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Health & Nutrition
Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD

Ceylon Vs. Cassia: What’s The Difference Between These 2 Types Of Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is an aromatic spice which comes in two main types: Ceylon and cassia. Both are from Cinnamomum trees but differ in taste and coumarin content, a type of phytochemical. Ceylon cinnamon is sweeter and healthier due to less coumarin, which can be harmful in large doses. It may help support blood sugar and antioxidant defenses. Cassia cinnamon, however, has a spicier taste but a higher coumarin content, making it less health-friendly despite being more affordable and widely available.



Cinnamon is a popular spice used in various dishes and beverages worldwide, especially in desserts and teas. It is available in different varieties, but the two most common types are Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon.

Ceylon cinnamon, also known as true cinnamon, is native to Sri Lanka and is often referred to as Sri Lankan cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon, on the other hand, is also known as Chinese cinnamon and is widely cultivated in China and Indonesia.

Both cinnamon varieties come from the bark of trees belonging to the Cinnamomum species, but the key difference lies in their taste and levels of coumarin, a natural compound that can be harmful to the liver in high doses. 




Cinnamon And Traditional Herbalism



Cinnamon has played a significant role in traditional herbalism for centuries. In Ayurveda, the ancient Indian system of medicine, cinnamon is known as a warming herb that helps to improve digestion and circulation. In Traditional Chinese Medicine, cinnamon is used to promote circulation and support the body's natural defenses against illness. In ancient Egyptian and Greek medicine, cinnamon was used for a variety of ailments, including respiratory problems, digestive issues, and menstrual cramps. Cinnamon was also valued for its ability to preserve food and was used as an embalming agent in ancient Egyptian mummification rituals. Today, cinnamon is still widely used in traditional herbalism, as well as in modern herbal supplements and remedies.




How is cinnamon harvested?



Cinnamon bark is harvested from the inner bark of cinnamon trees. To obtain the cinnamon bark, the branches of the trees are first cut and peeled, revealing the inner bark. The inner bark is then carefully removed from the branches in thin strips and left to dry in the sun. As it dries, the bark curls into the characteristic cinnamon sticks that are used in cooking and baking or ground into a fine powder for use as a herbal remedy. Any remnants of outer bark are removed from the inner barks, and the sticks are sorted and graded. The harvest of cinnamon bark is a labor-intensive process that requires skill and precision. However, the end result is a versatile spice used in many herbal medicine paradigms as well as a delicious addition to a variety of dishes.




Ceylon Cinnamon Vs. Cassia Cinnamon


True Ceylon cinnamon has a delicate, sweet taste and a lower level of coumarin, making it a healthier choice compared to cassia cinnamon. 

Cassia cinnamon has a stronger, spicier taste and contains higher levels of coumarin, which can be harmful to the liver when consumed in large amounts.

Cassia cinnamon has a higher cinnamaldehyde content, which is the compound that gives cinnamon its unique flavor and aroma. This could explain why ceylon cinnamon has a more subtle, less spicy taste. [2]

A meta-analysis of 16 different studies suggests that Ceylon cinnamon may help to lower blood sugar levels and support insulin sensitivity in those with diabetes. [3]

In addition to its blood sugar-lowering properties, Ceylon cinnamon has also been found to have anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties. It may even help reduce blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease. [4]

Cassia cinnamon, on the other hand, can have adverse effects on people taking blood thinners, such as warfarin, due to its coumarin content which is a natural anticoagulant. According to the American Heart Association, warfarin is actually derived from coumarin; therefore, consuming large amounts of cassia cinnamon can lead to potential bleeding problems. [5]

So, if you're looking for a healthier choice, Ceylon cinnamon is the best option due to its lower levels of coumarin and potential health benefits. You can find Ceylon cinnamon in both stick, supplement, and powder form and use it to add a sweet, delicate flavor to your dishes, teas, and other beverages.




Final thoughts


In conclusion, the key difference between Ceylon cinnamon and cassia cinnamon lies in their taste and levels of coumarin. While cassia cinnamon may be more widely available and affordable, it's not the healthiest option due to its high levels of coumarin. Ceylon cinnamon, on the other hand, is a safer and healthier choice, with potential medicinal properties that can help lower blood sugar levels, reduce blood pressure, and improve heart health. So, switch to Ceylon cinnamon today and enjoy its delicate flavor and health benefits!

Zaheera Swing
Nutritional Therapist & Herbalist BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD
As a qualified Nutritional Therapist (BSc Hons Nutritional Science + NTPD), Zaheera Swing has a deep passion for restoring balance and harmony to the body through the modalities of nutritional science, herbalism, and holistic lifestyle practices. Using the functional medicine model coupled with wisdom from ancient paradigms, she aims to provide insight into the underlying root causes of poor health and the holistic tools we can harness to enhance the well-being of mind, body, and spirit.
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