Difference Between Cinnamon and Cassia April 21, Cinnamon vs Cassia While that fragrant and well-loved spice that brightens up a myriad of recipes is commonly referred to as cinnamon, it is important to know that different forms of cinnamon exist in the world. While cinnamon when ground is quite hard to tell apart, when it is whole, it is quite easy to tell the difference between one form of cinnamon and another. Cinnamon and cassia are two forms of cinnamon that is quite difficult to tell apart. Harvested from plants that belong to the same Lauraceae family as well as the same genus Cinnamomum, little does exist to tell the two apart. What is Cinnamon? The delicate inner bark of these plants is harvested and dried into neat little quills or sticks in order to make it into the spice.
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Written by Joe Leech, MS on July 15, If you buy something through a link on this page, we may earn a small commission. How this works. Cinnamon is a very popular spice.
Not only is it delicious, its many health benefits are also impressive. Cinnamon is cheap and widely available in most supermarkets. At least, one type is. Both of them are healthy, but one contains a toxin that is harmful if you eat too much of it. This article explains the differences between Ceylon and cassia cinnamon.
What Is Cinnamon? Cinnamon is a spice created from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree. Strips of the inner bark are dried until they curl into rolls known as cinnamon sticks or quills. These can then be ground into powder or made into an extract. The unique properties of this spice come from its essential oils and compounds, particularly cinnamaldehyde 1. This compound gives cinnamon its flavor and aroma, and is also responsible for many of its health benefits.
Bottom Line: Cinnamon is made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree. Its unique properties come from its essential oils, such as cinnamaldehyde. Cassia cinnamon comes from the Cinnamomum cassia tree, also called Cinnamomum aromaticum. It originated in Southern China and is also known as Chinese cinnamon. However, there are several subspecies now widely grown across Eastern and Southern Asia 2.
Cassia tends to be a dark brown-red color with thicker sticks and a rougher texture than Ceylon cinnamon. Cassia cinnamon is considered lower quality. It is very cheap and is the type most commonly consumed around the world. Almost all cinnamon found in supermarkets is the cassia variety. Cassia has long been used in cooking and in traditional Chinese medicine. Bottom Line: Cassia cinnamon is the most common variety. Ceylon, or "true cinnamon," is native to Sri Lanka and southern parts of India.
Ceylon is tan-brown in color and contains many tight sticks with soft layers. These features provide a highly desirable quality and texture. Ceylon cinnamon is less common and has long been prized as a cooking spice.
It is quite expensive compared to the more common cassia variety. This explains its milder aroma and flavor 3. Bottom Line: Ceylon cinnamon is a high-quality, highly prized spice. For generations, cinnamon has been prized for its health properties.
A review of 16 previous studies on diabetes treatment found promising results for Ceylon powder that was used as a supplement 4. Animal and lab studies show it may reduce blood sugar spikes, increase insulin sensitivity and improve metabolic markers associated with insulin resistance.
On the other hand, cassia has been used in several studies of humans with and without type 2 diabetes. Most of these observed significant reductions in fasting blood sugar levels within several months of use.
Ceylon vs. Cassia — Not All Cinnamon Is Created Equal
Young Indonesian cinnamon tree, Indonesia C. In all five species, the dried bark is used as a spice. Its bark is thicker, more difficult to crush, and has a rougher texture than that of Ceylon cinnamon. Because of the disruption caused by the Vietnam War , however, production of Indonesian cassia in the highlands of the Indonesia island of Sumatra was increased to meet demand. Chinese cassia has a sweeter flavor than Indonesian cassia, similar to Saigon cinnamon, but with lower oil content. Cassia is sometimes added to Ceylon cinnamon, but is a much thicker, coarser product.
Difference Between Cinnamon and Cassia
It was imported to Egypt as early as BC, but those who reported that it had come from China had confused it with cinnamon cassia, a related species. Related species, all harvested and sold in the modern era as cinnamon, are native to Vietnam, Indonesia and other southeast Asian countries with warm climates. In Ancient Egypt, cinnamon was used to embalm mummies. The gifts of Hellenistic rulers to temples sometimes included cassia and cinnamon. The first Greek reference to kasia is found in a poem by Sappho in the seventh century BC.