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What kind of cinnamon are you eating - Ceylon, cassia, Korintje, or Saigon?

Ceylon cinnamon
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(NaturalNews) There are hundreds of types of cinnamon, but there are only four varieties used for commercial purposes. The cinnamon known as "true cinnamon" is Ceylon cinnamon. This is the only variety that many other countries refer to as cinnamon. Other varieties are known as cassia.

Other cinnamon varieties, which are much more common in North America, are easier to produce and less expensive than Ceylon cinnamon. Cassia (Chinese) cinnamon, Saigon cinnamon, and Korintje are typically all lumped in together and referred to as cassia cinnamon, though they are each distinctively different. Each of these three closely related spices are much stronger and more pungent than Ceylon cinnamon.

Ceylon cinnamon is grown in Sri Lanka, Madagascar, Brazil, India, and the Caribbean. This variety is more popular in much of Europe, Latin America, Mexico, the Middle East, North Africa, and South Asia. Indian curries and desert recipes of the lighter variety that call for cinnamon are typically referring to Ceylon cinnamon. Ceylon is the sweetest and mildest tasting and the lightest in color. It's also three to four times more expensive than the other varieties.

Ceylon has less coumarin than the other varieties and is often recommended above others by the alternative health community and many conventional doctors as well, since coumarin can cause liver damage in high dosages (more on that below).

Cassia Cinnamon (Chinese Cinnamon)

It can get a little confusing here since all three non-Ceylon varieties are often referred to as cassia cinnamon, while the Chinese cinnamon is often referred to as cassia cinnamon. In other words, Cassia cinnamon may refer to Chinese cinnamon or it may refer to one of the other non-Ceylon cinnamons: Saigon cinnamon or Korintjr cinnamon.

Today, Tung Hing, the Chinese cinnamon is mostly grown in China, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. This variety is spicy, bitter, and very intense.

Saigon Cinnamon

Known as Vietnamese cinnamon or Vietnamese cassia, Saigon cinnamon's scientific name is Cinnamomum Loureiroi. It comes from an evergreen tree indigenous to Southeast Asia. Saigon cinnamon is closely related to Chinese cinnamon. Saigon cinnamon has around 1-5% essential oil content and 25% cinnamaldehyde in the essential oil, which is the highest of all the cinnamon species.

Saigon cinnamon's bark is similar to that of Tung Hing, but with a more pronounced and complex aroma. In Vietnamese cuisine, Saigon cinnamon bark is an important ingredient in many dishes including pho, the well-known noodle soup.

Saigon cinnamon has a volatile oil content of around 7%, which gives it a very bold and robust flavor that is ideal for cooking and for use in sauces.

Korintje Cinnamon

Fragrant Korintje cinnamon is as intense and spicy as Chinese cinnamon, but it is also a bit smoother. Korintje cinnamon from Indonesia accounts for most of the cinnamon imported into the U.S. Korintje cinnamon is a common choice for commercial bakeries in North America because of its good flavor and lower cost.

Coumarin in Cinnamon and Liver Damage

Ceylon cinnamon benefits are marketed as superior to the less expensive Cassia spices primarily due to Ceylon cinnamon's ultra low levels of a chemical called coumarin, a blood thinner that is toxic to the liver and prevalent in much higher levels in the three cassia spices. It's not anything most people need to worry about; the risk for any damage with normal or even much higher than normal consumption of cassia cinnamon is negligible.

For flavoring food, go with any and all varieties and discover what works best for each food. As a medicinal supplement though, if you want to take regular, relatively large doses, it may make sense to stick with Ceylon cinnamon for this purpose. Be sure to check out the cinnamon recipes in How to Optimize Curcumin Absorption and Cinnamon - Ceylon Vs Cassia, Health Benefits, and Other Interesting Facts.





About the author:
Michael Edwards is the founder, owner, editor-in-chief, and janitor for Organic Lifestyle Magazine and Green Lifestyle Market. At age 17, Michael weighed more than 360 pounds. He suffered from ADHD, allergies, frequent bouts of illness, and chronic, debilitating insomnia.

Conventional medicine wasn't working. While he restored his health through alternative medicine he studied natural health and became immersed in it.

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