Cinnamon Question

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Jun 6, 2006
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Sacramento, CA. Outside w/ Southeast Exposure
I'm writing my monthly article for NHOS and wanted clarification as to whether or not it is a good idea to use cinnamon on the roots of orchids. There seem to be conflicting reports on the various online orchid sites. I personally don't use it on roots as it seems to me that it's drying nature would deter root growth, but does anyone know for certain?

Okay - *edit*
I found the info I was looking for at RVO, I knew some crazy obsessed orchid person had experimented on this. ;)

FWIW, the experiments showed a lot of dessication among healthy roots dusted with cinnamon, so while I wouldn't recommend using it on roots, it does make sense that it would work as a dessicating factor on something like bacterial rot.

Has anyone actually "saved" a plant from rot with cinnamon (besides me? I have a couple that, after dousing with a good dusting, the rot dried up and spread no further) or are we all just happily dusting away, hoping that maybe the cinnamon is helping, and not just making our plants smell like apple pie?

I dust cuts with cinnamon, but I have no input as to whether I'm treating the cut or treating myself. I doubt most undusted cuts would develop rot anyway.

I used to use sulfur for basal rot but for the past couple years got this "stoprot" paste which is basically bordeaux mix in a thick "ointment" water-insoluble form. this seems to give plants that aren't too heavily afflicted a shot at surviving. I've lost a few growths but most of the time the plant has been OK.
Rootone w/Fungicide

Hi, my first time to post on this forum. I dust the roots with Rootone w/Fungicide. Agway sells it. I was not able to find it at my local Home Depot or Lowes. However, when I pot in s/h, I just pot up in the KLN solution(per Ray, 1 tsp/gallon). The next time I water, I use the MSU solution.
I would think that dusting with cinnamon would not promote root growth.

Well, here's what I wrote.

Actually the article isn't tremendously orchid related, but I find cinnamon pretty fascinating. I write the "Culture Corner" every month for our newsletter and people are *supposed* to email me questions but no one ever has so now I'm resorting to writing about things that interest me. :rolleyes:

Orchids or Apple Pie?

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum), one of the oldest spices known, is derived from the bark of a small Southeast Asian evergreen tree and is available as an oil, an extract, or a dried powder. It’s closely related to cassia (C. cassia) and contains many of the same components. Due to its’ demand, it became one of the first commodities traded regularly between the Near East and Europe. Ceylon cinnamon is produced in Sri Lanka, India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean, while cassia is mainly produced in China, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Cinnamon has a long history both as a spice and a medicine. It was mentioned in the Bible and was used in ancient Egypt not only as a beverage flavoring and medicine, but also as an embalming agent. Cinnamon’s unique healing abilities come from three active components found in the essential oils contained in its bark: cinnamic aldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, and cinnamyl alcohol.

One famous anecdote involving the use of cinnamon involves the story of Four Thieves in Toulouse, France in 1628-1631 who were caught and convicted of going to the houses of plague victims, strangling them in their beds and then looting their dwellings. For this they were condemned to be burned at the stake. Given the virulence and deadliness of the plague, authorities were astonished by the indifference of the thieves to the contagion. In order to have their sentence mitigated, the thieves revealed their secret preservative, a blend of herbs and essential oils including cinnamon and cloves. After this, sponges soaked in cinnamon and cloves were placed in the rooms of the ill and infirm.

Cinnamon has recently been studied for its ability to help stop the growth of bacteria as well as fungi, including the commonly problematic yeast Candida. In laboratory tests, growth of yeasts that were resistant to the commonly used anti-fungal medication fluconazole was often stopped by cinnamon extract. Researchers at the Institute of Food Technologists’ 1999 Annual Meeting presented findings that revealed cinnamon to be a lethal weapon against E. coli. In apple juice samples inoculated with about one million E. coli bacteria, about one teaspoon of cinnamon killed 99.5 percent of the bacteria in three days at room temperature. Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago’s College of Dentistry determined in 2004 that chewing a stick of gum would knock out offensive oral bacteria. Although many extracts showed promise, few proved as potent as oily cinnamic aldehyde, the principal flavor compound in cinnamon.

What does all this have to do with orchids? Cinnamon’s anti-microbial nature makes it the perfect natural preventative for common minor orchid ailments. Dust powdered cinnamon on newly cut or damaged leaf surfaces to help heal the cut. Cinnamon has been effective in arresting the development of minor cases of Erwinia (bacterial rot) in some plants. Remove any affected areas of the plant until you reach healthy green tissue, and then dust with cinnamon. However, because of its desiccating nature, using cinnamon on the roots of orchids may not be the best idea. Informal experiments involving the use of cinnamon on healthy root tips have resulted in the roots drying out and shrinking excessively.
Interesting article, Heather.

I've not used cinnamon on roots. I think it might burn them. but I have used it to stop rot. After I cut off any rot, I usually pour or spray a little hydrogen peroxide on the area. Then when it's dry, I sprinkle it with cinnamon.

In your research, have you found out anything about a product called "Cinnamite"? It was out a couple of years ago, and used as a miticide. It was very strong and had to be diluted quite a lot. But I don't see it advertised anymore. Do you know what happened to it?
Interesting that you use peroxide first, that's a good plan of action!
I was initially going to natural remedies in general but the cinnamon part got so long, I will do something on integrated pest management in another article.

I have not heard of nor seen anything about "Cinnamite". Maybe someone else is familiar with it?