Make Potpourri and Moth Repellent Using Cinnamon

Edited by Witz Taluban, Robbi, Lynn, Nerissa Avisado and 1 other

Potpourri is as old as time. You have to hand it to the ancient world for its vast knowledge of the uses of herbs and spices. Potpourri comes from pot-pourri, a word of French origin. It refers to a Spanish stew with a variety of ingredients. The word "pot" means the same for the French, Spanish, and English. "Potpourri" before in English often referred to a collection of different items; now we understand it as a collection of fragrant plants that are dried and used to scent buildings and houses.


This practice started in early 17th century in France. Spring and summer were the times that herbs were gathered and left for a day or two before coarse sea salt was added. This was done layer by layer and stirred occasionally. It was an unsightly mix of greyish color due to fermentation and molds. With fall came the adding of spices till a desired fragrance is reached and a fixative preservative like the orris root added to contain the scent. Only then was the finished potpourri placed in a vase or container with perforated lid to diffuse the scent in the room.

Potpourri Materials


Dried rose is a favorite among potpourri lovers. That is one among a large selection of fragrant plants identified by researchers belonging to 300 species from 95 families, to include lichens and fungi. To name a few are allspice, cedar wood shavings, cloves, lemon peel, jasmine, and lavender.

Some potpourri ingredients are toxic like the fruit of the strychnine tree, and those used for moth repellent like juniper shavings, the bark of the pinyon pine and others.

Cinnamon Tree and its Properties

Yes, it's a tree and it's easy to relate to its scientific name, Cinnamomum verum. The cinnamon's' bark is what is used as spice for baking and cooking. But this is not the only reason that it is highly praised. It contains some healing compounds like terpenoids and one of the most potent antimicrobial and antifungal warrior is cinnamaldehyde, while diterpenes in the spice is said to be anti-allergic.

Cinnamon was already mentioned in Chinese manuscripts in 2800 B.C. The Egyptians on the other hand, known for their veneration of the dead, found its properties to be effective in their embalming rituals.


Cinnamon smells great so found its way into the aromatherapy list for spas and the home. People claim the scent brings a feeling of warmth and contentment that it naturally uplifts their spirit. Naturally, it is used as an air freshener, a mouth wash and as an aftershave (cinnamon + rum).

If you are a scent lover or If you want to get rid of moth balls for its awful smell, you will surely enjoy this nifty and inexpensive guide to making your abode or place smell great as well as repel moths.

Making the Potpourri

There are two ways of preparing potpourri: 1- stovetop/wet , 2- dry.

Stovetop/Wet Potpourri

  1. 1
    1. 4-quart Pot or bigger
    2. Water
    3. 4-5 cinnamon sticks or few tablespoons of ground cinnamon (1-2 tbsp.)
    4. Cider (optional)
    5. 1-2 apples (optional)
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  2. 2
    1. Boil some water or cider in pot
    2. Add the cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon (1-2 tbsp.)
    3. Add the apples if you want
    4. Simmer; add water when necessary
    5. Note: In the process of boiling preparation, the scent of cinnamon will permeate the room and replaces old and bad odors.
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Dry Potpourri:

  1. 1
    1. Existing or old potpourri
    2. Pouch of fine or mesh fabric, shallow bowl or vase with a pierced fitted lid to diffuse the scent
    3. A bottle of cinnamon essential oil
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  2. 2
    1. To refresh an old potpourri, sprinkle a few drops of essential oil
    2. With the potpourri in a shallow bowl or pouch, place on top of fridge, a shelf near a doorway or kitchen wherever people pass or congregate
    3. Use to deodorize a bathroom.
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Another Recipe: Cinnamon-based Moth Repellent

This is a great alternative to bad-smelling, chemical moth balls.

  1. 1
    1. 4 cinnamon sticks or powdered cinnamon (1-2 tbsp.)
    2. ½ cup black peppercorns, whole
    3. 1/2 cup cloves, whole
    4. Sewn fabric squares or drawstring pouches
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  2. 2
    1. Break the cinnamon sticks or use powdered cinnamon
    2. Combine all ingredients
    3. Fill fabric squares or pouches with the mixture, say a tablespoon or more
    4. Draw the string or tie and hang in closets, put in drawers and cabinets
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Health Uses of Cinnamon: Why Add it in Homemade Potpourri

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    Reduces diabetic ills
    One-quarter of a teaspoon of cinnamon taken daily by diabetic patients in over a 40-day study (Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center) showed their cholesterol, LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides level went down. In the same study, blood sugar level fell by 30 percent.  
    1. Cinnamon is also effective in reducing insulin resistance. In a report (The Human Nutrition Center at Tufts), it showed that this spice "triples the insulin capacity to metabolize sugar."
    2. This is good news to diabetics with a weight problem as their sugar and hunger cravings shall be reduced.
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  2. 2
    Relieves pain
    S3AM08-06 1.jpg
    Cinnamon reacts with prostaglandin which contributes to the muscles' contraction and relaxation. It helps to reduce pain. In a 2008 study publication, Bioorganic and Medicinal Chemistry, it was found that the damage of bones or breaking down is slowed down with the use of cinnamon.
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  3. 3
    Helps blood circulation
    It thins the blood so aids blood circulation and supplies oxygen to blood cells.
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  4. 4
    Treats acne and skin blemishes
    1. Apply mixture (1 teaspoon of powdered cinnamon with 3 tablespoons of honey) to skin blemishes and let it sit for a few hours or overnight.
    2. Wash off with warm water.
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  5. 5
    Aids digestion
    1. Sip tea water laced with cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of honey, half an hour before eating.
    2. Better add cinnamon to a heavy meat dish. The volatile oil in the cinnamon aids in the breaking down of fats.
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  6. 6
    The mixture of honey and cinnamon
    This is used to treat insect bites which relieves itching, stomach ache, and fights bad breath.
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  7. 7
    Consumption of cinnamon
    S3AM08-07 1.jpg
    This has helped women in heavy menstrual bleeding or childbirth, miscarriage; bladder infection, and cold and flu.
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Tips, Tricks and Warnings

  • Watch out for toxic oils. Essential oil of cinnamon is toxic and best use only in drops, say potpourri, for aroma. Keep in places that children has no access to.
  • Are you "on the way" or breastfeeding? Pregnant and lactating women should not take cinnamon or cinnamon bark in medicinal doses.
  • Beware if you have ulcer. Those with ulcer problem should not drink cinnamon tea.
  • Of allergies and vulnerabilities. Some people are skin-sensitive to cinnamon; test in small part of skin before treatment.
  • Be warned against use of toxic materials. Know that some scented plants used in preparing potpourri and moth repellent are toxic.
    • Avoid using these to prevent any accidental ingestion by children; if included in potpourri, put high above the reach of children.
    • Specifically, these are good materials for moth repellent for its toxicity: wood shavings of cedar, cypress, juniper, and pinyon pine, including its cone and bark (seeds edible), mugwort, and fruit of the strychnine tree.

Questions and Answers

Is potpourri a natural moth repellent? How long is it effective for?

Not all potpourris are natural moth repellent. It depends on what materials you made use and added to it. But you can make a natural moth repellent by adding some essential oils to the potpourri. Several ingredients that you may add are:
cinnamon oil
cedar wood oil
cypress wood shavings

This is effective for months or as long as the scent is still there.

If you have problems with any of the steps in this article, please ask a question for more help, or post in the comments section below.


Article Info

Categories : Cinnamon Usage & Benefits

Recent edits by: Nerissa Avisado, Lynn, Robbi

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