although these seasonal cinnamon flavored traditions can feel truly heartwarming, the usage of cinnamon is by no simple accident. We are using plant medicine and knowledge passed through generations and cultures that are entirely appropriate for the colder seasons.
Rou gui is a traditional Chinese herb that is commonly used in Chinese medicine. Chinese medicine uses two parts of the cinnamon tree. The outer bark and the twigs. Rou gui is the bark of the cinnamon tree. The herb is commonly used to warm the body and promote circulation, and is often used to treat conditions such as cold extremities, poor digestion, and menstrual cramps. It is also believed to have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Rou gui has a long history of use in Chinese medicine, dating back to the Han Dynasty (206 BCE-220 CE). It is commonly used in conjunction with other herbs to make formulas for various conditions.
In Chinese medicine, rou gui helps warm cold extremities by promoting blood circulation and increasing the flow of Qi throughout the body. It is thought to have a warming effect on the body and to help open up the meridians or channels through which Qi flows. This helps to improve circulation to the limbs and therefore warm up cold winter hands.
Rou gui has several very important benefits for menstrual disorders in traditional Chinese medicine. Some of these benefits include:
- Regulating menstrual cycles: Rou gui is believed to help regulate menstrual cycles and alleviate menstrual cramps by warming the uterus and promoting blood flow.
- Relieving menstrual pain: The warming property of rou gui is thought to help relieve menstrual pain by promoting blood circulation and relaxing muscle tension.
- Treating Amenorrhea: Rou gui is thought to be helpful in treating amenorrhea, which is the absence of menstrual periods.
Rou gui is a commonly used warming herb in Chinese herbal medicine. It is used for various conditions which are mostly related to cold. The next time you are sipping on your custom made, warm herbal tea from your acupuncturist and taste cinnamon, you may not be so far off on your guess.
Katie Steffensen L.Ac.