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True Cinnamon vs
Fake Cinnamon Containing Coumarin

Written by Sky Taylor, Diet Bites

Fake Cinnamon, Commonly Known as Cassia

If you're purchasing your ground cinnamon OR the whole sticks from your local grocery market, you're likely not purchasing 'true cinnamon'.

In addition, the 'fake' variety contains coumarin which can be harmful in larger doses to the liver - so if you're an a fan of this spice, you may want to rethink your point of purchase - as well as the type purchased.

True varieties are native to Ceylon originating from one specific species, Cinnamomum Verum. The 'fake' variety is culled from several different varieties of Cinnamomum trees and is commonly called Cassia.

Differences in Cassia [Fake] & Ceylon [True] Cinnamon

picture of real and fake cinnamonCassia 'Fake' Cinnamon

It's dark brown in color with a thick, hard outer appearance. The inner filling is nothing more than a hollow tube. It holds a harsh aroma and a flat flavor to the palate. Cassia varieties are generally grown in China, Vietnam and Indonesia. It is also known as Saigon Cinnamon. Per stick it contains about 5% coumarin. The species is Cinnamomum Cassia.

Ceylon 'True' Cinnamon

It is light brown in color with a thin and soft outer appearance. It is filled like a cigar in the center. The flavor is sweet, the aroma very delicate. It is only grown in Ceylon [Sri Lanka]. It is also known as 'Real OR Sweet Cinnamon'. It's species is Cinnamomum Zeylanicum which is the Latin name for Ceylon. Each stick contains about 0.04% coumarin.

What is Coumarin & Its Potential Health Risks

Generally, coumarin is synthetically manufactured. It may help to prevent blood clots. However, when consumed in large doses over time it may do damage to the body's detoxifier - the liver. 'Fake' [cassia] forms of cinnamon can contain up to 400 times the amount coumarin in comparison of true cinnamon [which contains only a trace].

If you are currently consuming about a teaspoon of cinnamon of day, you've reached the maximum threshold of what the average human body can handle safely. Keep in mind that smaller individuals, people with compromised immune systems, individuals with liver disease, children and older adults may not be able to handle even smaller amounts of coumarin.

Cinnamon for Combating Diabetes & High Blood Pressure

Many diabetics use this spice to treat the symptoms of diabetes as well as to lower blood pressure. Many scientific studies have been performed to gauge the effectiveness of cinnamon for treating these ailments.

While true cinnamon didn't render effectiveness, the cassia variety did see results in some areas - such as a decrease in fasting blood sugar readings.

Because these health studies are all over the board, and because of the health risks associated with coumarin and liver damage, it's always best to check with your doctor rather than to self-treat. You may end up doing more damage to your body than good.

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