Is fresh cinnamon an aphrodisiac?

We read on various websites that cinnamon heats up your body and, in turn, your sex drive and that, besides its direct effect on desire, cinnamon also strengthens the heart. How seriously should we take these claims?

A study by Alan Hirsch, M.D. at the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago, found that cinnamon scored high as an aphrodisiac for males. Hmmmm….

(A reader wrote, in response to this: " There was a survey a few years ago, I think I read it in Harper's Index, that found that the smell that was most sexually arousing for American males was pumpkin pie, which features large amounts of cinnamon, plus ginger and cloves.")

More seriously, we know that in pagan religions cinnamon was associated with the element of fire, the sun and the god Apollo, and that in Chinese medicine cinnamon fortifies the yang, which gets us on the right track. Witches in 17th century Europe were said to use cinnamon to “heat up” a spell, which means to make it happen more quickly or more strongly.

But let’s go to real sources. In the Book of Proverbs (7, lines 16 -18), collected thousands of years ago, we read:

"I have decked my bed with coverings of tapestry, with carved works, with fine linen of Egypt. I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come, let us take our fill of love until the morning: let us solace ourselves with loves."

Best wishes for Valentine's Day.  You know where to get your cinnamon, the fresher the better!