Cinnamon Legends

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Cinnamon

Cinnamon has been known to people since ancient times, as evidenced by the mention of this spice in ancient manuscripts. The Arabs who brought cinnamon to the West carefully concealed its source. In order to discourage Europeans from rushing to prey themselves, overseas merchants told them various bizarre legends. One of these legends, mentioned by Herodotus, says that cinnamon is extracted from the nest of the Phoenix, which takes it away from terrible animals that look like rats and stores it in itself. To get spicy crusts, the hunter offered the bird large pieces of meat. The Phoenix brought them to the nest one by one, and sooner or later, under the weight of the treat, the bottom of the nest would collapse, and the cinnamon would fall down.

Cinnamon sticks and powder on a sackcloth Credit: Rawf8

Aristotle doubted the truth of these myths, and one of his students, Theophastus, first suggested that cinnamon is actually the bark of a tree growing in Arabia. However, this partly true version was also embellished with many incredible details: cinnamon trees are allegedly guarded by hordes of poisonous snakes, and cinnamon gatherers have to wear cowhides to protect themselves from bites, leaving only their eyes open. At the same time, they had to leave a third of the harvest as a gift to the gods.

All these stories, surrounding the exotic spice with a mystical halo, also served to justify the exorbitant price that made it affordable only for very wealthy people. Cinnamon was used not only in cooking, but also in sacred practice. She was credited with the ability to purify the blood and consciousness. Mixed with myrrh, it was used to invoke spirits; cinnamon was also often necessary for the manufacture of amulets that attracted money, love and other benefits to the owner. Those who wish to test the magical power of cinnamon can make themselves a talisman to attract love.

Article adapted from forum

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