Everything about “Ceylon Cinnamon”

Cinnamon (Cinamomum Zylanicum) is listed under Lauraceae family and more than 250 species and subspecies can be found. Cinnamon is recognized as one of the tops in the spices trading in ancient human history. Although there are many cinnamon varieties, “Ceylon Cinnamon” is the most expensive and most famous. It is only available in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). The whole world called it “True Cinnamon”. The aroma and flavor of Ceylon Cinnamon are very special due to its chemical properties.

Discovery of Ceylon Cinnamon

Best cinnamon they have ever seen

Baling "Ceylon Cinnamon" during 1800s
Baling “Ceylon Cinnamon” during 1800s Colonial period.

Portuguese sea captain, Lourenço de Almeida came to Ceylon in 1505. He was the first Portuguese voyager who came to this beautiful Island, by then it was called “Thaprobane” and they named it by the name “Ceylon” (by now Sri Lanka). Portuguese were traders and they came for spices. Due to the strategic business opportunity, the king of Kotte, Vira Parakrama Bahu, cordially welcomed them. In 1518 they discovered Cinnamon in this topical Island and realized that it is the best cinnamon they have ever seen.

Chemical components of Ceylon Cinnamon

More than 80 natural chemicals

Ceylon Cinnamon contains more than 80 natural chemicals. The bark of the cinnamon tree contains mainly Starch, Pro-anthocyanidol Oligomers, and a small amount (around 2%) of essential oil. The essential oil contains cinnamaldehyde (around 75%) and also eugenol (10%). Also, the essential oil can be obtained from dried cinnamon leaves which contain around 90% eugenol and around 3% cinnamaldehyde.

According to laboratory experiments, Cinnamon essential oils are highly antibacterial and antifungal. Scientists believe Cinnamaldehyde is a depressant and it acts to protect the cardiovascular system. Cinnamon power stimulates appetite and digestion, therefore it helps to gain bodyweight.

Different kinds of Cinnamon

Their quality and benefits are different.

Cinnamon can be categorized based on their growing locations and their chemical components. Although all of them are called cinnamon, their quality and benefits are different.

According to the Global market, below are the main cinnamon categories.

  1. Ceylon (True/ Pure) CinnamonCinnamomum zeylanicum syn. Cinnamomum verum, Cinnamomum zeylanicum blume
  2. Cassia
    • Chinese cassia (Chinese cinnamon) – Cinnamomum cassia syn. C. aromaticum
    • Vietnamese cassia (Saigon/ Vietnamese cinnamon) – Cinnamomum loureiroi
    • Indonesian cassia (Korintje Cinnamon) – Cinnamomum burmannii

Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia belong to the same family Lauraceae.

What is Ceylon cinnamon?

(True/ Pure cinnamon)

During 1800s Colonial period.
During 1800s Colonial period.

It is this small Island (Pearl of the Indian Ocean), Sri Lanka that supplies 90% of the world’s cinnamon demand. Pure Ceylon cinnamon is expensive and rare. And also, Ceylon cinnamon is the fourth most expensive spice in the world. They glow well on the solid of this tropical Island, and their chemical structure is unique. Moreover, Sri Lankan farmers use traditional methods to process and produce pure cinnamon.

Why Ceylon cinnamon is called “True Cinnamon”?

Unique chemical structure and unparalleled health benefits

Ceylon Cinnamon

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum – family Lauraceae) cultivated in Sri Lankan soil and handcrafted by traditionally skilled workers is called “Ceylon Cinnamon” in other words, it is famous as “True Cinnamon”.

Ceylon cinnamon is the fourth most expensive spice in the world. It is because of its unique chemical structure and unparalleled health benefits. This particular spice has ultra-low coumarin value. Too much coumarin is not good for health. Coumarin is a particular chemical substance that is abundant in cassia. That is where Ceylon cinnamon is different because Ceylon cinnamon’s coumarin content is very low.

Present-day “Ceylon Cinnamon” is a world-renowned brand name. This has become the most sort after spice in the world. Sri Lanka exports True Cinnamon to Spain, Europe, Ecuador, Colombia, Guatemala, Peru, Chile, and Bolivia. The main markets are Mexico and the USA.

What is Canela?

The word Canela is a word from Spanish and its meaning is Cinnamon. Canela is used in Mexico. They call it Mexican Cinnamon or True Cinnamon. What is important here is Mexican people never cultivate cinnamon in their country. They import Ceylon True Cinnamon from Sri Lanka and sell them in Mexico under the name “Canela”. Actually, Canela is another name for Ceylon True Cinnamon.

