What is Cassia Cinnamon ?
Derived from the bark of the Cassia tree, the Chinese variety or Cassia cinnamon is inferior to the authentic cinnamon produced in Sri Lanka. Due to its low price and easy availability, Cassia Cinnamon is commonly available in supermarkets and neighbourhood grocery shops. But Cassia Cinnamon ranks significantly low in aroma and taste when compared to the Ceylon variety, which grows only in Sri Lanka. Cassia cinnamon is widely cultivated in China and some of its neighbouring countries like Indonesia. Cassia cinnamon lacks the fine fragrance and delicate flavours that characterise authentic cinnamon produced in Sri Lanka.
With this ready reckoner, you don’t have to worry about how to solve the Cassia Cinnamon vs Ceylon Cinnamon dilemma. Cassia cinnamon is distinguished by its dark reddish brown colour and rough texture. The bark is tough and difficult to break into pieces. When added to foodstuffs or health products like toothpaste or mouthwash, it imparts a typically pungent scent and spicy taste. While Ceylon cinnamon can be rolled into multi-layered quills, the Cassia bark can be merely folded once as it is not flexible. Cassia cinnamon is therefore commercially available mostly in powder form.
Apart from taste and aroma flaws, very high coumarin content percentage is the biggest drawback of Cassia cinnamon. Coumarin is the inherent chemical that imparts pungency and spice to Cassia cinnamon. But more importantly, coumarin is also a toxin that can damage the liver when consumed regularly or in high quantities. Even two teaspoons of cassia cinnamon per day can lead to serious health implications in the long run. Therefore doctors advise against prolonged inclusion of Cassia cinnamon in the diet.