Ceylon Cinnamon
Regal Ceylon Tea

Announcing Regal Ceylon Cinnamon

Is your cinnamon the “true” cinnamon? Isn’t cinnamon…cinnamon? What most Americans know as cinnamon is not “true” cinnamon, but “cassia” cinnamon. Cinnamon which comes from the bark of cinnamon trees is sold as cinnamon sticks or powder with the country of origin rarely declared on the package label. There are two main types: Ceylon Cinnamon (also known as “true” cinnamon) and cassia. Ceylon Cinnamon grows in Sri Lanka (formerly Ceylon), the Seychelles and Madagascar. However, only Sri Lanka produces enough of this prized Ceylon Cinnamon for commercial purposes. The other is called cassia or bastered cinnamon. Cassia generally comes from China or Vietnam. American traders turned to importing the cheaper and lesser quality cassia in the early 20th century following a rise in prices of Ceylon Cinnamon, or true cinnamon. However after switching to cassia, traders never changed the name to cassia but continued to refer to it as cinnamon (implying it is Ceylon Cinnamon). Today, there are many reasons why Ceylon Cinnamon, or true cinnamon, should be reintroduced to America and to the rest of the world. Ceylon Cinnamon is very fragrant and more complex with interwoven hints of delicate citrus flavor.

Regal Ceylon Tea

Origin of Cinnamon

It is a fact that cinnamon is only native to the island of Sri Lanka. Cinnamomum Zeylanicum or true cinnamon is only found and grown commercially in Ceylon (Sri Lanka). Hence “Zeylanicum” derived from the island’s historic name of Zeylan given by the Europeans prior to Ceylon and later, Sri Lanka. As early as 2000 BC, Ceylon Cinnamon was considered a prized commodity by the Egyptians. In order to disguise its true origin, Egyptians claimed the origin of cinnamon as China; hence the start of the confusion between Ceylon Cinnamon and Chinese cassia (Cinnamomum Aromaticum).

Difference Between Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia

Cassia is also from the family of Cinnamomum and it is cultivated commercially in China and Vietnam. Cassia is often confused with cinnamon. Ceylon Cinnamon uses the inner bark that is more crumbly in texture, lighter in color, considered to be more aromatic and complex in flavor than cassia. In addition, recent scientific research published by the American Chemical Society’s Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry suggests Ceylon Cinnamon powder and sticks are better since it contains 63 times less and 18 times lesscoumarin respectively, compared to cassia (Source: Quantification of Flavoring Constituents in Cinnamon: High Variation of Coumarin in Cassia Bark from the German Retail Market and in Authentic Samples from Indonesia by Friederike Woehrlin*†, Hildburg Fry†, Klaus Abraham†, and Angelika Preiss-Weigert†: † Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, Thielallee 88-92, 14195 Berlin, Germany J. Agric. Food Chem., 2010, 58 (19), pp 10568–10575, DOI: 10.1021/jf102112p, Publication Date (Web): September 20, 2010, American Chemical Society.

History of Ceylon Cinnamon

The Egyptians imported Ceylon Cinnamon as far as 2000 BC. Ceylon Cinnamon was so highly prized that ancient civilizations offered it to the gods; inscriptions record gifts of cinnamon to Apollo at Miletus. Once upon a time, cinnamon was more valuable than gold. The Hebrew Bible mentions cinnamon many times included Moses’ command to use sweet cinnamon in the holy anointing oil. Cinnamon was also an ingredient used in the Ketoret (an important Temple service in Jerusalem) and referred to as consecrated incense described in the Hebrew Bible and the Talmud. At the incense altars of the First and Second Jerusalem Temples, cinnamon was used as incense. The origin of cinnamon was such a well-kept secret that Heredotus and other authors claimed that Arabia was the source of cinnamon by creating stories about cinnamon birds collecting cinnamon sticks. The first mention of Ceylon Cinnamon was in 1270 in Zakariya al-Qazwini’s Monument of Places and History of God’s Bondsmen. In the 16th Century, Portuguese traders landed in Ceylon and restructured and managed the island’s cinnamon industry.

Potential Health Benefits of Cinnamon

The potential health benefits of cinnamon are nothing short of astonishing. There has been a lot of buzz these days about cinnamon. Cinnamon has been a remedy in the practice of traditional Ayurveda medicine for thousands of years to treat ailments such as diabetes, colds and indigestion. It is also believed to improve vitality and circulation. Recent studies have suggested the following health benefits of this beloved spice, cinnamon (Note, this statement is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Views expressed do not necessarily reflect those of Regal Ceylon Tea or any of its affiliates):

  • Cinnamon may help stabilize blood sugar, which is good for weight loss. A daily sprinkle of cinnamon in your tea or cereal is all it takes
  • Simply smelling the aroma of cinnamon may boost ones cognitive function and memory
  • Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon per day may lower your bad cholesterol or LDL
  • Cinnamon may help treat type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels and increasing the production of insulin in the body
  • Cinnamon has been known as an effective natural remedy for eliminating headaches and migraine relief
  • Cinnamon combined with honey has been known to relieve arthritis pain
  • When cinnamon is added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage thus serving as a natural preservative