Ceylon Cinnamon
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The name cinnamon is interchangeably used for both Ceylon Cinnamon & Cassia Cinnamon. Before digging into the insight about Cinnamon, it is necessary to make aware our readers about these two Cinnamon varieties first. This entire article is about Ceylon Cinnamon not about Cassia. Even in Britannica, Ceylon cinnamon is named as “Cinnamomum Verum” and that has to be corrected by authorities as Sri Lanka is not growing Cassia Cinnamon.

Common Mistakes: Cinnamom Vs Cassia

Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum)

Cinnamon is the name given to two distinct spices. Both are derived from the dried bark of Lauraceae (laurel) trees. The tree Cinnamomum zeylanicum, endemic to Sri Lanka and the southwest coast of India near the Arabian Sea, is used to produce Ceylon cinnamon which is much more expensive due to labor involvement in processing. This tree may grow up to 50 feet in the wild, but when grown in captivity, it is confined to just 8 feet so that its shoots can be easily accessed, and the bark is thinner and more delicate. Strips of the inner bark are dried until they curl into cinnamon sticks or quills. These can then be crushed into powder or extracted. The essential oils and chemicals of this spice, mainly cinnamaldehyde, give it its distinct qualities. This chemical is responsible for the flavor and scent of cinnamon, as well as many of its health advantages.

Cassia (Cinnamomum Verum)

Chinese cinnamon, commonly known as cassia, is a less expensive kind made from the closely related C. Aromaticum tree. As Kwangsi cinnamon, Honan cinnamon, Yunnan cinnamon, Korintje cinnamon, Padang cinnamon, and vera cinnamon it is shipped from China, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam, as well as Indonesia. Cassia is the most common type of cinnamon imported into the United States. Cassia has larger sticks and a coarser texture than Ceylon cinnamon and is a dark brown-red color. Cassia cinnamon is of poorer quality. It is incredibly cheap and is the most often consumed type all around the world. Almost all cinnamon sold in supermarkets is cassia cinnamon.

So, allow me to take you on a journey of cinnamon from prehistoric times to the present day in order to provide you with a better understanding of Ceylon Cinnamon.


The origins of cinnamon were a mystery to the Western world in ancient times, and Arab merchants preferred to keep it that way. To keep prices high, they made up an intricate story about enormous birds collecting cinnamon sticks from far regions and using them to build nests on cliffs. To obtain the valuable sticks, traders spread out enormous portions of ox meat, which the birds seized and brought back to their nests. However, due to the size of the slabs, the nests would collapse, allowing the astute merchants to take their reward. Another fancy story of Arabs was started with a mysterious bird, the “cynomolgus” is an Arabian bird. It constructs its nest from the fruit of the cinnamon tree, which men highly esteem. The guys who want cinnamon are unable to climb the tree to reach the nest because the nest is too high and the tree branches are too delicate, so they throw lead balls to knock down the cinnamon. Cinnamon taken from this bird’s nest is the most prized of all.

Some information regarding the prehistoric story of cinnamon can be ordered chronologically, beginning with Herodotus (5th century BCE), followed by Pliny the Elder (1st century CE), Isidore of Seville (7th century CE), and Bartholomaeus Anglicus (13th century CE).

Herodotus (5th Century BCE)

Even more amazing is the manner in which they collect the cinnamon. They can’t determine where the wood grows or which country produces it; all they can say is that it originates from the country where Bacchus was raised. They claim that great birds bring the sticks that the Greeks, borrowing from the Phoenicians, call cinnamon and carry them up into the skies to create their nests. These are attached to a vertical face of rock with mud, where no human foot can climb. So the Arabians utilize the following trick to obtain cinnamon. They cut all the oxen, asses, and burthen that die in their land into large pieces, which they carry with them into those regions and place near the nests: then they withdraw to a distance, and the old birds, swooping down, seize the pieces of meat and fly with them up to their nests, which, unable to support the weight, break off and fall to the ground. The Arabians then return to gather the cinnamon, which is then transported from Arabia to other countries.

