Cinnamon has been known from remote antiquity, and it was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was regarded as a gift fit for monarchs and other great potentates. Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka. It was imported to Egypt from China. It is possible that the Arabs established an early monopoly on trading in cinnamon, and kept its origin a secret for hundreds of years. Cinnamon is harvested by growing the tree for two years and then coppicing it. The next year, about a dozen shoots will form from the roots. These shoots are then stripped of their bark, which is left to dry. Only the thin inner bark is used; the outer woody portion is removed, leaving meter-long cinnamon strips that curl into rolls on drying; each dried roll comprises strips from numerous shoots packed together. These rolls are then cut into 5–10 cm lengths for sale. The name cinnamon is correctly used to refer to Ceylon cinnamon, also known as "true cinnamon". However, the related species are sometimes sold labeled as cinnamon, sometimes distinguished from true cinnamon as "Chinese cinnamon", "Vietnamese cinnamon", or "Indonesian cinnamon”. Ceylon cinnamon, using only the thin inner bark, has a finer, less dense, and more crumbly texture, and is considered to be less strong than cassia. Cassia has a much stronger (somewhat harsher) flavor than cinnamon, is generally a medium to light reddish brown, hard and woody in texture, and thicker as all of the layers of bark are used.
Cinnamon bark is widely used as a spice. It is principally employed in cookery as a condiment and flavoring material. It's used in the preparation of chocolate. In medicine it acts like other volatile oils and once had a reputation as a cure for colds. It has also been used to treat diarrhoea and other problems of the digestive system. The essential oil of cinnamon also has antimicrobial properties, which can aid in the preservation of certain foods. Cinnamon has traditionally been used to treat toothache and fight bad breath and its regular use is believed to stave off common cold and aid digestion. Cinnamon has been proposed for use as an insect repellent. Cinnamon leaf oil has been found to be very effective in killing mosquito larvae. It is reported that regularly drinking of tea made from the bark could be beneficial to oxidative stress related illness in humans, as the plant part contains significant antioxidant potential. The next is Ginger.
Ginger is a spice which is used for cooking and is also consumed whole as a delicacy or medicine. It is the underground stem of the ginger plant. The characteristic odor and flavor of ginger root is wonderful. Young ginger rhizomes are juicy and fleshy with a very mild taste. They are often pickled in vinegar or sherry as a snack or just cooked as an ingredient in many dishes. They can also be stewed in boiling water to make ginger tea, to which honey is often added as a sweetener; sliced orange or lemon fruit may also be added. Mature ginger roots are fibrous and nearly dry. The juice from old ginger roots is extremely potent and is often used as a spice in Indian recipes to flavor dishes such as fish or mutton and vegetarian recipes. Powdered dry ginger root (ginger powder) is typically used to spice gingerbread and other recipes. Fresh ginger can be substituted for ground ginger although the flavors of fresh and dried ginger are not exactly interchangeable. Ginger is also made into candy, is used as a flavoring for cookies, crackers and cake, and is the main flavor in ginger ale a sweet, carbonated, non-alcoholic beverage. Fresh ginger should be peeled before cooking. For storage, the ginger should be wrapped tightly in a towel and placed in a plastic bag, and can be kept for about three weeks in a refrigerator and up to three months in a freezer. The medical form of ginger was classified as a stimulant and carminative, and used frequently for dyspepsia and colic. It was also frequently employed to disguise the taste of medicines. Ginger is on the FDA's 'generally recognized as safe list. Ginger may also decrease joint pain from arthritis and useful for treating heart disease. Ginger compounds are active against a form of diarrhea. Ginger has been found effective in multiple studies for treating nausea caused by seasickness, morning sickness and chemotherapy. A variety of uses are suggested for ginger. Tea brewed from ginger is a folk remedy for colds. Three to four leaves of Tulsi taken along with a piece of ginger on an empty stomach is an effective cure for congestion, cough and cold. Ginger ale and ginger beer have been recommended as "stomach settlers" for generations and ginger water was commonly used to avoid heat cramps. Ginger has also been used to treat inflammation,
In India, ginger is applied as a paste to the temples to relieve headache and consumed when suffering from the common cold, people use ginger for making tea, in food etc. In the United States, ginger is used to prevent motion and morning sickness. It is recognized as safe by the Food and Drug Administration and is sold as an unregulated dietary supplement. During the next issue we will discuss about some different plants that has got very good medicinal effects.