At one time, cinnamon was such a coveted commodity in Ceylon that they created myths about fabled creatures, including bats and winged serpents, who guarded swamps and marshes where the cinnamon trees were claimed to have grown. Once discovered by surrounding countries however, the drive for Ceylon cinnamon inspired more than stories. It helped prompt outsiders to invade the small territory. The Portuguese conquered Ceylon in 1505 but were later usurped by the Dutch and then British forces seized what became known as Sri Lanka in 1798.
Expensive to export and transport, ceylon cinnamon was expensive and limited in supply to even the highest classes of European societies which transformed the spice into an early status symbol. The fantastical stories of where and how the Arabs obtained Ceylon cinnamon helped to drive up the spice's worth and maintain their monopoly on the cinnamon trade. Tales of giant birds, whose nests were lined in cinnamon sticks were created in order to dissuade other gatherers. European travelers, including Columbus and Gonzalo Pizzaro, attempted to find their own treasure of cinnamon sources but were disappointed when what they found was not the favored spice.
Today, we also are often fooled by what passes for true cinnamon in the grocery store. Real, organic ceylon cinnamon comes almost exclusively from Sri Lanka from trees that grow up to 30 feet in height. Ceylon cinnamon is often more expensive than the Cassia cinnamon you find on store shelves but is noted for its mild, sweet flavor that is popular for its aroma and therapeutic benefits.
If you ever want to evoke mental images and feelings of family holidays just break out the cinnamon. Seemingly intrinsic to Thanksgiving and Christmas, the exotic spice is sure to bring about the melancholy yearnings that we are all familiar with. Funny enough, the scent and taste of cinnamon is so strongly tied to certain seasonal holidays, that the whiff of it in even July or August arouses the recall of holidays gone-by. True cinnamon's uses can be enjoyed outside of the holiday season and its benefits goes far beyond just the health advantages with many people being big fans of using it throughout the home. Tap into the aromatherapy of cinnamon in the following ways:
- As a quick and easy air freshener. Simply pour a few tablespoons in a small, shallow dish to freshen the surrounding air.
- As a scent spray for linens. Spray throw pillows and blankets with a quick spritz of cinnamon essential oil and water to help dispel unwanted odors.
- As a healing aftershave. You'll need a jar with a screw-on top, which you'll fill with dried bay leaves, 2 cinnamon sticks, broken and a tablespoon of cloves. Add enough dark rum to soak the herbs and let steep for at least two weeks. Shake daily then strain the liquid through a coffee filter. The liquid splash delivers a sweet and spicy scent that also delivers anti-bacterial properties that heal cuts and stops mild bleeding.
- As a repellent for moths. Combined with whole cloves and black peppercorns, cinnamon sticks help keep moths from your clothes. Simply fill fabric sachets with a mixture of such and hang the sachet in your closet.
- As a convenient scent diffuser. A drop of cinnamon essential oil on a lightbulb will help disperse cinnamon scents throughout a room. Make sure to place the oil on the bulb when off and still cool.
Chances are the cinnamon in your kitchen cupboard right now isn't true cinnamon. Cassia is a type of cinnamon that is commonly sold by grocery stores. The taste of cassia cinnamon is strong and spicy, and probably what you think of when you think of how cinnamon tastes. However, cassia cinnamon isn't true cinnamon and turns out that can make a very big difference in your health.
True cinnamon is Ceylon cinnamon, which is also known by its Latin name Cinnamomum verum, or "true cinnamon." This cinnamon offers a light, brighter flavor than Cassia. In terms of health benefits, the two couldn't be further apart. Cinnamon has been shown to have benefits such as helping to regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol, and there is even evidence that it could help with arthritis. In order to get those benefits, though, you'll need to take more cinnamon every day than just a sprinkle on your morning oatmeal, and that's where the issues between Cassia and Ceylon come to light.
Cassia cinnamon can lead to liver damage when taken in high doses. Ceylon cinnamon is much safer, allowing people to take the amount of cinnamon they need in order to get the benefits they want but with a much lower risk of liver damage. So why are they selling the potentially toxic cassia cinnamon in your local store? Because it's much cheaper to make and allows your local store to turn a higher profit on your purchase.
Organic Wise offers true cinnamon in our online store at a great low price, though. You can get one pound of Ceylon cinnamon powder for just $23.95 right now and we'll even ship it to you for free. Place your order today!