Pliny the Elder (1st Century CE)

The Cinnamolgus, a bird native to Arabia, builds its nest out of cinnamon twigs; the people of that nation employ lead-weighted arrows to decapitate the birds and trade them.

Isidore of Seville (7th Century CE)

An Arabian bird called the Cinnamologus is known for its habit of making nests out of cinnamon plants. The nests are perched precariously atop delicate branches, making it impossible for humans to access them. Men use leaded arrows to demolish the nests since the merchants like this type of cinnamon and are willing to pay a premium for it.

Bartholomaeus Anglicus (13th Century CE)

Cannel and Cassia were both mentioned in traditional folklore as being found in bird nests, particularly the nest of the Phoenix. That which falls or is hit by lead arrows may not be discovered. These people, on the other hand, pretend that goods are expensive and valuable, but in reality, cannel grows among the Trogodites in little Ethiopia and travels enormous distances by ship to the haven of the Gelenites. Before or after sunrise or sunset, no one is allowed to gather there. When it’s all collected, the priest divides the branches into equal portions and then sells them to merchants, who buy them over time.

Bartholomaeus Anglicus (13th Century CE)

Cannel and Cassia were both mentioned in traditional folklore as being found in bird nests, particularly the nest of the Phoenix. That which falls or is hit by lead arrows may not be discovered. These people, on the other hand, pretend that goods are expensive and valuable, but in reality, cannel grows among the Trogodites in little Ethiopia and travels enormous distances by ship to the haven of the Gelenites. Before or after sunrise or sunset, no one is allowed to gather there. When it’s all collected, the priest divides the branches into equal portions and then sells them to merchants, who buy them over time.

Portuguese Discovered The True Source of Ceylon Cinnamon

Until the late 1400s, when the Portuguese discovered the true source of cinnamon – luscious forests in Sri Lanka – Europeans believed this narrative. When the Portuguese figured it out, they formed an agreement with the Sri Lankans to monopolize the trade and built a fort to defend their holdings. They were driven out by the Dutch in 1658, who were then driven out by the British in 1796. But, at that time, the trees had been transported all over the world, so there was little reason to fight for cinnamon.

Even today, Sri Lanka is the world’s leading producer of “True Ceylon Cinnamon,” and the Department of Export Agriculture is the apex body for the true cinnamon industry, as well as many other spices. Let’s check what’s being said about True Cinnamon in Sri Lanka.

True Cinnamon History in Sri Lanka

Cinnamon: Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume

Family: Lauraceae

Cinnamon is the dried bark of the Lauraceae family’s perennial tree C.zeylanicum. Cinnamon is indigenous to Sri Lanka. Cinnamon was initially growing wild in Sri Lanka’s central hill country. Cinnamon’s history stretches back to around 2800 B.C. when it was referred to as “kwai” in Chinese texts. Cinnamon is even mentioned in the Bible when Moses employed it in ancient Rome as a component in his anointing oil. It was burned in Roman funerals, maybe to get rid of the stink of dead bodies. At the funeral of his wife Poppaea Sabina, Emperor Nero is reported to have burned a year’s supply of cinnamon. Because of its attractive fragrances and preservation properties, the Ancient Egyptians used it to embalm corpses.

Cinnamon was a valuable spice in the western world throughout the 14th and 15th centuries, and its principal function was to preserve meat and slow the growth of bacteria. The desire for cinnamon was a crucial influence in the 15th-century exploration of the world. By that time, true cinnamon was grown in only one location, Ceylon or Sri Lanka. Anyone who could have controlled the supply flow would have made a fortune. In the 15th century, Portuguese traders arrived in Ceylon, enslaved the natives, and took control of the trade from Arabs. The Dutch quickly displaced the Portuguese and took control of the cinnamon monopoly. The Dutch were the ones who made a concerted effort to increase output by domesticating crops and expanding their authority over the territories under their jurisdiction. Cinnamon cultivation was relocated to the island’s western and southern coastal areas as a result of that initiative. Since 1815, the British have had sovereignty of the island, and the cinnamon trade has also been transferred to their hands. By this period, the relative importance of spices in the global market had declined due to the emerging plantation crop sectors of tea and rubber, which hampered cinnamon’s continued expansion. The clearest historical evidence for the cinnamon trade in Sri Lanka may be found in the Upcountry-Dutch agreement (Hanguranketha agreement), which was signed on February 14, 1766, between Sri Lankan King Sri Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe and the Dutch administration. By this arrangement, the King granted the Dutch permission to cut and peel cinnamon in particular forest areas of Sri Lanka, and the Dutch committed to safeguarding the Kingdom against foreign invasion.

