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Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume)

Synonyms

pharmaceuticalCortex Cinnamoni
botanicalCinnamomum verum J. Presl
AlbanianKanellë, Kanella
Amharicቀረፋ
Kerefa
Arabicقرفة
قِرْفَة
Qarfah, Qirfah, Qurfa
Aramaicܕܪܨܝܢܝ, ܨܝܢܕܪܓ, ܩܢܡܘܢ
Darsini, Sindreg, Qenamon
ArmenianԿինամոն, Դարչին, Դարիճենիկ, Դարիսենիկ
Ginamon, Darichenik, Kinamom, Darisenik
Assameseদালচেনি
Dalseni
AzeriDarçın
Дарчын
BasqueKanela, Kanelondo
BelarusianЦынамон, Карыца, Цэйлонская карыца
Cynamon, Karytsa, Zejlonskaja karyca
Bengaliদারচিনি, দারুচিনি
Darchini, Daruchini
Bodoदालसिनि
Dalsini
BretonKanell
BulgarianЦейлонска канела
Tsejlonska kanela
BulgarianКанела
Kanela
BurmeseThit-ja-bo-gauk, Hminthin
CatalanCanyella
Chakma𑄓𑄣𑄴 𑄌𑄨𑄚𑄨
Dal chini
Chinese
(Cantonese)
肉桂 [yuhk gwai], 錫蘭肉桂 [sek láahn yuhk gwai]
Yuhk gwai, Sek laahn yuhk gwai
Chinese
(Mandarin)
肉桂 [ròu guì], 錫蘭肉桂 [xī lán ròu guì]
Rou gui, Jou kuei, Xi lan rou gui
Copticⲛⲁⲙⲛⲟⲛ
Namnon
CroatianCimet, Ceylonski cimet
CzechSkořice, Skořice cejlonská
DanishKanel
Dhivehiފޮނިތޮށި
Fonithoshi
DutchKaneel
EnglishSri Lanka cinnamon
EsperantoCinamo
EstonianTseiloni kaneelipuu, Kaneel
FanteAnoater dua
Farsiدارچین
Darchin, Dar chini
FinnishKaneli, Ceyloninkaneli
FrenchCannelle type Ceylan, Cannelle
GaelicCaineal
GalicianCanela
Georgianდარიჩინი
Darichini
GermanZimt, Echter Zimt, Ceylon-Zimt, Zimtblüte (buds)
GreekΚανέλα Κεϋλάνης
Kanela (Keÿlanes)
Greek (Old)Κιννάμωμον
Kinnamomom
Gujaratiતજ
Taj
HausaKirfa
Hebrewקינמון, קנמון
קִנָּמוֹן, קִינָּמוֹן
Kinamon, Qinamon
Hindiदालचीनी, नागकेसर
Dalchini, Nagkesar
HungarianFahéj, Ceyloni fahéj
IcelandicKanell
IndonesianKayu manis, Kulit manis
IrishCainéal
ItalianCannella
Japanese肉桂
にっけい
ニッケイ, セイロンニッケイ, シナモン
Nikkei, Seiron-nikkei, Shinamon
Kannadaದಾಲಚಿನ್ನಿ ಚಕ್ಕೆ, ದಾಲ್ಚಿನ್ನಿ, ಚಕ್ಕೆ
Dalachinni chakke, Dalchinni, Lavangapatta, Chakke
Kashmiriدالچین
Dalchin
KazakhДаршин
Darşïn
KhasiDalchini
KhmerChek tum phka loeng
Korean, 계피, 실론계피, 시나몬, 육계
Kye, Gye, Kyepi, Sillon-gyepi, Sinamon, Yukkye
Laoອົບເຊຍ
Obsey
LatinCanella, Cinnamomum
LatvianKanēlis
LithuanianCinamonas
MacedonianЦимет
Cimet
Maithiliदालचिनी
Dalchini
MalayKayu manis
Malayalamഇലവംഗം, കറുവാ, കറുവാപ്പട്ട, കറുവപ്പട്ട, ലവംഗപ്പട്ട, പട്ട
Ilavangam, Karuva, Karuvappatta, Lavangappatta, Patta
MalteseKannella
Manipuri (Meitei-Lon)উশিংশা
ꯎꯁꯤꯡꯁꯥ
Ushingsha
Marathiदालचिनी
Dalachini
MizoThakthing
MongolianШанцай
Shantsaj
Naga (Angami)Seichü
Naga (Ao)Sungshi
Naga (Chakhesang-Chokri)Chipfweketo, Thime
Naga (Konyak)Pongmo
Naga (Lotha)Xsangsuru
Naga (Rengma)Achansa
Naga (Sumi)Losani, Akusa
Naga (Tangkhul)Pharongkor
Nepaliदालचीनी, कुखी ताज
Dalchini, Kukhi taj
NorwegianKanel
Oriyaଦାଲଚିନି, ଡାଲଚିନି, ଡାଲଚିନୀ
Dalachini
PashtoDolchini
PolishCynamon cejloński; Cynamonowiec cejloński (tree)
PortugueseCanela
Punjabiਦਾਲਚੀਨੀ, ਦਾਲ਼ਚੀਨੀ
Dal chini
RomanianScorțișoarăScorţişoară
RussianКорица, Цейлонская корица
Koritsa, Tsejlonskaya koritsa
SanskritDarusita, Twak
SerbianЦимет, Дарчин
Cimet, Darčin
Sinhalaකුරුඳු, කුරුදු
Kurundu
SlovakŠkorica, Škorica cejlonská
SlovenianCimet
SpanishCanela
SwahiliMdalasini
SwedishKanel
TagalogKanela
Tamilஇலவங்கம், லவங்க பட்டை, கருவா
Ilavangam, Lavanga pattai, Karuva
TeluguDalchina chekka
Thaiอบเชย, อบเชยเทศ, อบเชยศรีลังกา
Ob choey, Ob choey tet, Ob choey Srilanka
Tibetanཤིང་ཚ་
Shing-tsha, Shing-tsa
Tigrinyaቃርፋ
Qerfe
Tuluಚೆಕ್ಕೆ
Chekke
TurkishSeylan tarçını, Darçın, Tarçın ağacı
TurkmenDalçyn
Далчын
TwiAnoatre dua
UkrainianКориця
Korytsya
Urduدار چینی, دال چینی
Dar chini, Dal chini
UzbekDolchin
Долчин
VietnameseCây quế, Nhục quế, Quế Srilanca, Quế hồi, Quế rành
Cay que (Pflanze), Nhuc que (Rinde), Que Srilanca, Que hoi, Que ranh
WelshSynamon
Yiddishצימערינג, צימרינג
Tsimering, Tsimring
Cinnamomum zeylanicum: Peeled cinnamon stem
Partialy decorticated cinnamon stem
Cinnamomum zeylanicum: Ceylon cinnamon
Ceylon cinnamon quills
Used plant part

