The cinnamon plant has been used as a natural remedy in Ayurvedic medicine for centuries due to its healing, anti-inflammatory properties. But it’s more than just a coffee add-in. There are so many ways to use cinnamon, ranging from clearing sinus congestion to preventing moth infestation, and much more.
1. Reveal a glowing complexion.
Cinnamon increases circulation, so if your skin is feeling dull and drab, liven it up with a cinnamon sugar face mask made with nourishing olive oil, exfoliating brown sugar, and clarifying cinnamon. As always, make sure to do a patch test before applying to avoid potential irritation.
To make, 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. Voila: smooth, baby-soft skin.
2. Relieve nasal congestion.
Woke up with a stuffy nose? Cinnamon to the rescue! To clear your sinuses, fill your slow cooker two-thirds of the way with water, then stir in one tablespoon of cinnamon. Set the cooker to low with the lid off. The strong scent opens nasal passages for clearer breathing, while the steam helps to ease congestion.
3. Hide nicks in wood furniture.
While clearing off your vintage wooden coffee table, you notice a small nick on the surface. One easy fix: Sprinkle a generous amount of dry cinnamon onto the scratch and rub it in. Let this sit, then brush away excess. The spice will leave behind a dark “stain” on the scratched surface, making the imperfection much less noticeable.
4. Freshen stinky doggy breath.
You love when your sweet pet greets you with kisses, but you could do without the doggy breath in your face. The easy solution: Shake some Ceylon cinnamon (which is sweet and nontoxic to animals) on your dog’s food each day. Vets recommend 1⁄6 teaspoon for small dogs and 1⁄2 teaspoon for larger dogs. Cinnamon contains antibacterial properties, and kills off germs that cause bad breath.
5. 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. Place the mixture in a coffee filter or piece of fabric and tie shut with a rubber band. Place the sachet in your closet. The strong odor will make the garments less appealing to moths.
6. Clean messy oven spills.
Spilled turkey or chicken drippings on the floor of your oven? Sprinkle a mixture of one part cinnamon and six parts salt over the spill. The spice will cancel out any burnt odors, and the salt absorbs oil and moisture. Once the oven cools, just wipe it clean.
7. Boost hair growth naturally.
No need to spring for chemical treatments to regrow hair. Instead, whisk one teaspoon of cinnamon, two tablespoons of coconut oil, and one egg in a bowl. Towel-dry your hair thoroughly, and massage the mixture into your scalp. Cover your head with a shower cap for 20 minutes, then shampoo and condition as usual. Cinnamon increases blood flow to the scalp, which nourishes follicles and promotes growth. Plus, the egg repairs damage and coconut oil adds shine.
8. Kill plant 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. Because this spice is a natural fungicide, it will kill off any lingering mold without harming your plant.
9. Soothe chapped lips.
Dry temps can leave lips cracked and chapped. For fast relief, dab petroleum jelly into your palm and add a pinch of cinnamon. Blend well, and rub onto lips with your fingertips. Antioxidants in the cinnamon help repair damaged tissue. With consistent use, your lips will feel better in no time.
10. Give your coffee some spice.
When you’re feeling a bit run-down, give yourself a mood boost with a dash of cinnamon. Sprinkle it into your mug of coffee or tea. Plant compounds in cinnamon help ward off the blood sugar swings that zap energy, while the cinnamon’s sharp scent is proven to enhance focus.
It might not seem that powerful, but cinnamon has a ton of benefits. Try some of these creative uses for cinnamon today, and see for yourself!
This article originally appeared in our print magazine, First For Women.