What part of the cinnamon plant becomes the spice?
In this brief article, we will provide you with the answer to the question: “What part of the cinnamon plant becomes the spice?”, discuss the benefits of cinnamon consumption and ways of including cinnamon in your diet.
What part of the cinnamon plant becomes the spice?
The bark of the cinnamon plant becomes the spice. Cinnamon is a highly fragrant coating of a tree trunk.
The tree’s bark is removed before digging a bit deeper to remove the second layer. It is then sliced into slivers, which naturally bend when dried in the sun to make the cinnamon sticks.
Cinnamon trees that are more than two years old are frequently chopped down since the stump will regenerate into one or more new shoots. With this approach, you may “harvest” cinnamon twice a year. (1)
Overall, approximately 250 species have been identified among the cinnamon genus, with trees being scattered all over the world, cinnamon is used worldwide not only for cooking but also in traditional and modern medicines. (2)
What is the composition of cinnamon?
Cinnamon contains a diverse array of essential oils, including trans-cinnamaldehyde, cinnamyl acetate, eugenol, L-borneol, caryophyllene oxide, b-caryophyllene, L-bornyl acetate, E-nerolidol, α-cubebene, α-terpineol, terpinolene, and α-thujene. (2)
Cinnamon essential oil extracted from the bark predominantly contains cinnamaldehyde (56-78%) as its main flavor compound, accompanied by eugenol (4-10%). In contrast, cinnamon essential oil obtained from the leaves primarily consists of eugenol (60-77%). (3)
What factors affect the composition of cinnamon?
The composition and quantities of these components vary depending on several factors, including the species, the plant part used (bark, leaves, root barks, or buds), and the age of the plant.
For instance, certain species like Cinnamomum cassia may contain 80-90% cinnamaldehyde with minimal or no eugenol, while the bark of Cinnamomum zeylanicum typically contains 60-80% cinnamaldehyde and approximately 2% eugenol. (3)
What are the benefits of cinnamon consumption?
Cinnamon is a fragrant spice high in flavonoids including eugenol, hesperidin, and linalool, which have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects and can help prevent cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes.
Cinnamon helps to enhance physical and mental disposition by containing high levels of cinnamaldehyde, a chemical that promotes improved metabolism and increases focus. It also stimulates the burning of body fat, enabling weight reduction. (2, 4)
Assist with diabetes management
Cinnamon contains antioxidant and anti-inflammatory characteristics that preserve pancreatic cells and promote insulin action, reducing insulin resistance and diabetes.
Cinnamon includes cinnamaldehyde, a chemical that promotes weight reduction by stimulating higher metabolism and allowing the body to burn extra body fat.
Furthermore, this spice imparts a sweet flavor to dishes, making it an excellent substitute for sugar and a low-calorie diet. (1-4)
Helps get rid of cavities and bad breath
Cinnamon includes cinnamaldehyde and eugenol, two chemicals having antibacterial capabilities that aid in the prevention and treatment of oral disorders such as cavities, gingivitis, and foul breath. (1-4)
Helps to maintain mental health
Cinnamon contains antioxidants that protect the cells of the central nervous system from free radical damage, which enhances memory and helps prevent illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.(1-4)
Prevents cardiovascular illness
Cinnamon’s antioxidant components assist in preventing fat cell oxidation, decreasing levels of “bad” cholesterol, LDL, and triglycerides in the blood, and aiding in the prevention of illnesses such as atherosclerosis, heart attack, and stroke.
Furthermore, cinnamaldehyde and cinnamic acid, bioactive chemicals with anti-inflammatory properties, enhance arterial health and relaxation, aiding in blood pressure regulation.(1-4)
Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory qualities, reducing inflammation in central nervous system cells and increasing serotonin synthesis, a neurotransmitter crucial for mood, pleasure, and overall well-being.(1-4)
Cinnamon promotes digestion and relieves bloating and excess gas by enhancing the function of enzymes responsible for food absorption.(1-4)
Assist in cancer prevention
Cinnamon can help combat excess free radicals, limiting damage to healthy cells and consequently the development of some forms of cancer, because it includes cinnamaldehyde and eugenol, chemicals with significant antioxidant function.(1-4)
Improve sexual health
Cinnamon is regarded as an aphrodisiac due to its stimulating characteristics and ability to stimulate blood circulation, therefore enhancing sensitivity and improving well-being, desire, and enjoyment.(1-4)
Excessive consumption of certain types of cinnamon can lead to a high intake of coumarin, a natural compound known for its hepatotoxic properties.
Coumarin is found in various Cinnamomum species, including Cinnamomum cassia, Cinnamomum loureiroi, and Cinnamomum burmannii, commonly known as cassia.
Unlike the less commonly used and more expensive Cinnamomum verum, also known as true cinnamon, cassia contains significant amounts of coumarin.
As a result, many commercially available food products are flavored with cassia and consequently contain coumarin.(5)
How to use cinnamon?
Cinnamon sticks are utilized to infuse flavor into liquid-based dishes and beverages. However, they are typically removed before serving the meals and drinks.
On the other hand, ground cinnamon is added directly to desserts, stews, and beverages without being removed.
Typically, a 1/2 teaspoon (approximately 1.4 grams) of ground cinnamon is considered equivalent to a cinnamon stick.
Grinding the cinnamon plays a crucial role in unlocking its aromatic compounds and enhancing their extractability, making them more accessible.
Breaking down the cinnamon sticks into smaller particles through grinding allows for better access to the aromatic components and essential oils of cinnamon. As a result, the captivating aroma and flavor that make cinnamon so desirable are fully released.
It is important to note that while grinding enhances the extractability of cinnamon, it can also make it more susceptible to gradual dissipation of its aromatic properties over time. (6)
In this brief article, we provided you with the answer to the question: “What part of the cinnamon plant becomes the spice?”, discussed the benefits of cinnamon consumption and ways of including cinnamon in your diet.
- Thacker, Emily. The Cinnamon Book. United States: James Direct, Incorporated, 2012.
- Rao PV, Gan SH. Cinnamon: a multifaceted medicinal plant. Evid Based Complement Alternat Med.2014:642942. 2014.
- Ribeiro-Santos, R., Andrade, M., Madella, D., Martinazzo, A. P., de Aquino Garcia Moura, L., de Melo, N. R., & Sanches-Silva, A. Revisiting an ancient spice with medicinal purposes: Cinnamon. Trends in Food Science & Technology, 62, 154–169.(2017).
- Błaszczyk, N.; Rosiak, A.; Kałużna-Czaplińska, J. The Potential Role of Cinnamon in Human Health. Forests 12, 648. 2021.
- Ballin, N. Z., & Sørensen, A. T. Coumarin content in cinnamon containing food products on the Danish market. Food Control, 38, 198–203.(2014).
- Pramod P. Aradwad, Arun Kumar T V, P.K. Sahoo, Indra Mani, Key issues and challenges in spice grinding, Cleaner Engineering and Technology, 5, 2021