Cinnamon has found its way into household dishes everywhere; from curries to baked goods, or simply sprinkled on top of sweet desserts, this warm spice has become an essential part of every pantry. Harvested out of the barks of tropical evergreen trees and packed with antioxidants, cinnamon has also been used for thousands of years for its powerful medicinal properties. It is easily available as both cinnamon sticks and as a finely ground powder in most grocery stores.
But not all cinnamon is created equal. There are two types of cinnamon available on the market: Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon. While both can be said to possess important health benefits, they are not as similar as they may first appear.
Ceylon Cinnamon versus Cassia Cinnamon
Cassia cinnamon (or Chinese cinnamon) is primarily grown in Indonesia, China and Vietnam, and it is the most widely available type of cinnamon in supermarkets. This is because it is cheaper to produce and is considered to be of lower quality than Ceylon cinnamon.
Ceylon cinnamon (or true cinnamon) is native to the island of Sri Lanka. It is far less common and considered to be of far higher quality than Cassia. With its mild and delicate flavor, Ceylon cinnamon is typically favored for its use in desserts and is the superior choice when it comes to the health benefits of the spice.
Both varieties of the spice are good for health, with their ability to increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood sugars, but Ceylon cinnamon is typically recommended over Cassia for its medicinal benefits. This is because Cassia contains a compound called coumarin, which is toxic to humans in large doses. Studies have shown that ingesting large amounts of coumarin can result in kidney, liver and lung damage, as well as potentially causing cancer. As little as two teaspoons of Cassia cinnamon is enough to take someone over the maximum daily limit of coumarin.
Ceylon cinnamon, meanwhile, has such low levels of coumarin that it is nearly undetectable in the plant, and large amounts of it can be safely consumed. It is for this reason that the native Sri Lankan spice is so often recommended for its health benefits over Cassia.
Adding Ceylon cinnamon to your diet today can be as easy as choosing to enjoy it with your morning tea. The pure Ceylon Cinnamon Hot and Bottled Brews available from Nature’s Rare use organic and all-natural cinnamon, sourced sustainably from the fields of Sri Lanka. Our caffeine-free teas contain no added preservatives or artificial flavors, and are an easy way to incorporate the benefits of cinnamon safely into your daily diet.
Ceylon Cinnamon for Heart Health
There are several health benefits to regularly consuming Ceylon cinnamon. The spice has been shown to lower blood glucose levels, which has beneficial effects to patients with diabetes. With its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, cinnamon has also been seen to help with menstrual cramps, preventing the growth of cancerous cells and aiding in weight loss. One of the most important benefits of cinnamon, however, is its use in promoting heart health.
Heart disease is the most common cause of premature death worldwide. Two key risk factors for heart disease are high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels, and cinnamon is an excellent, natural way to ease some symptoms. Evidence suggests that cinnamon may lower blood pressure for a short period of time. It may also increase our levels of HDL (the “good” cholesterol in our blood) and decrease LDL (the “bad” cholesterol). And while simply taking a spoonful of cinnamon in the morning is not going to solve the issue on its own – important lifestyle changes such as frequent exercise and a healthy diet should also be implemented.