Unique features of cinnamon
Cinnamon comes from the inner bark and/or leaves of the cinnamon tree, which can grow to a height of 60 feet. It is indigenous to Indonesia, Sri Lanka, the Malabar Coast of India, and Myanmar.
There are five types of cinnamon of which Ceylon cinnamon, produced by Sri Lanka, is considered the best.
Cinnamon trees are cultivated as well in the West Indies and South America. China and Indonesia are the major producers of cassia cinnamon.
Somewhat bizarrely, cinnamon sticks are called quills!
Cinnamon has long been used as a traditional medicine and has many medicinal qualities. It has powerful antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.
This makes cinnamon oil, in low concentrations, effective for skin conditions like acne and general skin health.
Cinnamon also helps to control blood sugar, so it is beneficial to sufferers of Type 2 diabetes. It is rich in magnesium, calcium and iron, and very high in fibre.
Cinnamon complements both sweet and savoury dishes and beverages; it is a famous flavouring and aromatic condiment in baked goods and general cooking.
What are cinnamon uses in products?
Cinnamon, cinnamon oil to be specific; is used in many products.
- It is used in aromatherapy treatments oils to reduce anxiety, depression, and insomnia.
- Cinnamon oil is often be in use as an ingredient in soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, and body lotion.
- Its antibacterial properties make it effective against pseudomonas aeruginosa, a drug-resistant bacteria that affects people, animals, and plants.
- It relieves digestive discomfort.
- It supports oral health as it is effective against streptococcus mutans and candida; which causes cavities in teeth and oral infections.
- As it disinfects and increases shelf life, it is used as a preservative in toiletries, cosmetics, and disinfectants.
- Studies done with mice suggest it enhances growth and thickening of hair.
- Cinnamon is often an ingredient in tea, sweets, baked goods, and sugar-free gum.
- Cinnamon is a much-favoured fragrance in air fresheners and scented candles.
- Using a cinnamon quill as a stirrer; give a lovely fragrance to hot beverages like tea, hot chocolate, or coffee.
Products that contain cinnamon
- Beauty products like perfumes, cleansers, soap, shampoos and bath oils and essences
- Time-honoured flavourings for baking and food preparation
- A classic spice to sprinkle on apple pie or ‘Apfelstrudel’
- Flavourings for vegetables like sweet potato, butternut, and pumpkin pie or fritters
- Spicy cinnamon chipotle popcorn
- Classic cinnamon sugar to sprinkle on pancakes, crumpets, and waffles
- Delicious cinnamon/vanilla cashew milk
- Classic meat dishes like lamb shawarma and apple pork loin
- Classic cinnamon rolls and hot-cross buns
- Cinnamon liqueur
- Cinnamon-flavoured whiskeys like Fireball in the United States
- Rakomelo which is a Greek cinnamon brandy. There’s a belief that it does have medicinal properties
Types of cinnamon
These are the basic cinnamon varieties:
- Ceylon cinnamon or cinnamomum zeylanicum, commonly regarded as the best cinnamon and mostly sold by Sri Lanka.
- Cassia or Chinese cinnamon, cinnamomum cassia; which is the most common commercial variety available. It is mostly sold by China
- Indonesian cinnamon burmannii, called Padang or Korintje
- Saigon cinnamon, referred to as Vietnamese cassia or cinnamon
- Malabar cinnamon or cinnamomumcitriodorum; which has an interesting smell of lemon grass