Cinnamon - Cinnamomum Verum - Spice
Blending Note: Middle
Main Benefits: Relieves Aching Muscles, Cooking
Other Producers: Egypt, Bangladesh, Shri Lanka, India, Burma
Allergy Warning: Do not use during pregnancy, Sensitive Skin
The English word "cinnamon", attested in English since the 15th century, derives from the Greek kínnamon. Early modern English also used the names canel and canella. Cinnamon has been known from remote antiquity. It was imported to Egypt as early as 2000 BCE, but those who report it had come from China confuse it with cassia. Cinnamon was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was regarded as a gift fit for monarchs and even for a god. Indonesian rafts transported cinnamon directly from the Moluccas to East Africa, where local traders then carried it north to Alexandria in Egypt. Ferdinand Magellan was searching for spices on behalf of Spain during the 1500s and in the Philippines found Cinnamomum mindanaense which was closely related the cinnamon found in Sri Lanka. This cinnamon eventually competed with Sri Lankan cinnamon, which was controlled by the Portuguese.
The Cinnamon tree grows up to 50 feet high, with leathery green leaves and small white flowers that develop into light blue berries. Both the leaves and the bark are used to create essential oils. Cinnamon is cultivated by growing the tree for two years, then cutting the stems at ground level. The following year, about a dozen new shoots form from the roots, replacing those that were cut. The leaves and twigs or inner dried bark are steam distilled to extract the essential oil. The stems must be processed immediately after harvesting while the inner bark is still wet. The cut stems are processed by scraping off the outer bark, then beating the branch evenly with a hammer to loosen the inner bark, which is then pried off in long rolls.
Only 0.5 mm of the inner bark is used. The outer, woody portion is discarded, leaving metre-long cinnamon strips that curl into rolls on drying. The processed bark dries completely in four to six hours, provided it is in a well-ventilated and relatively warm environment. Once dry, the bark is cut into 5- to 10-cm lengths for sale. A less than ideal drying environment encourages the proliferation of pests in the bark, which may then require treatment by fumigation. Fumigated bark is not considered to be of the same premium quality as untreated bark. The Aroma is spicy, warm, slightly sweet scent. Cinnamon leaf has a sharper scent than the bark oil. This essential oil is prepared by roughly pounding the bark, Let it lay in sea water, and then quickly distilling the whole. It is of a golden-yellow colour, with the characteristic odour of cinnamon and a very hot aromatic taste.
Revives Energy, Mental Fatigue, Stress, Lifts Mood, Warms and Relaxes Tight Muscles, Sore Muscles and Joints, Digestion, Stomach Discomfort, Cellulite, Disinfectant
Cooking, Tea, Alcoholic Beverage, Repels Insects