Products and Application

Cinnamon bark is mostly accessible in the shape of quills, which are peculiar to Sri Lanka. Quills are formed by rolling peeled bark and connecting several of them to form a pipe-like structure of the desired length. Aside from that, the bark is available in the form of chips, quillings, or featherings. Cinnamon is a one-of-a-kind plant that contains essential oil in its leaves, bark, and roots, but its chemical compositions are radically different. Essential oils are extracted from both the bark and the leaves; the main ingredient in the bark oil is Cinnamaldehyde, and the predominant chemical in the leaf oil is Eugenol. Cinnamon is also available in pelleted form, as well as pure ground form, or as an ingredient in curry combinations.

Cinnamon is primarily used in baking and cooking. Cinnamon is a versatile spice that may be used in a variety of dishes, including salads, desserts, beverages, soups, stews, and sauces. Latin American countries enjoy cinnamon drinks made by soaking pieces of bark in hot water. Cinnamon-flavored tea is becoming increasingly popular. It’s also a popular element in Chinese and Ayurvedic therapy. Cinnamon leaf and bark oils are used to flavor food, as well as in the fragrance and medicinal industries.

Cinnamon Growing Areas in Sri Lanka

Cinnamon appears to have originated in Sri Lanka’s central highlands, where seven wild kinds of cinnamon are found in Kandy, Matale, Belihull Oya, Haputale, Horton plains, and the Sinharaja forest region. Currently, cultivation is predominant along the coastal belt from Negambo to Matara, but it has also made inroads into Kalutara and Rathnapura.

Ceylon Cinnamon Varieties

Sri Lanka has eight cinnamon species. Only Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume is commercially produced. Traditionally, cinnamon was classified into numerous varieties based on the flavor of the bark. “Pani-Miris Kurundu” was the best, with a sweet-pungent flavor, followed by “Miris Kurundu”, “Sevel Kurundu,” and “Thiththa Kurundu.” Currently, ten cinnamon accessions have been identified based on yield and quality performance, with the best two lines, “Sri Vijaya” and “Sri Gamunu,” being released by the Department Of Export Agriculture, Sri Lanka. Other options are being considered in other agroclimatic zones.

Soils and Climatic Requirements for True Cinnamon


Cinnamon can be grown in a variety of soil types, ranging from silver sands in Negambo to loamy and lateritic gravelly soils in the southern coastal strip and interior. The bark quality is controlled by soil and climatic circumstances, and the best cinnamon is produced in Negombo’s white sandy soil. However, the most expensive grade of cinnamon, known as “Alba,” is primarily created by very skilled peelers and has the smallest diameter quills (6 mm) that are only filled with one or two high-quality interiors fillings. Cinnamon requires deep soil, yet cinnamon roots can penetrate even through the parent material’s fractures to deeper levels.

Climate Requirements

Cinnamon is commercially farmed in Sri Lanka’s coastal areas and has moved to the country’s interior, where elevations can reach up to 250 meters above sea level. Cinnamon was discovered naturally in the central hilly part of Sri Lanka when the height rose to around 500m AMSL. It can still be found in Sinharaja and Knuckles forest reserves. Although the wet zone is best for the effective cultivation of cinnamon, it may also be grown commercially in the intermediate zones of the mid and low country, where annual rainfall exceeds 1750mm. It is not, however, appropriate for places with prolonged dry periods. Cinnamon is a sun-loving plant that requires a lot of light.

