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WHAT IS CINNAMON

Forms of Cinnamon

Cinnamon is the dried inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree which is used for cooking. It's available as Cinnamon chips (like wood chips), rolled into Cinnamon sticks that are between 2-6 inches long or ground into Cinnamon powder.

The Cinnamon tree also produces Cinnamon Oil from both its leaves as well as its inner bark. This oil is used for a huge variety of applications which include food flavoring like Cinnamon Tea, aroma therapy, disinfectants,insect repellant's, anti bacterial sanitizers,natural pesticides and more.

cinnamon

Varieties of Cinnamon

There are hundreds of types of Cinnamon. But only 4 varieties of Cinnamon are used for commercial purposes. The chart on the right shows these 4 main varieties and their other names. The main variety of Cinnamon is Cassia Cinnamon which is mainly used (70%) in the USA and Canada. The second most popular variety is Ceylon Cinnamon which is primarily used in Europe, Mexico and many parts of Asia. The other varieties like Saigon Cinnamon and Korintje Cinnamon (which are really sub varieties of Cassia Cinnamon) are a distant 3rd and 4th and account for less than 10% of world wide consumption.

Which Cinnamon Is Best

It all depends on how you use it. Cassia Cinnamon is popular in the United States because it has an overt Cinnamon taste, its cheap and quite spicy. It works great for recipes that need a definite Cinnamon taste. It also has high levels of Coumarin (5%) which thins your blood. This is great if you want to loose weight and boost your metabolism but Coumarin causes liver damage if taken in excess.

Ceylon Cinnamon which has about 30% of the US market is fast gaining popularity for health reasons. It has low Coumarin levels (0.04%) and tends to be mild, but slightly sweeter (with zero sugar) but much more aromatic. As many diabetic patients and others have started to take Cinnamon on a daily basis they have switched to Ceylon Cinnamon. Because Ceylon Cinnamon is very mild yet fragrant it is used to create very complex, often savory flavors in Asian curries but also add a sophisticated flavor and aroma to exotic desserts. It's role is to create new flavors not stand out as a Cinnamon flavor.

Health benefits of Cinnamon

While the FDA has not approved or condoned the use of Cinnamon for healthy benefits, historical evidence and some research seems to suggest fairly convincing evidence. Many people have been taking Ceylon Cinnamon in particular for diabetes, cholesterol and general well being. Click here to see a more detailed explanation of all the health benefits with research citations.

Where Cinnamon is Grown

Indonesia (70%), China and Vietnam (Saigon Cinnamon mostly) are the chief suppliers of Cassia Cinnamon varieties while Sri Lanka a tiny Island off the coast India suppliers nearly 95% of Ceylon Cinnamon.

How is Cinnamon Made

The two varieties of Cinnamon are made a bit differently. The cassia Cinnamon is made by cutting the Cinnamon tree trunk and rolling the inner bark into sticks. Because the Cassia Bark is very hard and thick only one piece of bark is used for rolling into a stick. Often the bark is sold as chips for this reason. It makes for great Christmas decorations as it is hard and not easily breakable.

Ceylon Cinnamon sticks by comparison are made using many thin strips of bark, rolled like a cigar. Click here for details on how it is made. It's soft, crumbly and easy to break into smaller pieces. However this labor intensive method of processing makes Ceylon Cinnamon much more expensive.

For more information please visit Wikipedia

Cinnamon Nutritional Value

Two sticks of Cinnamon has high levels of Manganese (73% DV) , Dietary Fibre (13.5% DV) and Calcium (8%). All other nutritional elements of Cinnamon are average. The two interesting elements are Manganese which helps the body use sugar properly and for bone and cartilage development. This Livestrong article on Manganese is very interesting. For detailed Cinnamon nutrition values click here.

 


types_of_cinnamon

Ceylon Cinnamon sticks are soft, crumbly and rolled like cigar with layers of soft Cinnamon bark. All other Cinnamon types look like the Cassia Cinnamon (above photo) and tends to be hard and have only one rolled layer. Notice the color difference. Ceylon Cinnamon is lighter in color while other Cinnamon types tend to be darker in color. Ceylon cinnamon that is bleached with sodium (salt) also tend be even lighter. But our Cinnamon does not use sodium but instead uses steam sterilization which is necessary to get rid of any contamination. This also negates the need for irradiation and thereby preserving the quality and flavor of our cinnamon.

 

Cinnamomum Zeylanicum,
Cinnamomum Verum

Cinnamomum Burmanni

Cinnamomum Loureiroi

Cinnamomum
aromaticum

Other names

Ceylon Cinnamon, True Cinnamon,
Mexican Cinnamon

Korintje Cinnamon, Padang Cassia, Indonesian cinnamon

Saigon cinnamon, Vietnamese cassia. or Vietnamese cinnamon

Cassia Cinnamon or Chinese Cinnamon

Primary Country of Origin

Sri Lanka (90%), India, Madagascar, Brazil and the Caribbean

Indonesia

Vietnam

China

Tree Height

32 - 49 ft.

22 ft.

32 - 49 ft.

Taste

Mild Sweet

Spicy

Spicy Sweet

Spicy Bitter

Color

Light to medium reddish brown

Dark reddish brown

Dark reddish brown

Dark reddish brown

The Good

Ultra Low Coumarin levels, Softer and subtle taste,
crumbly

Cheap
Spicy Cinnamon flavor

Strong spicy cinnamon taste, high levels of oil content

Cheap

The Bad

Expensive
Cannot be used for Christmas decorations

High Coumarin Levels

High Coumarin Levels

High Coumarin Levels

Dangers & Side Effects of Cinnamon

Used properly Cinnamon is a wonderful spice. And the key to using it properly is to know some of the dangers and side effects of Cinnamon. Pregnant women for example should not use Cinnamon. Cassia Cinnamon is a good blood thinner but has high levels of Coumarin, which causes liver damage if taken regularly. . And Cinnamon oil can be a skin irritant or increase your heart rate. For an in depth look at these issues click here.


 

 
 
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