There are dozens or even hundreds sorts of cinnamon grow wild in the extreme Asia, out of which only four kinds are in commercial use. The question is, are they all similarly healthy?
Cinnamon can be found all over the world, really. Every household kitchen stores at least one recipient with cinnamon as its delicate and sophisticated flavor makes dozens of sweets and beverages truly delicious.
Few people know though that dozens or even hundreds sorts of cinnamon grow wild in the extreme Asia, out of which only four kinds are in commercial use: Ceylon, Indonesian, Vietnamese and Cassia (or China) cinnamon. The last three (Indonesian, Vietnamese and Cassia) are very similar in their appearance, color, smell and taste and therefore are classified as Cassia category (so commercially you may consider Ceylon and Cassia).
Not only cinnamon is highly appreciated in the kitchen all over the world but it has extraordinary benefits for health! It is well known the cinnamon’s antioxidant capacity and its beneficial effects on blood sugar control, irritable bowel syndrome, cancer prevention, arthritis/ osteoporosis, memory and alertness development, weight loss etc. Its extraordinary power has been known to the Ancient Egypt medical schools which considered cinnamon as a panacea.
But there is more we should know about this miraculous plant. Cassia cinnamon contains high concentration of coumarin, also present in Ceylon cinnamon, yet in much lower concentration. The coumarin is a substance that can cause liver toxicity, including advanced forms, if large quantities are ingested.
Therefore, at some point, Germany has prohibited the distribution of Cassia cinnamon type in the country while European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has defined the maximum amount of coumarin safely to ingest 0.1 mg / kg.
At present, in Europe, Ceylon cinnamon is traditionally used, however, Cassia cinnamon has its own market due to its significantly lower prices. In the United States, on the contrary, large amounts of Cassia cinnamon are sold, so the flavor of Cassia is found more often in american kitchens … which is more harsh compared to the mild and slightly sweet flavor of Ceylon. So if you chose to fully benefit from the special health effects of cinnamon, you better make sure that you use the Ceyon type as it contains the smallest amount of coumarin, 0.17 g / kg 10 times less than Cassia.