Common Names: Ceylon Cinnamon, Cinnamon Quills, Cinnamomum Cassia, Chinese Cinnamon, True Cinnamon, Chinese Cassia, Dalchinni
Botanical Scientific Name: Cinnamomum Zeylanicum
Genus : Cinnamomum
Spices: C. Zeylanicum
Historical & Cultural Background
Cinnamon derives its name from the Greek word “kinnámōmon” meaning sweet wood. However, the taxonomical nomenclature for the spice Cinnamomum zeylanicum has been taken from its native Sri Lanka’s former name, Ceylon. It remains the center origin of this plant. The cinnamon spice grown in Sri Lanka has unique advantages due to its organoleptic properties. Cinnamon used to be worthier than gold and ivory in several domains. It was considered a suitable gift for Monarchs. Ancient Egyptians used it as part of their embalming rituals of mummies. In ancient Greek and Roman times, this was used as an ointment, aromatic and holistic display of spirituality or power.
The biggest cultivators of true cinnamon are Indonesia, China and Sri Lanka followed by Vietnam, India, Burma, Thailand, Malaysia, South America and West Indies. India succeeds Sri Lanka for cultivating true cinnamons of superior quality although in small quantities basically in Kerala, coastal areas of Karnataka, and various parts of Tamil Nadu. Some Islands like the Andaman Islands, Nicobar Islands, Lakshadweep, and the Maldives are also famous for cinnamon quill and bark oil of the best quality.
Cropping or Harvesting
The evergreen hardy plant of Cinnamon is charismatically adapted to various climate conditions. However, most preferably harvesting is done in two moist climate seasons, the first in May and the second in November.
Texture, Taste and Aroma
Texture: A true cinnamon has a single spiral curl, a moulded flight feather, and is almost papery, brittle, easy to crush. It forms multiple layers when rolled up and shape like a giant cigar. Its rough surface promotes adhesion despite irregularities.
Aroma: Cinnamon quills delicate warm smell combines cunning notes of clove and brings out amazingly exotic aroma. Its greasy peppery smells, bright yet slightly woody odour gives soul to the food and empowers the harmony between different constituents.
Taste: When cooked or fried this age-old and aromatic spice has a mouth-watering and burning honeyed taste. It leaves a slightly bitter and natural mellowed aftertaste. The perfect warm and seducing odour bestows a delicate touch to cuisine.
Color: Cassia has a glimpse of natural-looking neutral copper with a catchy shade of golden brown. It is a reddish-brown spice that provides an appealing depth & delightful warmth to any cuisine or savory dishes. The presence of this incredible spice on table servings makes the dishes more presentable and stylish.
The secret of its praiseworthy taste and extremely appealing smell hides its health-benefiting components. It earned industrial popularity through its highly fragrant essential oils such as
- Cinnamaldehyde (in the bark oil),
- Eugenol (in the leaf oil), and
- Camphor (in the root bark oil),
- Trans-cinnamyl acetate (fruits and flowers are a rich source)
- Coumarin (a crystalline solid serves as a chemical defence against predators by fetching strong antibacterial, antifungal, astringent, carminative, and abdominal symptoms)
A large proportion of usage of cinnamons is for culinary purposes. Its bold and distinctive flavour adds depth to many dishes and is regularly consumed as a baking spice and a fancy stirrer for cocktails. When blended with spice mix, cinnamons make pies, cookies, and sweet bread. It gives a catchy look when sprinkled over ice cream or pancakes. In Asian cuisines, it is the handiest choice of every kitchen chef when it comes to enhancing the menu flavour. As an important ingredient in garam Masala, it goes well with almost every savoury dish including vegetables, chicken, stews, soup, rice, biryani, and omelette. Moreover, Cinnamon sticks are also used in beverages, boiled beef, pickles, chutneys, and ketchup. It brings a mystic taste when combined with sugar. Leena Spices Cassia is the pure quality product.
In Ayurveda, cinnamon quills are considered medicine as well as a spice. It used against a broad spectrum of diseases like bronchitis, colds, congestion, diarrhoea, dysentery, oedema, flu, gas, hiccups, indigestion, liver problems, menorrhagia, melancholy, muscle tension, nausea, and vomiting.
Cinnamon possesses some potential effects that reap immense benefits to health. Proactively, controls type 2 diabetes, prevent cancer and inflammation, maintain good oral health, fight against infection, reduce cholesterol, and aid in weight loss. It is also widely used in helping with stomach aches and pains and digestive troubles. It contains a small, negligible amount of coumarin, a naturally occurring blood-thinning substance so recommended for regular use, for correcting blood sugar levels. It improves mood by releasing serotonin in the blood. A cinnamon treatment improves overall hair growth.
Cinnamon has diverse uses apart from cooking and medicine. Surprisingly, it is used
- To Repel moths from your clothes
- To make festive place cards in seconds
- To erase scrapes, scuffs, and scratches on wooden furniture
- As an air freshener in your car and home
- A good deodorizer and makes a great addition to a deodorizing powder for carpets
- To prevent mid-day cravings for something sweet
- Worn in Roman funerals to fend off the odour of dead bodies
Dried cinnamon quills must be stored in moisture-proof containers away from direct sunlight for up to 1 year. The stored cinnamon quills should be observed periodically for signs of spoilage or moisture. The storage place should be clean, dry, dark, and free from pests.