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How to Identify and the Importance of Real Ceylon Cinnamon

Updated on October 13, 2015

Eat only the real Ceylon Cinnamon is the key point of this article. Cinnamon is a herb, it has many health benefits, it can control blood sugar, arthritis, reduce weight, lowers LDL cholesterol, it has anti-bacterial properties which can control tooth decay, etc, controls cancer, increases alertness and many more. But you can expect all these benefits if you eat real Ceylon Cinnamon. You don’t get these benefits if you eat alternative cinnamon like cassia, in fact they can damage your health if they are used regularly.

Real Ceylon Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka, and as a person born and living in Sri Lanka and as a person who has cinnamon trees at the backyard of the house, I can explain you how to differentiate between real cinnamon and fake cinnamon. Read on to know more about real Ceylon Cinnamon.


Why Eating Real Ceylon Cinnamon is Important?

As it is mentioned in the previous section, the wrong variety of cinnamon can put your health at a risk. The key factor to decide on the health issues of cinnamon is its Coumarin content. There are many researches carried out to find out the health risk of excessive Coumarin usage, and they revealed it can damage the liver. The European Food Safety Authority's has given guidelines to the maximum consumption of Coumarin per day. It is 0.1 milligrams per day per kilogram of body weight. They have also tested many cinnamon capsules and have warned against consuming them. Because they have been manufactured using Cassia Cinnamon and they contain much more Coumarin than allowed.

Let’s now look at the Coumarin content of Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon to understand how difference are these two in terms of Coumarin content.

A cinnamon cultivation
A cinnamon cultivation | Source
Coumarin Content (one tea spoon)
Ceylon Cinnamon
Less than 0.1 milligrams
Cassia Cinnamon
5milligrams -12 milligrams
Coumarin content of Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia

So, a negligible amount of Coumarin contains in Ceylon Cinnamon. By considering the European Food Safety Authority guidelines (0.1 milligram per 1kg body weight), a person weighing 70kg can consume less than 7 milligrams of Coumarin daily. So, it is clear that a person consuming cassia cinnamon daily is breaking the maximum tolerance level of coumarin. So, there is a risk to health, especially to liver.

The most worrying factor is that more than 90% of the cinnamon found in global market is cassia varieties. The main reason is they are very cheap, they are cheap something around 10 times than Ceylon Cinnamon. Due to the same reason any cinnamon flavored produce that is highly likely to use Cassia Cinnamon.

Cinnamon Leaves
Cinnamon Leaves | Source

Which Countries Produce Cinnamon?

As the name implies Ceylon Cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka. There is a hundreds of years long history for Sri Lanka to produce and trade cinnamon. Few centuries back Sri Lanka was named as Ceylon, and that is where the name Ceylon Cinnamon came from. Following tables lists the main cinnamon producers in the world. (source : )

All varieties other than cinnamon produced by Sri Lanka contain more than accepted level of Coumarin.

Scientific Name
Common Name
Cinnamomum burmannii
Indonesian cinnamon
Indonesian Cassia
Java Cinnamon
Cinnamomum cassia
Chinese Cinnamon
Cinnamomum aromaticum
Chinese Cassia
Cinnamomum loureiroi
Vietnamese Cinnamon
Vietnamese Cassia
Saigon Cassia
Saigon Cinnamon
Sri Lanka
Cinnamomum verum
Ceylon Cinnamon
Main Cinnamon Producers in the World
Production (metric ton)
Sri Lanka
São Tomé and Príncipe
Cinnamon production by Country in the year 2013

How to differentiate Ceylon Cinnamon from other Cinnamon

The above tables show how rare Ceylon Cinnamon is. This is another reason for the high price of Ceylon Cinnamon. Therefore identifying Ceylon Cinnamon is really important.

Cinnamon is healthy and risk free only when it is Ceylon Cinnamon. It is very difficult to differentiate them when it is in powdered form. All are almost identical, except for those who are experts. Then the only option is to trust the labels and packing. If the label says it is from Sri Lanka, then you can assume that it is Ceylon Cinnamon, but you can't rely on the label all the time. There are enough fake labels. So, if you purchasing cinnamon in the powdered form, you have to purchase it from trusted sellers only.

If the cinnamon is purchased in its stick form, then there are some characteristics that can be use to identify Ceylon Cinnamon.

Ceylon Cinnamon
Cassia Cinnamon
Light Brown
Dark Brown
Thin and Soft
Thick and Rough
Several folds of layer like a cigar
only inwardly folded. Empty cavity
High Price
Low Price
Ceylon Cinnamon
Ceylon Cinnamon | Source
Cassia cinnamon
Cassia cinnamon | Source

Have you ever tasted real Ceylon Cinnamon?

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If you would like to try Ceylon Cinnamon and you don’t know how to find real Ceylon Cinnamon, please let me know at the comments section below, I will try to help you. I am not doing any Cinnamon business, but as a Sri Lanka and passionate about Ceylon cinnamon, I would like to help you. I know few Sri Lankan companies who export Ceylon Cinnamon.


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