People know about cinnamon from the ancient times. It was mentioned in the writings dated to the second century B.C.E. In the "Exodus", cinnamon is referred to as an aromatic substance, along with aloe and myrrh. In the writings of the Ancient Rome it is said that cinnamon was used in funeral rituals for the members of the imperial family and high-ranking nobles. It was so valuable and expensive that it was presented as a gift to the great ones of the earth. But it was inaccessible for the ordinary people. This spice spread more widely in the Middle Ages with the development of trade.
There is real and false cinnamon. Real Cinnamomum zeylanicum appeared in the XV century, when the merchants from Portugal discovered Ceylon. Earlier people have mostly used Cassamomum cassia, also called "cassia", "false" or "Chinese cinnamon".
They look very similar and even have an identical taste, however they are made from the bark of different plants. They are very difficult to distinguish, especially if you have a ground product. On the label you can find information about the origin of ground spices in the package. But if you prefer to buy spices for weight, it will be almost impossible to determine what sort of cinnamon you have got.
In fact this spice has a few more "doubles". There is also a close relative of Ceylon cinnamon Cinnamomum aromaticum, Cinnamon loureiroi or Vietnamese cinnamon, camphor cinnamon Cinnamon camphora, malabart or Cinnamon tamala and Indonesian variety called Cinnamon burmannii.
Usually we use it for cooking, but it also has a number of healing properties. So, it is used to improve immunity and as a treatment of colds, it helps to solve problems with digestion and to get rid of periodic women pains. Some people use it to cure diabetes.
This unique plant contains a large number of antioxidants. In addition to the powder, oil is also popular. Cinnamon oil has an antimicrobial effect, but like other essential oils it should be used only diluted to avoid skin burns. Warming ointments that treat many diseases, ranging from cold and flu to rheumatism, are produced on the basis of the essential oil.
This spice has a warming effect, so in winter it is often added to teas, hot mulled wine, cocoa and other warming drinks.
Its composition can be called really unique: retinol, tocopherol, potassium, sodium, iron, manganese, copper, magnesium, phytoncides, dietary fiber – and this is not a full list!
In cooking cinnamon is considered to be a real queen. It gives a unique taste and aroma to various dishes. Most often it is used for baking. You can not imagine such desserts as strudel, cinnabon, cinnamon gingerbread without it. It also brings out additional flavor to the taste of meat, mushrooms and even red fish. In Indian cuisine, this is an ordinary ingredient, almost no dish is dispensed without it. This is due to the fact that it also has bactericidal properties that is so important in a hot climate. If you smear a piece of meat with cinnamon, you can keep it without a refrigerator for several days.
Thanks to the fact that the queen of spices is able to speed up the metabolic processes and blood circulation it is often used for weight loss, and it really works.
However, despite all the benefits of cinnamon, people with allergic reactions and children should use it with caution, as it can cause itching and irritation.
Cinnamon can cause different feelings. Someone is its fan, and someone does not even tolerate its smell. But it does not allow anybody to stay indifferent!