  • The ideal temperature range is between 25 and 32 degrees Celsius
  • Rainfall should range between 1,750 and 3,500 mm per year

Planting of Cinnamon

Planting Materials

Cinnamon is typically propagated on a vast scale using seeds. Stem cuttings can be used for vegetative growth. Well-ripened seeds are chosen, properly cleaned to remove the pericarp, and planted in 12.5 x 20.0cm poly bags filled with an equal mix of top soil, cow dung, sand, and coir dust.

After around two months, five to eight seeds are planted in a bag, although thinning out is done to preserve 4-5 robust plants.

Planting in the Field

  • 20cm x 90cm (9000 plants/ha) spacing

Planting begins with the arrival of the monsoon rains. Four-month-old healthy, disease-free seedlings are planted in pits 30cm x 30cm x 30cm. A planting pit is filled with top soil, cow dung, or compost, and one bag with 4-5 seedlings is planted in it.

Crop Management

Application of Fertilizer

Because the entire cinnamon plant is harvested when harvesting, the bush requires a high fertilizer dose to regenerate a new shoot. The use of chemical fertilizer boosts yield greatly, and the use of organic fertilizer (cinnamon leaves, compost, and chicken manure) is also very good for successful development and output.

Fertilizer Suggestions

In Sri Lanka, both conventional and organic cinnamon crops are currently available. Conventional fertilizer recommended by Sri Lanka’s Department of Export Agriculture is shown here.

Components of the mixtureParts by weightNutrients in the mixture
Urea (46% N)223% N
Rock phosphate (28% p2O5)17% P2O5
Muriate of potash (60% k2O)115% K20
Fertilizer Suggestions

Fertilizer is applied twice a year as shown in the below table, at the start of the Yala and Maha rains. Dolomite is treated at a rate of 500 to 1000kg/ha/year in places where the soil pH is less than 4.5.

Age of plantationMaha Season(mixture kg/ha)Yala Season(mixture kg/ha)
1st Year (six months after planting)150150
2nd Year (kg)300300
3rd Year and onwards (Kg)450450
Fertilizer Application
  • 900 kg / hectare / year (after 3rd year) is the recommended fertilizer mixture.


Weeding is also an important function in cinnamon production. Clean weeding is recommended for young plantations, while slash weeding is recommended for older crops 2-3 times per year.

Soil Conservation

Soil conservation reduces erosion in locations where the earth is sloppy or undulated. Contour trenches spaced at proper intervals are advised.

Plant training and pruning – Plant training and pruning should be done every six months. Excess lateral branches are eliminated to achieve a straight and smooth stem, and weak shoots are removed after harvesting to promote the growth of primary stems.

Crop Protection


Phomopsis sp. Causes Rough Bark Disease

Rough bark disease is the most frequent disease of cinnamon. It appears as dark blotches on the young bark of immature shoots and spreads progressively throughout the bark. Clorosis appears on the leaves of afflicted plants, and infected juvenile plants will perish under extreme conditions. Peeling diseased bark is impossible. The disease can be controlled by eliminating unhealthy plants and implementing proper cultural practices. Harvesting should be done at the proper intervals, with excess lateral branches removed. A 1% Bordeaux combination or a copper-based fungicide can be sprayed as a chemical therapy.

White Root Disease

The causal agent is a fungus called Fomes noxious. Commonly detected in cinnamon grown on previously rubber-cultivated ground. Yellowing and subsequent leaf shedding, as well as rapid plant mortality, are apparent symptoms. On the roots of diseased plants, white fungal mycelia growths can be seen. To prevent disease spread, dead plants should be pulled and destroyed. It is necessary to clean the root bases. When growing new plants in such lands, the sulfur powder should be sprayed on the bases of sick plants and planting holes.

Leaf blight, black powdery mildew, and algae growth on leaves are other minor illnesses.


