Cinnamon is added to many different recipes and food products around the world. In fact, it is one of the most popular spices used in the kitchen, only second to black pepper. Recently, a new study now reveals there is a wide variance in cinnamon due to changes within the tree growth.
According to the Journal of Agricultural & Food Chemistry, the large inconsistency is seen in tree bark pieces which were tested for coumarin. This tested element is the main ingredient found in cinnamon.
Medically, there are people who are sensitive to this main showcase ingredient creating issues with the liver. Cinnamon is sold in a variety of ways within the public setting including in powder form and stick form.
Two Types Explained
When looking at the different types of cinnamon, there are two we will discuss. True cinnamon is also known by the name ceylon. The unhealthy imposter is usually grown in Madagascar as well as Seychelles. This form typically will come from China and/or Indonesia, known as cassia.
Both types of cinnamon have some volume of coumarin which is natural flavor derived from the plant itself. It is noted within the medical studies, higher percentages of coumarin is known to cause liver changes in sensitive individuals.
During studies involving cinnamon purchased from locations in Germany, levels of the coumarin varied considerably. This variation was seen in the less healthy cinnamon (cassia). Bark samples were also analyzed in Indonesia regions and studies found again wide variation. On average, studies show the imposter cinnamon can hold over 60X more coumarin which may pose health risks.
How Do You Know?
Consumers really have no way to tell the real from the imposter when purchasing powdered cinnamon. But, when comparing the cinnamon sticks they are different. When the bark is thick, then buyer beware. Look for much thinner layered cinnamon sticks for the “real.” Additional studies are needed in this area and changes are encouraged within the process of harvesting to protect the consumer.
For those with liver issues, it is important to limit your intake of powered cinnamon to reduce possible health risks. Again, search out cinnamon sticks which are very thinly peeled. These will more than likely be safe to use.