There are two types of Cinnamon. Both come from barks of trees, and have determined health benefits such as
- Moderates Blood Sugar levels and Reduces insulin resistance
- Lowers Cholesterol and has Cardiovascular benefits
- Lowers Blood Pressure due to the dilating action of Cinnamaldehyde
- Cuts inflammation and fights inflammatory disease
- Tackles Bacterial, Fungal and Viral Infections
What most people are familiar with regarding cinnamon is the first type or Cassia Cinnamon (Cinnamomum aromaticum) coming from the Cinnamomum Cassia tree that originated in Southern China and is most commonly known as Chinese cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon has long been used in cooking and in traditional Chinese medicine, with about 95% of its essential oil being cinnamaldehyde, which gives it the readily recognizable aroma and flavor.
The second type of cinnamon is Ceylon Cinnamon or “True Cinnamon” it is native to Sri Lanka and the southern parts of India. This bark comes from the Cinnamomum Verum tree. Ceylon cinnamon is less common, is higher in quality and has over centuries been prized as a cooking spice for desserts because of its delicate and mildly sweet flavor. Ceylon cinnamon is quite low in its content of cinnamaldehyde essential oil at an estimated 50-63% compared to cassia, which is why it has a milder flavor and aroma.
Hold on wait a minute… don’t rush to your kitchen and start eating spoonfuls of this beautiful spice!
Coumarin is a compound found naturally in several plant species including Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon, but too much of this naturally occurring compound can be TOXIC. So what should you use when adding cinnamon to your day to day health regimine? Well the bottomline is NO research has been done to compare Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon contains approximately 1% coumarin vs. Ceylon which contains only about 0.004%, or 250 times less coumarin. When choosing to utilize cinnamon for its health benefits it is important to keep your consumption to no more than 0.05 mg/lb of Cassia in order not to exceed the Tolerable Daily Intake (TDI) of coumarin, thus making it safer to utilize Ceylon cinnamon when taking as a supplement either in capsule form or straight out of the jar mixed with sugar for toast. Here is the part where the adage ‘You get what you pay for’ comes in to play, you will see a marked difference in price between the two.
As for this Cinnaholic I’ll keep using the tried but true Cassia cinnamon, cause after all I’m broke. As with all things moderation is key and until one can do better you work with what you can. So enjoy this great additive in tea, baking, cooking etc…just don’t inhale it or take by the spoonful, and you should be just fine.
Do you like cinnamon? What’s your favorite way to use it? Let me know in the comment section below.