SRI LANKA CINNAMON
CANEL = CANELLA
CINNAMOMUM VERUM = CINNAMOMUM ZEYLANICUM
The LAURACEAE family is a large botanical family, mostly tropical and sub-tropical which includes almost exclusively trees and shrubs all having inclusions of aromatic essential oil distributed throughout the organs.
Among the lauraceae: PERSEA = edible avocado, SASSAFRAS = aromas, LAURUS = laurel sauce, berries and spice leaves, OCOTEA = reputable lumber, ANIBA = Guyana rosewood which contains an interesting essential oil.
CINNAMOMUM species provide spices and essential oils.
The best known is CEYLON CINNAMON or SRI LANKA CINNAMON : Cinnamomum verum = Cinnamomum zeylanicum.
The Ceylon cinnamon tree is a small evergreen tree native to Sri Lanka and southern India with a thick bark, irregular and very aromatic.
It grows from sea level to high altitude (1000 to 1500 m), the aromatic qualities of the bark with the soil and climatic conditions.
It is thought that Egyptians used cinnamon to embalm their mummies and the Greeks 500 years BC already knew cinnamon qualities.
It was not until the colonization of Portugal and then Holland in Indonesia that industrial plantations were undertaken.
Currently it is still grown in Ceylon (it's the best quality) but also in India, Madagascar and Brazil.
Cinnamon comes either rolled into strips or ground into a yellow-orange powder.
Cinnamomum cassia or CHINESE CINNAMON is native to Burma, southern China and the Indochinese peninsula, it is a traditional phyto medicine in China that often replaces the cinnamon of Ceylon. Cinnamomun cassia provide a spice and an essential oil similar to Ceylon cinnamon
Other LAURACEAE locally replace Ceylon cinnamon:
- C. BURMANNI in Indonesia,
- C. OLIVERI in Australia,
- LICARIA CANNELLA or cinnamon wood considered by the Guyanese creoles as an aphrodisiac,
- OCOTEA CYMBARUM in the Brazilian Amazon from which Sassafras oil from Santa Catharina is extracted.
CHEMICAL COMPOSITION AND PROPERTIES
The BARK of CEYLON CINNAMON or true cinnamon contains mainly:
- pro-anthocyanidol oligomers
- and essential oil in a small amount (0.5 to 2%) which contains a major aromatic derivative, cinnamaldehyde (65 to 80%) with a little eugenol (10% ).
The dried cinnamon LEAVES have an essential oil with inverse proportions, 65 to 95% eugenol and 3% cinnamaldehyde.
Both essential oils are highly antibacterial and antifungal in laboratory experiments (in vitro) but also when used in humans or animals (in vivo).
They are aggressive oils for the skin and mucous membranes (caustic) when not diluted.
Cinnamaldehyde , still little studied, is a depressant on the central nervous system but respiratory and cardiac stimulant.
In vitro cinnamaldehyde decreases the activity of an important enzyme triggering inflammatory or allergic reactions.
Cinnamon powder is an aromatic stimulant that promotes digestion, appetite and therefore facilitates weight gain.
The CHINESE CINNAMON BARK also contains pro-anthocyanidinic oligomers, essential oil and a significant amount of coumarin (about 2-4 grams per kilo of bark powder).
The essential oil (cinnamaldehyde (96.7%), eugenol (0.5%) and eugenyl acetate (2.2%)) is remarkably antibacterial and antifungal but irritating to the skin and mucous membranes in the same way as that of Ceylon cinnamon.
The proanthocyanidolic oligomers are strongly antioxidants.
The aqueous extract of cinnanomum cassia bark has interesting antiulcerous properties and is a protector of the gastric mucosa (inhibition of ulceration induced by phenyl-butazone and other gastrotoxic substances including ethyl alcohol).
Several studies have shown that cinnamon bark extract (from Ceylon or China) containing pro-anthocyanidol oligomers or cinnamon powder itself are antidiabetic in cases where type 2 diabetes .
Coumarin or coumarine is a natural substance of plant origin (but easy to synthesize), widely used in perfumery, cosmetology. It is potentially toxic to the liver (hepatotoxic), can cause toxic hepatitis and is probably carcinogenic at high doses.
Ceylon cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum verum) does not contain much of it, but the Chinese cinnamon bark (Cinnamomum cassia) is rich in it.
It is obviously impossible to be sure of the origin of the cinnamon powder (ground bark) but we can more easily differentiate the two barks in the raw state:
- Cinnamon bark of Ceylon: thin thickness (1mm) orange-ocher color, firm but friable texture, sweet to taste.
- Chinese cinnamon bark: thicker (2 to 3 mm), orange-red or brownish color, easier to dissociate and coarser, slightly sweet or slightly bitter
The tolerable amount of coumarin in the diet is of course difficult to determine, currently it is estimated to be 0.1 mg coumarin per kilogram of body weight per day.
Some pastries, such as cinnamon cookies, may contain significant amounts of coumarin if made with Chinese cinnamon.
In the FOOD:
A significant amount of cinnamon bark is used in the food industry; cinnamon extracts aromatize many dishes, pastries, liqueurs and drinks.
The essential oils of Ceylon Cinnamon and Chinese Cinnamon are widely used in aromatherapy for their bactericidal and bacteriostatic qualities but they are not indicated in young children (under 6 years).
ORALLY (diluted in alcohol or vegetable oil):
- in urinary and genital infections (cystitis and vulvovaginitis),
- in digestive disorders secondary to infection (cholecystitis, gastroenteritis, colitis, "TURISTA", infectious diarrhea and complications of intestinal parasitosis),
- in application on a painful tooth (caries, fractured tooth), or in gargle for a gingival infection or a mouth ulcer.
EXTERNAL USE , in dermatology (furunculosis, old herpes zoster) diluted in alcohol or a vegetable oil and in instillation in infectious and inflammatory otitis diluted in glycerine or glycerine alcohol.
AVERAGE ORAL DOSAGE :
- 30 to 50 drops 3 times daily of the HE solution of cinnamon (1 to 2 gr) in 125 ml of 60 degree alcohol,
- another simpler option (when you are traveling for example): 1 to 2 drops of essential oil of cinnamon (Ceylon or China) in a teaspoon of alcohol (40 to 50 ° = whiskey, rum ...) or vegetable oil two to three times a day.
LOCAL USE : example otitis, a few drops of the solution essential oil of cinnamon 0,5 gr in 60 ml of glycerine alcohol
Cinnamon bark powder (China or Ceylon) seems to have some antidiabetic properties (type 2 diabetes), probably because of its antioxidant content.
The aqueous extract, therefore without essential oil and with little coumarin, is recommended by many herbal therapists, and there are several specialties on the market containing these extracts of cinnamon, especially in the USA and Germany.
To be effective these cinnamon extracts must be taken in the long run and in a relatively large quantity which can pose the problem of their content in COUMARINE when they come from Cinnamomum cassia.
A DIGESTIVE SPICE ANTI INFECTIOUS AND APHRODISIAC
The bark of some tropical trees contains aromatic compounds, the best known is the cinnamon tree of Ceylon.
Its bark contains an essential oil that promotes digestion and appetite.
It is also bactericidal and is used to treat genito-urinary infections (cystitis), digestive (diarrhea, gastroenteritis) and cutaneous (furunculosis).
It is often replaced the bark of Chinese cinnamon, whose essential oil has similar properties but contains coumarin, potentially toxic compound for the liver when taken at high dosage.
Copyright 2019 : Dr Jean-Michel Hurtel