Canellae Cortex. Canella Bark.
Synonym.—Wild Cinnamon Bark.
Canella bark is obtained from the wild cinnamon tree, Canella alba, Murray (N.O. Canellaceae), a tree indigenous to the West Indian Islands. A thick outer layer of ash-grey cork is first removed from the bark by beating; this also loosens the remainder of the bark, which can then be stripped off and dried. The bark occurs in simple quills or channelled pieces, of very variable size, but commonly from 6 to 25 millimetres wide, 5 to 20 centimetres long, and up to 3 millimetres thick. The outer surface is pale yellow in colour, hard, wrinkled, and marked with circular scars. The internal surface is white, and finely striated longitudinally. The bark breaks with a short granular fracture, the transverse section exhibiting a narrow, yellowish-brown phelloderm, a paler cortex in which numerous oil-cells are situated, and a bast in which white wavy medullary rays may be seen. The drug has an aromatic cinnamon-like odour, and a pungent bitter taste.
Constituents.—The chief constituent of canella bark is the volatile oil, which exists to the extent of about 1 per cent., and contains eugenol, cineol, and terpenes. The bark also contains a bitter principle which has not been isolated; tannin is absent.
Action and Uses.—Canella bark is an aromatic bitter. A mixture of the powdered bark with aloes is a common domestic medicine, sold under the name "Hiera Picra" (see Pulvis Aloes cum Canella), and used as an emmenagogue.