Stem bark.
Cinnamon leaves may serve as a substitute for Indian bay leaves. The unripe berries (cinnamon buds) are traded in very small scale.

Plant family

Lauraceae (laurel family).

Sensory quality

Strongly aromatic, sweet, pleasant, warm and but hardly bitter or astringent. Compared to its relatives, cinnamon has a fresh or lively tone that is missing in all other cinnamon species. I have to admit, though, that the adjective lively may not be of much help to readers unless they have tried both, in which case they won’t need my description anyway.

Main constituents

The essential oil of cinnamon bark (max. 4%) is dominated by the two phenylpropanoids cinnamaldehyde (3-phenyl-acrolein, 65 to 75%) and eugenol (4-(1-propene-3-yl)-2-methoxy-phenol, 5 to 10%). Other phenylpropanoids (safrole, coumarin [max. 0.6%] cinnamic acid esters), mono- and sesquiterpenes, although occurring only in traces, do significantly influence the taste of cinnamon. Another trace component relevant for the quality is 2-heptanone (methyl-n-amyl-ketone). The slime content of the bark is rather low (3%). See also cassia and tonka beans on possible health hazards relating to coumarin.

Cinnamomum zeylanicum: Young cinnamon leaves
Young cinnamon leaves have a red colour

From cinnamon leaves, another essential oil (1%) can be obtained that consists mainly of eugenol (70 to 95%) and can be used as a substitute for clove. Small amounts (1 to 5%) of cinnamaldehyde, benzyl benzoate, linalool and β-caryophyllene have also been found.

A completely different composition is found in the essential oil of cinnamon root bark; here, camphor (60%) dominates. This oil is not used commercially.

Last, in cinnamon fruits (cassia buds, cinnamon buds), the main components were found to be trans-cinnamyl acetate and β-caryophyllene. (Flavour and Fragrance Journal, 12, 331, 1997)

Origin

Cinn­amomum zeylanicum originates from the island Sri Lanka (formerly called Ceylon), southeast of India. It is also native to south-west India and the Tenasserim Hills of Burma. Several attempts have been made to transplant cinnamon trees to other parts of the tropic world, but they have become naturalized only on the Seychelles.

Related cinnamon species are found in Indonesia, Vietnam and China.

Etymology

English cinnamon, German Zimt, Lithuanian cinamonas, Belarusian cynamon [цынамон], Serbocroatian cimet [цимет], Yiddish tsimering [צימערינג] and Armenian ginamon [կինամոն] all derive from Latin cinnamomum, which was in turn a loan from Greek kinnamomon [κιννάμωμον].

Cinnamomum zeylanicum: Cinnamon flowers
Cinnamon flowers

www.rz.uni-karlsruhe.de

The Greek had borrowed the word from a Semitic tongue, cf. Old Hebrew kinamom [קנמון] and Aramaic qunimun [ܩܘܢܝܡܘܢ]. However, these words can hardly be native Semitic, and their further origin is not known; it has been suggested that they ultimately stem from early Malaysian language and are thus related to modern Indonesian kayu manis sweet wood (although this is a problematic assumption). Similar descriptive designations also exist in other languages, e. g., Dhivehi foni thoshi [ފޮނި ތޮށި] sweet bark.

