At some point, most people would have heard about the amazing health benefits of cinnamon, either through social media, email forwards, natural health articles or just in passing.
- Anti-fungal and anti-viral
- Prevents infection
- Aids circulation
- Lowers blood pressure
- Helps abdominal pains, menstrual cramps and candida
- Maintains blood sugar levels
And the list goes on…..
What an amazing substance cinnamon is, and it smells and tastes good too. Here is the catch though. Most of the powdered stuff you buy, and even the sticks, are not cinnamon. There is another spice called Cinnamomum cassia or just cassia for short. This relative of cinnamon is much cheaper to produce, easier to import and unfortunately does not have all of the health benefits of real cinnamon (cinnamomum zeylanicum or cinnamomum verum).
In a nutshell, here are the differences in look, smell and taste
Sweet tasting and smelling
Lighter in colour
Bark is soft and chewy
Sticks contain many layers and are easy to break
Hot and spicy to taste
Darker and more reddish coloured
Bark is hard and smooth
Sticks contain one single curl around and are harder to break
Why buy the real stuff
Apart from the fact that the medicinal benefits are stonger and greater in number in real cinnamon AND the taste and smell is better, here is an important reason:
“Coumarin [found in cinnamon and cassia] is known to cause liver and kidney damage in high concentrations. True Ceylon cinnamon has negligible amounts of coumarin. The Federal Institute of Risk Management in Germany advises people to stop using Casssia due to it medical impact on liver. Ceylon Cinnamon has between 2-5 ppm of coumarin compared to Cassia (2000-5000 ppm).” Oindus Organics
Because it became legal to name cassia powder and sticks “cinnamon”, this cheaper (and unfortunately nasty) clone has pushed real cinnamon out of the supermarkets. Specialty suppliers such as delis, spice shops and online suppliers will be able to provide you with the real stuff. Just speak to your supplier to make sure you are getting buying what the label claims. It does cost a bit more but luckily it is one of those ingredients where a little goes a long way!
Enjoy real cinnamon from this day forward….
How Can I use Herbs in My Daily Life: Isabell Shipard