Cinnamon is considered one of the oldest spice plants in the world. 2500 years before Christ, the Hindu living in China used it in cooking. In Egypt, it was used for embalming and as a healing and fumigant. The Romans used cinnamon as a medicine, aphrodisiac and a little later as a spice. In the Middle Ages, cinnamon was used as a cure for gout. The origin of the cinnamon sticks kept the traders secret for a long time in order to justify the high price.
Cinnamon in Ceylon
The real cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum zeylanicum flower) was native to Ceylon, today's Sri Lanka, native to southern India. Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia lignea) has its origins in China. In the meantime one finds the cassia cinnamon among other things also in Vietnam, Indonesia and in Japan. Botanically, the cinnamon trees belong to the large family of laurel family.
The harvest and the name
The cinnamon sticks are extracted from the inner bark of the trees. They are removed from the bark, scraped and dried. The thinner the rods, the lower the tannin content, the finer the taste. The cinnamon can be harvested every 7-8 months. The cinnamon is also called Canel or Canehl (canelle means tube in French). The English word cinnamon derives from the Latin cinnamum, spice plant. In Sinhalese, cinnamon is called Kurundu. The sweet cinnamon bark oil is made from the branches and fragments. Oil is also extracted from the leaves of the cinnamon tree.
Cinnamon is used today for flavor in food and drink. Also, cinnamon is often used in the production of perfumes, cosmetics, and scented candles. In many countries cinnamon is used against toothache, rheumatism, athlete's foot and to reduce weight. The cinnamon oil has an antiseptic, circulation-promoting and anticramping effect. It also helps with inflammation and bacterial infections. In the Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon warms the body, has a calming effect, supports digestion, the respiratory system and the cardiovascular system. To this day, in many parts of Asia, cinnamon is considered "insulin of the poor.
Recipes and Xmas
In Europe, cinnamon is very often enjoyed at Christmas. The cinnamon is eaten as a powder on the rice pudding. We bake a lot with cinnamon. Everything from cinnamon stars to cinnamon buns. The cinnamon is spread as a scent in the homes to experience the real Christmas feeling.