Cinnamon was one of the first traded spices of the ancient world. Cinnamon was a popular spice in the ancient Arab world and Arab traders have paved the way for Cinnamon to travel a long distance through the spice route to the Europen market. Cinnamon has motivated many historical voyages leading to discovery of New World by Christopher Columbus and Vasco De Gamma to Sri Lanka & South India.
Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinamomum Zylanicum) a plant indigenous to Sri Lanka is a moderately size bushy ever green tree. Cinnamon grown and produced in Sri Lanka has acquired long standing reputation in the international market due to its unique, quality, colour, flavour and aroma. The name Ceylon Cinnamon derived from the former name of Sri Lanka is a very established geographical indication for Cinnamon.
Cinnamon is the most important and valuable spice produced in Sri Lanka. Before the advent of modern food preservation technology Europeans have used Cinnamon with Pepper to preserve meet products. Cinnamon is used in bakery products, Asian foods and flavoured tea for its distinctive aroma & flavour. With growing concern on health hazards associated with synthetic flavouring agents used in the food industry there is an increasing preference for natural flavours worldwide
The unique method of processing and curing of cinnamon entices the characteristic Flavour over cassia. The preparation of Cinnamon quills involves a combination of art and skill unique to Sri Lanka and has been handed down from generation to generation over centuries. Value added Cinnamon products such as Cinnamon oil, Cinnamon powder and Tablets are also produced and exported to large number of countries.
The Ceylon Cinnamon belongs to the family Lauraceae and it contains about 250 species and sub species. ‘Ceylon Cinnamon’ (Cinamomum Zeylanicum Blume) and Cassia are the more important ones that are traded in the international market. Cassia is originated from different countries such as China, Vietnam region, Java region, Indonesia and India. ‘Ceylon Cinnamon’ referred to as “sweet cinnamon” and “true cinnamon” is considered superior to the variety known as Cassia.
Cinnamon as a Food item
As a Spices: Cinnamon is the most important and valuable spice produced in Sri Lanka. Value added Cinnamon produced such as Cinnamon oil, Cinnamon powder & tablets are also produced in Sri Lanka for export to large number of countries. Cinnamon is used in bakery products, Asian foods, flavoured tea for its distinctive aroma and flavour and also in the preservation of certain foods.
Health Aspect of the Cinnamon: Therapeutic effect of cinnamon against diabetic and hypertension is now well established. Polyphonic called cennamatannin, a proanthocyanaidins found in cinnamon is responsible to the above effects.
At present Cinnamon is widely used as a food ingredient, in the pharmaceutical preparations & in the cosmetics industry world wide. Being high in antioxidants it is good for overall health. Volatile oil of Cinnamon is widely used in perfumes, cosmetics and scented exotic gifts.