Will the real cinnamon please stand up. Did you know that the cinnamon in your spice cupboard may not actually be real cinnamon but instead cassia? It’s true.
Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) and real cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) belong to the same botanical family, they look alike (it takes a trained eye to tell them apart) but they differ in flavor. Cassia is stronger and sweeter and the one preferred throughout most of the United States as a spice.
Dr. Bharat B. Aggarwal, perhaps the world’s foremost expert on medicinal spices and Professor of Cancer Research at the University of Texas, says cassia cinnamon is the variety that is most often discussed for its medicinal qualities, most notably is its ability to lower blood sugar.
Real cinnamon, is found in kitchens in Mexico, Latin America, India and other nations in South Asia. In some part of the world it’s actually illegal to refer to cassia as cinnamon. In Great Britain and Australia, Cinnamomum cassia can only be sold as “cassia” and Cinnamomum verum can only be sold as “cinnamon”. In the US both are sold as cinnamon.
Cassia cinnamon is also called Chinese cinnamon. Real cinnamon, Cinnamomum verum, goes by the name Ceylon and Sri Lankan cinnamon.
Which cinnamon do you use?
To learn more about cinnamon check out Healing Spices: How To Use Everyday And Exotic Spices To Boost Health and Beat Disease.