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Updated: Jan 1, 2020

There are hundreds of types of cinnamon, but only 4 types or varieties of cinnamon (Ceylon, Cassia, Saigon, Korintje) are used for commercial use, and these four are broken down in two classifications: Ceylon and, Cassis (which include Cassia, Saigon, and Korintje). 

Ceylon cinnamon was the first spice brought back from Ceylon, Sri Lanka by the Portuguese, Dutch, and British explorers over 400 years ago, and although Ceylon is considered the finest quality, the less expensive and more abundant Cassia has come to dominate the market worldwide.

Cinnamon comes from the inner bark of the various evergreen trees that are members of the genus Cinnamomum family, cinnamon farmers shave the outer bark of the trees and then carefully shave the inner bark to reveal the ‘cinnamon layer.’ This layer is dried and naturally curls into ‘quills’ aka “sticks. Ceylon cinnamon sticks are soft, crumbly, and rolled like a cigar with layers of soft, brittle cinnamon bark, and are lighter in color. All other types in the Cassia category tend to be hard, hollow, and have only one rolled or curled layer, and are darker in color.

Cinnamon contains coumarin, which is a toxic, and fragrant chemical compound found in high concentration levels in the cassia family of cinnamon, which is the less expensive type found in most supermarkets. The Germany government states that high dosages of coumarin can cause liver damage, and the Cassia family of cinnamons (Cassia, Saigon, and Korintje) have a high density of coumarin, and Ceylon should be switched to because of its ultra-low levels of coumarin. The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) established a tolerable daily intake (TDI) of 0.1 mg/kg body weight of coumarin per day, and if you have liver damage or concerns, you should check with your health practitioner.

In Ayurvedic medicine, cinnamon has a sweet, pungent, and bitter taste, is hot, light, dry, and sharp in nature with a pungent after taste and effect on the body, reduces Kapha and Vata but will increase Pitta.

Below is more information regarding the categories of cinnamon:

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