Cinnamon leaf oil is an essential oil extracted from the leaves of Cinnamomum zeylanicum, a tree native to Southeast Asia. It is known for its applications in aromatherapy, as well as its numerous medicinal uses. The oil is obtained via steam distillation of the leaves of the cinnamon tree, which yield a more delicate oil than cinnamon bark. Cinnamon leaf oil is a dark yellow-brown liquid of light to medium viscosity. It exudes a musky aroma with strong spicy notes, followed by a lingering sweetness.
The oil is most commonly used in aromatherapy, because it is known to help invigorate the system and stave off nausea. A few drops of cinnamon leaf oil in a diffuser will noticeably reduce feelings of exhaustion and weariness, and it will provide relief for headaches. The scent of cinnamon also is believed to enhance the libido, making this essential oil a powerful aphrodisiac.
Cinnamon leaf oil's medicinal uses come chiefly from its warming properties. When mixed with massage oil, the heat from cinnamon leaf oil easily penetrates the skin and soothes aching muscles. This same heat provides relief for arthritis, colds, menstrual pain and rheumatism. Blood circulation also increases in areas of the body where cinnamon essential oil is applied.
This essential oil is also known for its strong antibacterial properties. This quality is most commonly used for preserving food. Cinnamon leaf oil also can be evaporated to eliminate any microbes in the air, making it a popular choice for flu prevention.
More unconventional uses for cinnamon leaf oil include pest control and lip enhancement. The cinnamaldehyde, anethole and eugenol found in the oil are known to be very effective in destroying mosquito larvae. More research needs to be done, however, in the oil's feasibility as a large-scale pesticide.
Some cosmeticians suggest mixing in a few drops of cinnamon leaf oil with lip gloss. The oil will increased blood flow to the lips, as well as irritate the mucous membrane. The end result is plumper-looking lips.
Cinnamon leaf oil, however, is a very strong skin irritant. When used in strong concentrations, application of the oil to the skin can result in redness, irritation and burning sensations. In addition, cinnamon leaf oil should not be used by pregnant women, because the chemical compounds found in the oil might adversely affect the developing child. As such, use of the oil must be done only in very dilute concentrations or with the advice of a trained professional.