Cinnamon is a spice used for flavoring sweet food

 Cinnamon is one of the oldest spices in the world. Sweet-smelling cinnamon powder is found in gingerbread, baked apples, plum jam, rice pudding, and cinnamon stars.

Real cinnamon was (and still is) a treasure. Arab traders first marketed the spice, but kept its origins a secret. Audacious rumors abound: some birds were said to build their nests out of cinnamon sticks, and collectors had to steal their nests!

This spice came to Europe in the 14th century. As a result, European spice traders searched for the source of the valuable bark and found it on the island of Sri Lanka. Since then, mainly Portuguese and later Dutch merchants traded cinnamon.

Cinnamon is a spice used for flavoring sweet food

What does Ceylon cinnamon look like and where does the medicinal plant come from?

"True" cinnamon is Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum). It is a species of six to ten meters tall and evergreen plant. The leaves are opposite to each other, ovate to ovate and leathery. The smell of clove comes when it is crushed. The white-green flowers are arranged in racemes and are inconspicuous. When the bark is peeled and dried, ordinary curly cinnamon sticks are formed, which have a pleasant aroma. Ceylon cinnamon belongs to the laurel family (Lauraceae) and is originally from Sri Lanka. Cinnamon is cultivated in South and Southeast Asia, Madagascar and Seychelles.

Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia), also known as Chinese cinnamon, is believed to be an adulterant of true cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is mainly used as a spice. It can be distinguished from the Ceylon variety in this way: True cinnamon sticks are cigar-like. The bark is wrapped in several thin layers. Cassia cinnamon sticks have a thick layer of bark that is hollow in the middle.

Which plant parts and ingredients are used?

The active ingredients are cinnamon bark. It contains 0.5 to 4 percent essential oil, 65 to 75 percent cinnamaldehyde, and 5 percent eugenol. In addition, small amounts contain mono-, sesqui- and diterpenes, tanning agents and so-called phenolic carboxylic acids. Coumarin is only found in very small amounts in Sri Lankan cinnamon. On the other hand, Cassia cinnamon contains 0.3 percent coumarin.

What do items do? What does cinnamon help with?

Cinnamon stimulates appetite and stimulates bowel function. As a spice, it makes food more digestible and prevents digestive problems like flatulence and fullness.

Certain components of cinnamon are believed to affect blood sugar levels. Laboratory tests show that cinnamon increases the release of the hormone insulin. At the same time, tissues become more sensitive to insulin and absorb more glucose.

Previous studies have come to different conclusions. Sometimes cinnamon has a positive effect on blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes, sometimes not. The German Diabetes Association recommends taking cinnamon products as a supplement to food (see "Important information"). Talk to your doctor about whether cinnamon is right for you.

Important steps:

It is not currently known whether cinnamon supplements cause any side effects, especially when taken over a long period of time. There is evidence that cinnamon may enhance the effectiveness of blood sugar-lowering drugs and may promote hypoglycemia.

Long-term use of cassia cinnamon in a capsule or pill form may cause liver disorders with the coumarins it contains.

Pregnant and lactating women should avoid cinnamon products as a precaution.

Cinnamon (cassia) commonly offered in the food trade may contain liver-damaging levels of coumarin, according to the Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, and you should be careful when eating it. This is especially true for young children. Anyone who uses a lot of spice is safe with Ceylon cinnamon from the pharmacy. Incidentally, coumarin is also found in fragrances in some cosmetics.


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