|Cinnamon (Cinnamomum ) is native to Southern India and Sri Lanka. It’s a small evergreen tree, under the family Lauraceae, which grows 30 to 50 feet tall. The bark of the tree is dried and rolled into sticks, also named quills. Cinnamon can also be dried and ground into a powder. Of the four main types of the spice, Ceylon and Cassia are the most widely used. Ceylon is more pricey and has a sweeter taste than Cassia. The quills are more supple and can be easily pulverize in a coffee grinder. Ceylon cinnamon is traded in specialty stores and is one of the oldest known spices in the world.|
The name cinnamon is derived from the Greek kinnámōmon from Phoenician. In Sri Lanka it is known as kurundu and in Indonesia it is called kayu manis (“sweet wood”). In numerous European languages, the word cinnamon comes from the Latin word cannella, a miniature of canna, “tube”, from the way it bends up.
Cinnamon is used in traditional medicine. Several studies have examined chemicals extracted from the spice for various possible medicinal effects. In traditional Chinese medicine, Cassia cinnamon is used for nausea, colds, flatulence, diarrhea, and painful menstrual periods. It is also believed to increase energy, vitality, and circulation. The spice is particularly helpful for people who tend to feel hot in their upper body but have cold feet.
Cinnamon is a common ingredient in chai tea, and it is said to enhance the absorption of fruit, milk, and other dairy products. The leaf oil has been found to be very efficient in killing mosquito larvae and has been used as an insect repellent.
Cinnamon was used as an ancient remedy to cure the common cold, snakebites, freckles, and kidney troubles, among other illnesses. A study found that eugenol, a chemical in the spice, prevented the replication of the virus causing herpes. Other studies have shown that adding it to your diet may help to control blood glucose levels with type 2 diabetics. A 2011 study isolated a substance (CEppt) in the cinnamon plant that deters development of Alzheimer’s disease in mice.
Initial lab and animal studies have found that cinnamon may have antibacterial and antifungal properties. The spice is active against Candida albicans, the fungus that triggers thrush and yeast infections, and Helicobacter pylori, the bacteria accountable for stomach ulcers.