Cinnamomum aromaticum

Cinnamomum aromaticum, called cassia or Chinese cinnamon, is an evergreen tree native to southern China, Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam. Like its close relative Cinnamomum verum, also known as “Ceylon cinnamon”,[1] it is used primarily for its aromatic bark, which is used as a spice. In the United States of America, cassia is often sold under the culinary name of “cinnamon”, a practice banned in many[which?]other countries[citation needed]. The buds are also used as a spice, especially in India, and were once used by the ancient Romans.

The tree grows to 10–15 m tall, with greyish bark and hard elongated leaves that are 10–15 cm long and have a decidedly reddish colour when young.

Health benefits and risks

Cassia (called ròu gùi;  in Chinese) is used in traditional Chinese medicine, where it is considered one of the 50 fundamental herbs.[7]

In 2006, a study reported no statistically significant additional benefit when cinnamon cassia powder was given to type 2 diabetes patients who were already being treated with metformin.[8] A systematic review of research indicates that cinnamon may reduce fasting blood sugar, but does not have an effect onhemoglobin A1C, a biological marker of long-term diabetes.[9]

Chemist Richard Anderson says that his research has shown that most, if not all, of cinnamon’s antidiabetic effect is in its water-soluble fraction, not the oil (the ground cinnamon spice itself should be ingested for benefit, not the oil or a water extraction). In fact, some cinnamon oil-entrained compounds could prove toxic in high concentrations. Cassia’s effects on enhancing insulin sensitivity appear to be mediated by type-A polymeric polyphenols.[10][11] Despite these findings, cassia should not be used in place of anti-diabetic drugs, unless blood glucose levels are closely monitored, and its use is combined with a strictly controlled diet and exercise program.

Due to a toxic component called coumarin, European health agencies have warned against consuming high amounts of cassia.[12]

Other possible toxins founds in the bark/powder are cinnamaldehyde and styrene.[13

 

{Information courtesy Wikipedia}