The cinnamon spice comes from the bark of Cinnamomum (tropical evergreen) trees. It is super aromatic and great in all sorts of recipes thanks to cinnamaldehyde–the essential oil that gives cinnamon its scent and flavor. Almost every grocery store sells cinnamon but did you know there are different types of cinnamon and even “true cinnamon?” Ummm, yeah so Cassia or Canela Molida or Ceylon? Let’s figure it out!
In the U.S., the commonly used species of cinnamon is Cassia which mostly comes from Eastern Asia. It is not true cinnamon but a cousin. An extremely close cousin. The traditional cinnamon that we buy in the grocery stores sometimes says Canela Molida which means ground cinnamon in Spanish. This is also Cassia cinnamon.
Ceylon cinnamon is known as true cinnamon. It’s from Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, hence the name. Ceylon cinnamon is more expensive and is usually found in specialty stores. True cinnamon is the only species of cinnamon recognized in Europe. However, the U.S. FDA allows Cassia varieties to be classified as cinnamon.
What’s more is when you hear that cinnamon can help you lose weight it’s Ceylon cinnamon, not Cassia.
The best choice?
Cassia cinnamon contains a high concentration of coumarin (a blood-thinning component) which can cause liver damage. Ceylon contains little to no coumarin making it the ideal choice.