names : Bastard cinnamon; canel; canton cassia; Chinese cinnamon
is a spice consisting of the aromatic bark of the Cinnamomum cassia
plant of the family Lauraceae. Similar to true cinnamon, cassia bark
has a more pungent, less delicate flavour and is thicker than cinnamon
bark. This ancient spice was known to the Chinese as early as 3000
BC and mentioned in the Bible. It was used by the Pharaohs and came
into Europe over the spice routes from the East.
is a native of Burma and is a small, evergreen laurel like tree growing
to a height of 3m in warm tropical conditions. It has yellow flowers
and the brown, immature fruit is snugly held in a cuplike, hard, wrinkled,
grayish-brown calyx (the whole commonly called a bud). They vary in
size but ordinarily 11 mm long, including the calyx tube. The upper
part of the bud may be about 6mm in diameter. Cassia bark is pealed
from stems and branches and set aside to dry. Some varieties are scraped.
While drying, the bark curls into quills. The colour varies from light
reddish brown for the thin, scraped bark to gray for the thick, unscraped
bark. Ground cassia is reddish brown in colour.
from China is less aromatic than that from Vietnam and Indonesia.
Cassia from all the three countries possess a sweet, aromatic, and
pungent flavour. Vietnamese, or Saigon, cassia is particularly highly
It contains from 1 to 2 percent oil of cassia, a volatile oil, the
principal component of which is cinnamic aldehyde (85-90%). The leaf
oil from this species also contains a high percent of cinnamic aldehyde.
The oleoresin of cassia usually contains 25-40% volatile oil.
bark is used as a flavouring in cooking, especially in savory dishes
and particularly in liqueurs and chocolate. It is an ingredient in
mixed spice, pickling spices. It is good with stewed fruits. Southern
Europeans prefer it to cinnamon, but, in North America, ground cinnamon
is sold without distinction as to the species from which the bark
and other use
buds, the dried, unripe fruits of C.cassia and C.loureirii, have a
cinnamon-like aroma and a warm, sweet, pungent taste akin to that
of cassia bark. The whole buds are added to foods for flavouring.
The cinnamic aldehyde is a good antifungal agent. The volatile oil
is used in some inhalants, in tonics and as a cure for flatulence,
sickness and diarrhoea.