Botanical Name(s): Cinnamomum verum
Family Name: Lauraceae
Species: C. verum
Popular Name(s): Tvak, Dalchini, Daruchini Karuva, Vazhana, Tamalapatra.
Parts Used: Bark
Habitat: Indigenous to India and Sri Lanka.
Cinnamon is the inner bark of a tropical evergreen tree. The cinnamon trees are about 10 to 15 meters high. The light brown, papery bark and leathery leaves are ovate-oblong in shape, with a length of 7 to 18 cm. The green flowers are arranged in panicles and have a distinct odor. The tree bears purple berries with a single seed. Cinnamon has a fragrant perfume and a sweet and aromatic taste. The tree is native to Sri Lanka, but grows plentifully in Malabar, Cochin-China, Sumatra, Eastern Islands, Brazil, Mauritius, India and Jamaica. The spice is known as dal-chini, darchini or dhall cheene in Hindi and karuvappadai in Tamil.
(+)- cinnamaldehyde (65-80%), lesser percentages of other phenols and terpenes, eugenol, trans-cinnamic acid, hydroxycinnamaldehyde, o-methoxycinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl alcohol and its acetate, limonene, alpha-terpineol, tannins, mucilage, oligomeric procyanidins, gum, mannitol, trace amounts of coumarin.
Uses & Benefits of Cinnamon
- Since it is delicate in flavor, cinnamon is used in dessert dishes.
- It is widely used in cakes and other baked recipe, along with milk and rice puddings, chocolate dishes and fruit desserts, especially apples and pears.
- The spice is used in Indian curries and forms a part of the garam masala.
- Cinnamon is also used to spice mulled wines, creams and syrups.
- Consuming half teaspoon of the spice each day helps in reducing blood sugar, cholesterol and triglyceride levels by as much as 20%.
- It is used to treat nausea, flatulence and diarrhea.
- Chewing and swallowing a small pinch of powdered cinnamon is helpful in treating cough accompanied by spitting of whitish phlegm. The remedy is also helpful to people having cold feet and hands at night.
- The spice is significant in treating loss of appetite and indigestion.
- It is used in flatulent dyspepsia, dyspepsia with nausea, intestinal colic and digestive atony associated with cold and debilitated conditions.
- Cinnamon helps in relieving vomiting, due to its mild astringency.
- The spice has the ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.
- It reduces the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
- Cinnamon has an anti-clotting effect on blood.
- Smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.
- People suffering from arthritis should be given half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder, mixed with one tablespoon of honey every morning, before breakfast. It relieves the pain and the patient becomes capable of walking without pain within one month.
- The spice is commonly used in Middle Eastern and North African dishes for flavoring lamb tagines or stuffed aubergines.
- In Mexico, cinnamon is often drunk with coffee and chocolate and brewed as a tea.
- Cinnamon should not be consumed by women who are still breastfeeding their child.
- The spice is known to cause unwanted effects in sensitive individuals.
- It can prove to be toxic, if taken in large doses.