Herb Library

Back to Herb Menu     Back to Index

DISCLAIMER: These pages are presented solely as a source of INFORMATION and ENTERTAINMENT and to provide stern warnings against use where appropriate. No claims are made for the efficacy of any herb nor for any historical herbal treatment. In no way can the information provided here take the place of the standard, legal, medical practice of any country. Additionally, some of these plants are extremely toxic and should be used only by licensed professionals who have the means to process them properly into appropriate pharmaceuticals. One final note: many plants were used for a wide range of illnesses in the past, but be aware that many of the historical uses have proven to be ineffective for the problems to which they were applied.

(Canella winteriana syn Canella alba)
image Image


CONTAINS: Voilatile oil, gum, starch, canellin, resin, albumen, mannite.
OIL CONTAINS: Eugenol, cineol, terpenes.

A shrubby, evergreen, aromatic tree to 30-50 feet, native to southern Florida, the Keys, the Bahamas, and the West Indies. Bark is gray and aromatic; leaves are evergreen and alternate to 4 inches; small red to purple flowers with yellow anthers appear in clusters at the top of the branches; fruit is an oblong berry (crimson to black) which starts out green, then turns to blue or red, and finally black with 4 black small seeds inside and a gelatinous pulp.

PROPAGATION: RIPE WOOD CUTTINGS with a heel in spring.
NEEDS: Grown as a crop in well-drained, sandy soil in sun. Hardy to zone 10b.
HARVEST: LEAVES as needed (used fresh or dried); BARK which is dried in quills for oil distillation or for use as a condiment.
PART USED: Leaves; the inner bark with the corky layer beaten off, then dried for use (powdered for use with aloe); oil.
Canella arillaris: Native to Brazil.


Bitter, aromatic, antimicrobial.
The powdered bark has been used as a stimulant and appetite stimulant.
Has been used externally in Cuba for rheumatism.
Has been used in the West Indies combined with aloe for constipation and menstrual difficulties.
Has been combined with other herbs for digestive problems.
Was once used to treat scurvy.

!All others buy commercial preparations and follow directions carefully!
POWDER = 10 to 40 grains

The leaves and bark are used as condiments.
The dried bark is used in spice mixtures.

The dried bark has been added to smoking tobacco.
In Jamaica, the fruits are fed to pigeons to impart a spicy flavor to the flesh.
The dried flowers have a musk-like fragrance when placed in warm water.
The oil is sometimes used in perfume to produce an Oriental note.
Canella is one of the 21 plants used in Santeria initiation ritual.
In Puerto Rico the bark has been used as a fish poison.

©2005 by Ernestina Parziale, CH