Cinnamon is a spice made from the inner bark of several trees in the genus Cinnamomum. True cinnamon comes from the Cinnamomum verum tree, native to Sri Lanka. Less expensive cinnamon – called cassia – is obtained from other Cinnamomum trees.
Cinnamon has been known and used throughout history. The Portuguese built a fort for cinnamon on Sri Lanka in the early 16th century and protected their European monopoly over true cinnamon for over a century.
Cinnamon has its place in many cultures’ traditional medicines. The Chinese traditionally prescribe cinnamon to clear blocked energy in the abdomen.
Cinnamon’s use in mouthwashes owes to its germicidal effects. Cinnamon tea relieves stomach gas. Larger amounts have a laxative effect. Cinnamon has been found to slow the progress of Parkinson’s, a neurodegenerative disease.