Ceylon cinnamon
Ceylon cinnamon, often called true cinnamon, is found in Sri Lanka, while cassia cinnamon is found in Indonesia and China.

Several varieties of cinnamon are derived from the bark of different types of cinnamon trees but only four are used for commercial purposes. Among these four types, Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum verum) and Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum cassia) are the two main types used. Each type has a distinct color, flavor, and smell.

  • Ceylon cinnamon is often referred to as true cinnamon, which is found primarily in Sri Lanka and the southern regions of India.
  • Cassia cinnamon typically comes from Indonesia and China and is distributed worldwide.

What are the differences between Cassia cinnamon and Ceylon cinnamon?

It is possible to differentiate between Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon when they are in stick form. However, ground cinnamon is mostly marketed, which makes it difficult to differentiate between the two.

The table below highlights the differences between Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon.

Table. Difference between Cassia and Ceylon cinnamon
Characteristics Cassia cinnamon Ceylon cinnamon
Appearance
  • Cassia cinnamon sticks are made of a single thick, solid layer of bark that has been rolled up.
  • Appears more reddish.
  • Ceylon cinnamon sticks are made of numerous thin, soft layers of bark that have been rolled together.
  • Appears paler than Cassia cinnamon.
Availability Cassia cinnamon is the most prevalent variety and is commonly labeled as “cinnamon” in grocery shops. Ceylon cinnamon is a more costly and rare variety of cinnamon, which makes it harder to obtain.
Flavor Cassia cinnamon has a robust, rich, somewhat bitter flavor that makes it an excellent choice for baked products and is quite cheap. Saigon and Korintje cinnamon are Cassia cinnamon types, which are available as well. Ceylon is sweeter and lighter in flavor than Cassia. Ceylon cinnamon is used in most classic European and Mexican recipes that call for cinnamon.
Health benefits

Cassia cinnamon may benefit people with

  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Irritable bowel syndrome
  • Yeast infections
  • Allergic rhinitis
  • Menstrual pain
  • Metabolic syndrome

Ceylon cinnamon may be good for people with

  • Diabetes
  • Cancer
  • High blood pressure
  • Alzheimer’s disease

What is cinnamon and what are the side effects?

Cinnamon is a widely used spice that is derived from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum tree. The inner bark is cut into strips and dried so that it curls, which people know as cinnamon sticks. These sticks may be broken into smaller pieces or grounded into a fine powder.

Cinnamon contains essential oils and compounds, such as cinnamaldehyde, which are responsible for its distinct flavor and fragrance. The spice possesses many health benefits, is reasonably priced, and is commonly found in most stores.

Research shows that cinnamaldehyde in cinnamon has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, and it is responsible for most of the health benefits.

Side effects of cinnamon

Cassia cinnamon is a commonly used cinnamon variety. It contains a compound, coumarin, which when taken in large quantities causes several health problems, such as

  • Liver damage: Several studies state that too much intake of coumarin may cause liver toxicity, eventually leading to liver damage.
  • Causes cancer: Studies suggest that excess coumarin may increase the risk of cancers, such as cancers of the lungs, kidneys, and liver. Though the exact mechanism of coumarin in causing cancer is unclear, some scientists believe that it may damage the DNA, which increases the risk of cancer.
  • Lowers blood sugar: Cinnamon mimics insulin and decreases blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia), presenting symptoms, such as dizziness, tiredness, and fainting. People who are on medications for diabetes are at higher risk of hypoglycemia because cinnamon enhances the effects of these drugs.
  • Breathing problems: Taking a lot of ground cinnamon might cause respiratory issues because the fine texture makes it easy to inhale and cause the following:

Cinnamaldehyde, a compound in Ceylon cinnamon, has the potential to irritate the throat and may trigger breathing problems.

Consuming too much cinnamon may have some negative effects, but it is a healthy spice that is safe to use in moderate amounts.

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Medically Reviewed on 10/22/2021
References
Debret C. The Difference between Cassia and Ceylon Cinnamon and its Powerful Medicinal Properties. https://www.onegreenplanet.org/natural-health/cassia-versus-ceylon-cinnamon-powerful-medicinal-properties/

Rx List. Cassia Cinnamon. https://www.rxlist.com/cassia_cinnamon/supplements.htm

WebMD. Ceylon Cinnamon. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-330/ceylon-cinnamon