Pink Stem Borer: Ichneumoniptera cf.Xanthosoma

The adult moth lays eggs in the bases of the cinnamon plant, and the caterpillar (larvae) feeds through the plant stem near the soil surface. This insect damage is especially common in ancient plantations with poor crop management. As a result, fresh shoots may die and senior shoots may collapse from the base. The formation of new shoots is also slowed. Bush will eventually die. The damage can be successfully controlled by earthling up the plant base and conserving soil. If the damage is severe, chemicals such as carbofuran and Chlorophyrophos can be utilized.

Other minor pest issues include cinnamon shoot borer, plant ticks and mites, leaf miner, and cinnamon butterfly assaults.

Harvesting and Post-Harvesting Procedure

Cinnamon can be harvested after three years of planting, and two harvests can be collected per year. When the bark color of the stem turns brown and the stick diameter is about 3-5cm, it is time to harvest. Before peeling, branches and leaves are removed from gathered sticks, and harvested stems should be peeled on the same day. During peeling, the outer skin is scraped and the bark is rubbed with a brass rod to release the bark from the hardwood. The bark is then peeled, part by part, with a special knife, and allowed to dry in the sun for a few hours before rolling. When rolling begins, pieces of bark are linked together to form a pipe-like structure (called a quill), and the normal length of the tube is 42 inches. The hollow of the tube is filled with little pieces of bark, and the tubes are left indoors for 4-7 days to dry.

Cinnamon Quill Quality Criteria and Specifications

1SmallThe inherited smell of cinnamon
2ColorLight brown to brown
3Moisture content14% for quills and 12% for other products
4Volatile oil1% for quills and 0.7% for other products
5No. of dead insects (no./kg)4
6Mammalian fecal matter (mg/kg)2
7Other fecal matter (mg/kg)4
8Pieces with fungus attacked (% weight)1
9Pieces with insects damages ( %  weight)1
10Other extraneous matter (% weight)5
Cinnamon Quill Quality Criteria

Cinnamon Quill Quality Specifications

 NoGradeDiameter (max. mm)Min. no. of 42” long quills per kg% Rough quills per kgMin. length of quills in a bailMax. % of single quality quills per bail
2Continental (C )     
 COOOOO Sp./C5- Sp.635102001
3Mexican (M)     
4Hamburg (H)     
Cinnamon Quill Quality Specifications

Chimical and Medicinal Propeties

Cinnamaldihide is the main chemical ingredient in cinnamon bark oil, and Euginol is the key chemical ingredient in cinnamon leaf oil. However, there are hundreds of tiny chemical components that contribute to the distinctive flavor and aroma of authentic cinnamon.

Cinnamon has been used medicinally and as a therapeutic plant since it was described in Chinese botanical writings dating back to 2700 B.C. It was used medicinally in ancient Rome to treat colds and flu, as well as stomach disorders. It has recently been examined for its capacity to improve cognitive power, prevent blood clotting, and heal the heart and intestines. Recent research has demonstrated its capacity to control type 2 diabetics by lowering blood sugar levels and lowering blood cholesterol levels. Cinnamon is claimed to have been utilized in old societies to treat digestive discomfort, congestion, menstruation issues, tight joints and muscles. It is reported to be utilized as an anti-inflammatory and pain reliever for arthritic patients. Cinnamon has been demonstrated in certain studies to aid in the treatment of urinary tract infections as well as the prevention of tooth decay and gum disease.

Marketing Aspect of Ceylon Cinnamon

Cinnamomum Zeylanicum is a Sri Lankan indigenous tree that provides the highest-quality pure cinnamon. Sri Lanka is the world’s largest producer and exporter of pure cinnamon, with pure Ceylon Cinnamon Suppliers from Sri Lanka accounting for 90% of the global market. Cinnamon planted and processed in Sri Lanka has a long history in the international market due to its distinct quality, color, flavor, and aroma.

