What Type of Cinnamon Is Best?
What kind of cinnamon are you using? Oh, you didn’t know there was more than one?! That’s right, there are different types of cinnamon that grow in different places and all taste slightly different from one another. We’re breaking down the difference between the two most popular types of cinnamon and the benefits of each. Keep reading to find out which cinnamon you should be using!
There are two basic categories of cinnamons: Cassia and Ceylon. Different types of cinnamon grow in different places around the world and all taste slightly different from one another. Both are harvest in sheets from the bark of trees belonging to the same scientific family however they product two different products.
Although both Ceylon and cassia are harvested from the same type of tree, they differ in the ways they are harvested, their taste, smell and chemical makeup.
First let’s look at Cassia cinnamon:
- Harvested from the Cinnamomum cassia tree
- Can be found in powder and stick form
- Sticks are thick and rough in texture and darker in colour
- Brown / red hue
- Three varieties: Chinese, Indonesian and Saigon
- All of which differ in flavour intensity
- Chinese cassia has a strong, bitter flavour
- Commonly used for medicinal purposes in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM)
- 95% of its oil is cinnamaldehyde, giving cassia strong, spicy flavour
- Contains a compound called coumarin
On the other hand, Ceylon cinnamon is:
- Is often referred to as “true” cinnamon
- Harvested from the cinnamomum verum tree
- Much thinner and finer in texture than cassia
- Lighter in colour
- Only native to Sri Lanka
- Milder in flavour with delicate floral notes and aroma
- Not commonly found in grocery stores across North America but is suitable for culinary purposes
- 50-63% of its oil is cinnamaldehyde
- Does not contain coumarin
What is Cinnamaldehyde?
Cinnamaldehyde is one of the main active components of cinnamon and has been shown to help fight off various kinds of infections. This organic compound gives cinnamon its flavour and odor, which is why cassia cinnamon is slightly spicier and more aromatic than Ceylon, due to its oil having a higher percentage of cinnamaldehyde. Cinnamaldehyde is responsible for many of the health benefits that cinnamon has to offer including:
- Supporting a healthy stomach
- Supporting cardiovascular health
- Reducing signs of aging
- Antifungal and antibacterial
- Blood sugar control
- Protecting against neurogenerative decline, specifically Alzheimer’s prevention
So why is Ceylon safer to consume regularly?
Although it would appear that cassia cinnamon is superior to Ceylon due to its high cinnamaldehyde content, it also contains a chemical called coumarin which has shown to be toxic when consumed in large doses. High doses of coumarin consumption have been linked to liver damage and even impaired cognitive development. Coumarin is naturally present in cassia cinnamon and even other foods like celery, strawberries and apricots. It’s also often used to enhance fragrances and cosmetic products.
When consumed in small doses, for example through consuming celery and strawberries, coumarin has not shown to be harmful. Cassia cinnamon on the other hand is one of the most concentrated sources of plant based coumarin and should therefore not be consumed regularly or in high doses.
Ceylon cinnamon can be consumed regularly and in larger doses because it does not contain coumarin!
So, should you ditch cassia cinnamon?
Although Ceylon cinnamon has shown to be safer, we shouldn’t rule out the benefits that cassia cinnamon has to offer. Cassia cinnamon has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine as well as Ayurveda for thousands of years to:
- Increase energy and circulation
- Treat gas, nausea and diarrhea and other gastrointestinal issues
- Pain relief during menstruation
- Enhance libido
- Treating diabetes
- Managing blood sugar
Our full spectrum dual extract cinnamon powder is a great way to supplement with cassia cinnamon and reap all the above benefits – however it’s important to not exceed the recommended daily dose to ensure that you’re not overconsuming coumarin! Stick with 1/8-¼ of a tsp per day and you’ll be well within the safe levels while enjoying all the benefits that cassia cinnamon has to offer.
- In our coffee, tea and lattes
- Added to smoothies and chia pudding
- In baked goods and savoury dishes
- Sprinkled on our oatmeal and fresh fruit
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