I would like to clear up some of the confusion about cinnamon. A lot of articles have been written and claims made to amazing benefits that can be found consuming this spice. However, its worth learning more about cinnamon if you are going to use this spice on a regular basis. One of the most important things to know is that there are several different species of plants that are often sold as cinnamon across the world. The taste and also chemical make up of these plants vary as well.
I frequently visit a bio-dynamic farm in Costa Rica called Villa Vanilla where they are growing Cinnamanum Zeylanicum also sometimes referred to as Cinnamanum Verum which translates as “true cinnamon”. I have seen the ceylon plant growing first hand and know how to use it in many ways, including brewing ceylon bark into a detoxifying tea. It is important to know the difference between the various types of cinnamon though, as I would *not* recommend making tea with the darker cassia bark that is more widely available in the marketplace. Cassia cinnamon contains a significantly higher amount of a blood thinning compound called coumarin (link-more information on the potential effects of this substance).
Prolonged use of cassia cinnamon can lead to this compound building up in the bloodstream as it is difficult for the liver to filter it out. Ceylon cinnamon contains only trace amounts of this substance and it the reason why the spice also has a slightly less bitter component to its flavor profile (this is also why Ceylon cinnamon is sometimes called honey cinnamon).
I frequently come across articles written which do not do a good job of distinguishing between the various types of cinnamon. In general, if you see a recipe or article referring to the benefits of consuming cinnamon and it doesn’t distinguish which variety they are talking about, the validity is questionable. My goal with this site is to discuss certain relevant topics & give you the tools to make better decisions regarding your health.
The bark you use from ceylon is found between the outer bark and the heart of the tree, thus only the inner bark contains the desired compounds in significant amounts. Harvesting generally needs to be done by hand. Cassia is easier to harvest and grows faster, thus why the commercial trade has centered around this type of cinnamon.
While not yet widely available, it is around if you know what to look for. Ceylon is in general, lighter in color. Here are some options online for buying Ceylon Cinnamon.
I am still looking for a good source of ceylon bark for making tea. If I find one I will add it to this article.