Why Choosing the Right Cinnamon is Important

cinnamon

The culinary spices collectively known as cinnamon are derived from the fragrant inner bark of a group of small evergreen trees called Cinnamomum. Cinnamon has been used as a culinary and medicinal spice for thousands of years.

Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon
The two major types of cinnamon used in food preparation are Ceylon cinnamon and Cassia cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon, native to Sri Lanka, is also known as “true cinnamon.” This is NOT the predominant spice typically sold as cinnamon in the United States. What is commonly found at your grocer is a closely related and less expensive variety called Cassia cinnamon. Cassia is native to Burma and also grown in China and Vietnam. While both Cassia and Ceylon are derived from the inner bark of Cinnamomum trees, Ceylon cinnamon is preferable.

A critical difference between Ceylon and Cassia is the coumarin content of Cassia. Cassia cinnamon is the main source of coumarin in the human diet. Coumarin is a naturally occurring toxin which has the potential to damage the liver in high doses. Cassia contains high levels of coumarin, whereas Ceylon contains either undetectable levels or only traces of coumarin…

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