What is Ceylon Cinnamon

Ceylon Cinnamon is the finest in the world. It is one of the top quality products from Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka with that mesmerizing aroma and heavenly taste.

When we look into many ancient civilizations of the world, Cinnamon has played an important role which goes beyond our imagination. It was one of the first traded items in the whole wide world. Cinnamon was especially popular in the Arabian countries. Arabians, being jacks of all trades, earned a fortune from their cinnamon business along the spice route. It was used in European medicine. Roman era records certifies to that. Would you believe if we said that reputed voyagers such as Christopher Columbus and Vasco De Gama were actually Cinnamon-driven?

Is Cinnamon endemic to Sri Lanka?

Actually, Yes. There is a specific type of Cinnamon which is an indigenous plant of Sri Lanka. Ceylon Cinnamon or else, scientifically Cinamomum zylanicum has been a greatly known and widely used spice in most parts of the world as well as in Sri Lanka. Ceylon Cinnamon belongs to the Lauraceae family and it accommodates about 250 species and sub species. Yet, Ceylon Cinnamon was able to preserve its purity among all.

Ceylon Cinnamon Leaves
Photo by Muditha Katuwawala

It grows as a bush-like plant to a medium height. Because of the alluring smell and taste of Ceylon Cinnamon, the two words has become a household brand in many countries. It has an extremely unique aroma, flavor and a color which distinguishes every other type of Cinnamon from Ceylon Cinnamon. It is also considered as the spice which brings most of the the foreign income to Sri Lanka.

Over the years, Sri Lanka has become the largest Cinnamon exporter in the world owning 8% of the overall Cinnamon supply in the world.

How is Cinnamon extracted?

In the case of Sri Lanka, Cinnamon harvesting is a traditional process. Harvesters usually come from experienced family backgrounds who have been doing it for generations. The skill of their hands is one of the number one contributors to taking Ceylon Cinnamon to the prestigious level where it is now.

Peeling Ceylon Cinnamon
Photo by Muditha Katuwawala

Cinnamon is made out of the bark of the Cinnamon bush. The first step of harvesting is to scrape the outer Cinnamon bark. Harvesters use mechanically carved tools for this so that it would not damage the inner layer of the bark. The inner layer of the Cinnamon bark is shaved from the trees and then it is dried. Eventually, it curls up into what we call 'quills'. Those quills are bundled and distributed or imported for usage of the consumers.

The carved outer layers are later used to make compost and is used as fertilizer for the next batch of Cinnamon plants. This traditional way of extraction is actually one of the most environmental-friendly methods of plant extraction. The left out inner wood and Cinnamon leaves are used to make Cinnamon oil, another world renowned product.

Ceylon Cinnamon quills
Photo by Aditya Joshi on unsplash.com

How is Cinnamon used?

In addition to just Cinnamon quills, there is a large range of products which use those quills as raw material. For instance, Cinnamon powder and tablets.

Exported Cinnamon products of Sri Lanka actually has a lot of uses. Cinnamon powder is widely used in Western bakery products such as Cinnamon buns and Cinnamon rolls which are really popular delicacies in Europe. Undoubtedly, Asian dishes require Cinnamon powder or straight up quills as a staple additive for the fragrance and flavor.

It was originally used as a flavor which is still done even today. Have you ever heard of classic Cinnamon Tea? Yes, it is Ceylon Cinnamon which gives that addictive flavor to that tea.

Cinnamon powder
Photo by Luísa Schetinger on unsplash.com

Ancient Sri Lankans used Cinnamon also as a food preservative. It has certain qualities which prevents food from getting rotten too early by limiting bacterial activity on food.

And Cinnamon has become more popular in the field of pharmaceuticals recently.

What are the health benefits of Ceylon Cinnamon?

Ceylon Cinnamon contains more medical properties than you could ever imagine. I mean, it might just have been a mere spice to some of us. But it has been making us healthy and ready to battle all the way long.

They contain enzymes which have been found to fight cancer. It has all antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial effects. Because they increase the antioxidant enzyme activity it fights to prevent you from getting some types of cancer. It is a herb used in Eastern Medicine as a high blood pressure reducer. Nowadays, Western medicine has also come to acknowledge those properties.

It also helps to prevent diabetes and also works a treatment for digestive problems. That is why some doctors advise to drink Cinnamon tea when one gets a stomachache. It has also proven to prevent Alzheimer's disease and improve brain power.

Branding and Grading of Ceylon Cinnamon

Ceylon Cinnamon branding is done to differentiate Pure Ceylon Cinnamon from more common Cassia. So, Sri Lankan Cinnamon works in the international marked under the brand "Pure Ceylon Cinnamon". It is a completely registered trademark in Europe as well as USA.

When it come to the grading. Ceylon Cinnamon is graded according to several factors.

  • Color
  • Density
  • Blemishes
  • Essential Oil content etc.

Sri Lankan government has introduced SLS-81 standards to help buyers choose the best suitable one. Spice Council of Sri Lanka has stated that SLS-81 standard Cinnamon comprises of 15% moisture.

Because there are several bogus products, buyers are advised to research on the branding and grading to avoid disappointments.

Who buys Ceylon Cinnamon the most?

For most of the years, USA and Mexico have been the loyal buyers of Ceylon Cinnamon. That is mostly because of their diet. Especially Mexican food requires a great deal of flavor and they have chosen Ceylon Cinnamon as the flavor-giver. Additionally, countries such as Colombia, Peru, Spain, Ecuador, Chile and some other South American countries have been Ceylon Cinnamon fanatics for a long time as well.

When in comes to numbers, Sri Lanka has become the number 1 exporter in this product (Cinamomum zylanicum) in the whole world with a whopping figure of 41.13% as of 2013 and is continuing to grow.

Who buys the Ceylon Cinnamon the most

As you read all along, Ceylon Cinnamon is the finest in the world. It is one of the top quality products of Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Sri Lanka. This country has an abundance to offer. Ceylon Cinnamon with that unbeatable fragrance and the heavenly flavor is just one. Add this delicacy to your diet today and experience the lifelong benefits in the future as well as the instant pleasure of the taste and aroma.

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