With increased worries about the health risks linked with synthetic flavoring chemicals in the food sector, natural flavors are becoming more popular around the world. Because of its distinct flavor and aroma, cinnamon is utilized as a food ingredient in bread products, Asian dishes, and tea. Cinnamon differs from Cassia in both physical and chemical properties. Ceylon Cinnamon, also known as sweet cinnamon and pure cinnamon, is thought to be superior to Cassia, a cheaper and inferior version.

Cinnamon’s distinct flavor is enticed by its unique processing and curing method. Cinnamon quill preparation is a blend of art and skill that is unique to Sri Lanka and has been passed down from generation to generation. Cinnamon quills of conventional lengths and diameters are formed from Ceylon Cinnamon, which is cultivated and processed entirely in Sri Lanka. Ceylon Cinnamon is classified into four distinct categories based on the diameter of the quill, with the most expensive (Alba) having a quill with a diameter of 6 mm. In addition, value-added Cinnamon products including as oil, powder, and tablets are created and exported to a wide range of nations.

Cinnamon is used in the production of chocolate, particularly in Mexico, which is the world’s largest importer of real cinnamon. With the growing concern about the health concerns linked with synthetic flavoring chemicals used in the food business, it is also employed in many dessert recipes, spicy candies, tea, hot chocolate, and liqueurs for its distinctive aroma and flavor. Cinnamon is also widely utilized in pharmaceutical formulations and the beauty sector around the world.

Ceylon Cinnamon Branding

It is critical to brand Pure Ceylon Cinnamon and promote it as a worldwide brand in target markets in order to emphasize the major attributes of the Ceylon Cinnamon and differentiate it from Cassia in order to obtain a competitive advantage. As a result, Ceylon Cinnamon has been offered to the international market as a branded product called “Pure Ceylon Cinnamon,” which reflects a combination of the previously described fundamental features. EDB has completed the registration of the ‘Pure Ceylon Cinnamon’ trademark in Europe and the United States and has secured registration certificates from both countries.

Ceylon Cinnamon (Cinnamomum Zeylanicum), a shrub native to Sri Lanka, produces the best grade cinnamon in the Cinnamon family. Cinnamon planted and processed in Sri Lanka has a long history in the international market due to its distinct quality, color, flavor, and aroma. Ceylon Cinnamon is a geographical indicator for cinnamon that derives from the country’s old name.

Cinnamon, which originates in Sri Lanka, possesses all the great attributes of a brand. In the international market, the Sri Lanka Export Development Board (SLEDB) has established ‘Pure Ceylon Cinnamon’ as a global brand. Ceylon Cinnamon’s main markets are the United States and Mexico. Other nations that eat a significant amount of Ceylon Cinnamon include Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Spain, Guatemala, Chile, and Bolivia.

How to Identify Ceylon Cinnamon

The Pure Ceylon Cinnamon logo is the main trademark for the finest Ceylon Cinnamon that is trusted around the world. The ‘Pure Ceylon Cinnamon’ certification mark may be used only on consumer cinnamon packs/value-added products containing Pure Ceylon Cinnamon manufactured in Sri Lanka (cinnamon in packets, bags, cartons, canisters, tablets, pills, oils, oleoresins & extracts, fractionates, powder, paste, or in any other form of value-added retail packs and packaged).

Guidelines, Application, Annual Transaction Statement, and Annual Inventory of Pure Ceylon Cinnamon (PCC) Logo can be downloaded if anybody is interested. If you want to buy Pure Ceylon Cinnamon, it is advised to buy from PCC logo holders.

Ceylon Cinnamon with Logo
Ceylon Cinnamon with Logo

This is what we know about the best Cinnamon i.e. “Ceylon Cinnamon” and how you can identify Ceylon Cinnamon from other varieties. We don’t ask you to stop what you are consuming at the moment. We don’t want to discriminate against anyone here. We just let you know what we know about Ceylon Cinnamon. If this piece of article pleased you, please share it with your community to enhance their perception. We believe “sharing is caring” and if you believe so, please do share with your friends and communities.

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