For names like Dutch kaneel and French cannelle, see Indonesian cinnamon. Another class of names, exemplified by Hindi dal chini [दाल चीनी], Farsi darchin [دارچین] and Turkish tarçın, is explained in the article on cassia; see also juniper for an etymological explanation of the first part in these names.

Most Indian languages have names of the dalchini type, but some tongues of Southern India name cinnamon by a word whose relatives in other languages mean cloves, e. g., Tamil ilavangam [இலவங்கம்].

Selected Links

More about Ceylon Cinnamon (ceylon-cinnamon.com) Indian Spices: Cinnamon (indianetzone.com) Ilkas und Ullis Kochecke: Zimt (rezkonv.de via archive.org) A Pinch of Cinnamon (www.apinchof.com) The Epicentre: Cinnamon Fragen und Antworten zu Cumarin in Zimt und anderen Lebensmitteln (bfr.bund.de) Medical Spice Exhibit: Cinnamon (via archive.org) (via archive.org) Transport Information Service: Cinnamon/Cassia Sorting Cinnamomum names (www.plantnames.unimelb.edu.au) chemikalienlexikon.de: Zimtaldehyd The Mythic Chinese Unicorn zhi: The Cinnamon Route (via web.archive.org) The Periplus of the Erythraean Sea Francesco Sirene: Spices & Herbs (cassia buds) Cinnamon and Type-2 Diabetes (diabetesjournals.org)


Cinnamomum zeylanicum: Cinnamon twigs
Branches of cinnamon trees in Sri Lanka
Cinnamomum zeylanicum: Cinnamon branch
Branch of cinnamon tree
Cinnamon is an ancient spice mentioned several times in the Old Testament (see pome­granate on this topic), although only Chinese cinnamon (cassia) has been known in the West until the 16.th century. Compared to the Chinese species, Ceylon cinnamon has a more delicate aroma and is the dominating quality on the Western market.

See Indonesian cinnamon for a comparison of different cinnamon species. See also cassia for usage of cinnamon in Chinese cuisine and Vietnamese cinnamon for cinnamon usage in Vietnam.

Since Ceylon cinnamon is native in South Asia, it is not surprising that the cuisines of Sri Lanka and India make heavy use of it. It is equally suited for the fiery beef curries of Sri Lanka and the subtle, fragrant rice dishes (biriyani) of the Imperial North Indian cuisine. It is also widely in use for flavouring tea. Cinnamon is also popular in all regions where Persian or Arab influence is felt: West, South West and Central Asia, Northern and Eastern Africa.

Although cinnamon was very popular in Europe in the 16.th to 18.th centuries, is importance is now rather shrunken: the main application for cinnamon in Western cooking are several kinds of desserts; stewed fruits, for instance, are usually flavoured with a mixture of cloves and cinnamon. Cinnamon is, however, only rarely tried for spicy dishes.

In India, cinnamon is applied as a whole; the bark pieces are fried in hot oil until they unroll (this is important to release the fragrance); then, temperature is quenched by adding other components, like tomatoes, onions or yoghurt (see onions and black cumin for further details). The cinnamon chunks may be removed before serving, but are more frequently kept as a fragrant decoration.

Cinnamomum zeylanicum: Cinnamom berries
Cinnamon fruits
Cinnamomum zeylanicum: Cassia buds
Cinnamon buds (dried cinnamon fruits)

In most other countries, powdered cinnamon is pre­ferred. The powder should be added shortly before serving, as it becomes slightly bitter after some time of cooking. Powdered cinnamon is contained in several spice mixtures, like North Indian garam masala (see cumin), curry powder (see curry leaves) and Arabic baharat (see paprika). African spice mixtures in Arabic style are Moroccan ras el hanout (see cubeb pepper), Tunisian gâlat dagga (see grains of paradise) and berbere, an Ethiopian spice mixture with somewhat Indian character (see long pepper). Cinnamon bark is, furthermore, an optional ingredient for the classical French mixture quatre épices (see nutmeg). For Chinese five spice powder, see cassia. Cinnamon has become popular in México; see paprika for its usage for the famous mole sauces.

The so-called cinnamon buds are the unripe fruits harvested shortly after the blossom; in appearance, they are similar to cloves. These buds are less aromatic than the bark; their odour is, however, rather interesting: mild, pure and sweet. To release their fragrance, they must be finely ground. Their usage as a spice has only regional importance in China (there obtained from the cassia tree) and India (region Kutch in the union state Gujarat). I cannot explain why, but spice vendors tend to confuse cinnamon buds with cubeb pepper berries, which look and taste totally different.

Cinnamon and its relatives are Asian plants and have, to my knowledge, not much been transferred to New World countries. In Northern South America, however, there are plants referred to as American or Native Cinnamon; the most common is Ocotea quixos from Ecuador and Perú; the bark of that tree has a flavour very close to cinnamon.



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