What is Chinese cassia?

Chinese Cassia

Chinese Cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia/ Chinese cassia) is cultivated in southern China and also can be seen in South and Southeast Asia, especially in India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Laos, Thailand, and Indonesia.The bark of the tree is used as Cinnamon spice.

What is Vietnamese cassia?

Vietnamese cassia

Vietnamese cassia (Cinnamomum loureirii) grows in higher mountain regions in Central and Northern Vietnam. This tastes in spicy and contains a high level of oil. Same as all other Cassia, Vietnamese cassia contains a high level of coumarin.

What is the Indonesian cassia?

Indonesian Cassia

World’s largest Cassia cultivation is in Indonesia,  especially in West Sumatra and western Jambi province in Indonesia. Indonesian Cassia is the cheapest and mainly available in the US spice market.

Difference between Ceylon True Cinnamon and Cassia

Both are totally different Spices

Both are totally different Spices. Especially the amount of the “coumarin” content in Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia are totally different. Cassia contains a higher value of “coumarin” and Ture Cinnamon contains a lesser amount. Taking too much of “coumarin” is not healthy for the human body.

Ceylon Cinnamon Cassia Cinnamom
Ceylon Cinnamon ‘Cinnamomum Zeylanicum blume’ is indigenous to Sri Lanka.Cassia can be found in China, Vietnam, and Indonesia 
Taste: Ceylon Cinnamon is full of lighter, brighter citreous tones.Stronger and hotter taste
Color: Tan-brownReddish dark brown. 
Shape: Thin and papery and forms multiple layers when rolled up.Rougher thick bark which forms just a few layers when rolled up. 
Easy Fragility feature in Ceylon CinnamonCassia Cinnamon is pretty tough to grind.
Expensive Cheap
Difference between Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia

Cinnamon Products can be seen in different forms.

Best quality cinnamon comes in different forms

Cinnamon sticks in bale form

Cinnamons are graded and bundled together as approximately 0.9m tp 1.1m sticks. Normally each bale is around 25 to 40 kilos in weight. 

Cut Cinnamon sticks

Large cinnamon sticks are cut into smaller sticks according to the customer requirements. Normally they are 2 to 8 inches in length. And also they are categorized into different grades according to their quality. Weight can be varied from 100g to 1.5kg.

Featherings

Twisted shoots and twigs of inner bark are called featherings.

Chips

Once making cinnamon sticks, remaining unpeelable barks are beaten and removed. They are small chips.

Cinnamon powder

Cinnamons are grinded and made into power. Cinnamon powder is used for different purposes including cooking and ayurvedic treatments.  

Leaf oil

Cinnamon Leaf oil is produced through the steam distillation process. Normally Leaf oil is extracted through traditional field distillation.Cinnamon leaf oil contains Eugenol. Oil is used as a spice flavour and as a source of Eugenol.

Bark oil

Same as Leaf oil, bark oil is also extracted from steam distillation of cinnamon bark. Cinnamon Bark oil contains around 70% cinnamaldehyde and 2 to 13% of  eugenol.

Cinnamon Bark oil is very expensive and its quality depends on the extraction process and material used. 

Miraculous Health Benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon

Cinnamon can improve your health

  1. Cinnamon has a high content of cinnamaldehyde, which can improve human health.
  2. Cinnamon is full of Antioxidants.
  3. Cinnamon is packed with Anti-Inflammatory Properties.
  4. Cinnamon May lower the Risk of Heart Disease.
  5. Cinnamon has the ability to Improve Sensitivity to the hormone insulin.
  6. Cinnamon is known for anti-Diabetic and it has a wonderful ability to lower blood sugar level.
  7. Cinnamon may be a solution for Neurodegenerative Diseases.
  8. Some researchers believe Cinnamon has a miraculous Cancer prevention ability.
  9. Cinnamon can fight against Fungal infections and some Bacterias.
  10. Cinnamon may have a positive effect on the HIV Virus.

It is advisable to use Ceylon Cinnamon

There are different types of cinnamon in the market as we have mentioned above, but some of them contain harmful chemical components to the human body. In order to get better results, It is important to use Ceylon True Cinnamon.

Where Can you find Genuine Ceylon Cinnamon?

Our advice is to find a genuine seller from Sri Lanka with a better track record. Also, there are some reliable online stores where you can genuine Ceylon Cinnamon and its various products.

Reference:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/

https://www.srilankabusiness.com/blog/

Picture Credits:

https://pixabay.com

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