Guìzhī – Cinnamomum cassia

Cinnamon plant leaves & twigs


  • 桂枝
  • Cinnamon twig

Botanical Information

  • Cinnamomum cassia
  • We use the twigs, especially the very tips of the twigs
  • Member of the Lauraceae family, which includes bay and laurel

Chinese herb theory information

  • One of the most commonly used medicinals in Chinese herbalism, certainly one of the most powerful. Many layers of function.
  • Herb that releases the exterior (meaning one of its functions is to treat external invasions such as colds and flus), but it has MUCH wider utility than that.
  • Associated with the Heart, Lung and Bladder organ systems
  • Pungent (which really means “spicy” in this context) and slightly sweet in flavor. Note, “flavor” is more than just the taste one gets in the mouth from the herb.
  • Warm in nature / temperature
  • Is a slightly different species than the commonly used culinary cinnamon.

Uses & Notes

Guìzhī is a famous Chinese herb used in a huge variety of formulas treating everything from the common cold to musculoskeletal pain to palpitations and anxiety. There is almost no body system this herb cannot impact, and it is easily tolerated by most patients. Chinese herbalists also use the trunk bark of a different species of Cinnamon, in that case it is called Ròuguì.

Most people have some experience with Cinnamon and thus know that it is somewhat sweet and spicy with a real warmth that, when taken in a big enough dose, can make the whole body feel warm and cozy. This represents its action to go to the surface, where it helps us deal with external pathogens such as those that cause the common cold. But one of the most important impacts of Guìzhī is on the Heart. It helps to strengthen the Heart Yang, helping to treat symptoms like anxiety, palpitations, a caving-in sensation in the chest and all kinds of biomedical cardiac disorders.

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