This spice can do more than be added to coffee! The plant — that’s right, it’s a plant — has been used as a natural remedy in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries, and is revered for its anti-inflammatory properties. From fixing Fido’s breath to making your skin glow, this spice has some surprising applications. Sound too good to be true? Check out these 10 brilliant ways to use cinnamon.
Reveal a glowing complexion.
Use cinnamon as a beauty treatment. No need to splurge on pricey products to reveal radiant skin. Instead, combine one teaspoon of cinnamon, One tablespoon of brown sugar, and one tablespoon of olive oil in a small jar. Apply a thin layer of the mixture to your face. Let sit for 10 minutes, then rinse off with warm water. The cinnamon increases circulation for a healthy glow; the sugar exfoliates and the oil moisturizes.
Relieve nasal congestion.
Ugh! You woke up with a stuffy nose and can’t breathe. To the rescue: cinnamon! Fill your slow cooker two-thirds of the way with water, then stir in one tablespoon of the spice and set the appliance to low with the lid off. Cinnamon’s scent opens nasal passages for clearer breathing, while the steam helps ease congestion.
Hide nicks in wood furniture.
While clearing off your wood coffee table, you notice a small nick on the surface. The easy fix: Simply sprinkle a generous amount of cinnamon onto the blemish and rub it in. Let sit, then brush away excess. The spice will leave behind a dark “stain” on the wood, ensuring the spot blends into the rest of the table.
Use cinnamon to freshen stinky doggy breath.
You love when your sweet pet greets you with kisses, but you could do without his doggy breath! The safe and easy solution: Sprinkle Ceylon cinnamon (which is sweet and nontoxic to animals) on his food each day. Vets recommend offering 1⁄6 teaspoon for small dogs and 1⁄2 teaspoon for larger dogs. Cinnamon contains antibacterial properties, so it kills off the germs that cause the unpleasant breath.
Protect clothing from moths.
To keep pests away from the sweaters in your closet, mix one to two tablespoons of cinnamon, a half cup of peppercorns and a half cup of cloves in a coffee filter or square piece of fabric and secure with a rubber band. Then set the sachet in your closet. Moths dislike the strong odor, so they’ll stay clear of your garments.
Outsmart messy oven spills.
If your turkey dripped juice onto the oven floor when you were trying to remove it, sprinkle a mixture of one part cinnamon and six parts salt over the spill. The spice nixes burnt food odor, while salt absorbs the moisture. Once the oven cools, just wipe it clean.
Boost hair growth naturally.
No need to spring for chemical treatments to regrow hair. Instead, whisk one teaspoon of cinnamon, two tablespoon of coconut oil, and one egg in a bowl. Massage into your scalp and thoroughly towel-dry hair. Cover with a shower cap for 20 minutes, and then shampoo and condition as usual. The spice increases blood flow to the scalp to nourish follicles and promote growth, egg repairs damage, and coconut oil adds shine.
Use cinnamon on plants to kill fungus.
While watering the pretty plants on your windowsill, you notice some white powdery spots on the soil, a sure sign of unhealthy fungus. To banish it once and for all, scoop away the moldy soil, and replace it with fresh. Then sprinkle cinnamon onto the top layer. The spice, a natural fungicide, will kill off any lingering mold without harming your plant.
Use cinnamon to soothe chapped lips for pennies.
Crisp fall can leave lips painfully dry and cracked. For fast relief, reach for some cinnamon. To do: Dab petroleum jelly onto your palm and add a pinch of the powder. Then blend well and rub onto lips with your fingertips. Antioxidants in the cinnamon will help repair any damaged tissue, and with daily application, your lips will feel better in no time.
Feel more energized.
When holiday to-do’s have you feeling a bit run-down, give yourself a pick-me-up with a dash of cinnamon. Simply sprinkle the spice into your mug of coffee or tea. Plant compounds in cinnamon help ward off the blood-sugar swings that zap energy, while the spice’s scent is proven to enhance focus.
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.