Fig. 74. Branch and bark of Cinnamon plant. Photo: Cinnamomum verum 3. Preparations: Tincture of Cinnamon - Compound Tincture of Cinnamon - Aromatic Powder - Aromatic Extract - Aromatic Fluid Extract - Syrup of Cinnamon
Related entry: Lindera.—Spice-Bush - Camphora (U. S. P.)—Camphor - Laurus.—Laurel - Oleum Cinnamomi (U. S. P.)—Oil of Cinnamon

The barks of numerous species of Cinnamomum.
Nat. Ord.—Laurineae.
Three kinds of cinnamon are official in the U. S. P., viz.:

  1. CINNAMOMUM CASSIA (U. S. P.), Cassia cinnamon (Cinnamomum of U. S. P., 1880), Cassia bark. "The bark of the shoots of one or more undetermined species of Cinnamomum grown in China (Chinese cinnamon)"—(U. S. P.).
  2. CINNAMOMUM SAIGONICUM (U. S. P.), Saigon cinnamon.—"The bark of an undetermined species of Cinnamomum"—(U. S. P.).
  3. CINNAMOMUM ZEYLANICUM (U. S. P.), Ceylon cinnamon (Cinnamomum, U. S. P., 1880). "The inner bark of the shoots of Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Breyne"—(U. S. P.). (Laurus Cinnamomum, Linné).


  1. Cassia cinnamon, Cassia bark, Chinese cinnamon, Cassia lignea.
  2. Saigon cinnamon.
  3. Ceylon cinnamon, Cinnamon bark.

ILLUSTRATION: Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Bentley and Trimen, Med. Plants, 224.

Botanical Source and History.—The trees yielding Cassia or Chinese cinnamon are of several undetermined species cultivated in China and India. According to Charles Ford (Jour. Linn. Soc., 1882), the Cinnamomum Cassia of Blume yields the true cassia bark of the Chinese. Many other species have been thought, however, to yield a portion of this bark. Chinese cinnamon proper is the product of a wild tree growing in Annam, and should not be confused with cassia cinnamon. It never occurs in our commerce, being consumed entirely in China, to which country it is exported. The Cassia barks from Sumatra and Java, the latter being of excellent quality, are said to be the products of Cinnamomum Cassia, Blume, and Cinnamomum Burmanni, Blume. Indian cassia is derived in part, at least, from several species of India, which are by many botanists considered but varieties of the Ceylon cinnamon tree. They are the Cinnamomum Tamala, C. nitidum, and C. iners. Cinnamomum Burmanni var. Kiamis yields Massoy-bark. The botanical source of Saigon cinnamon is unknown. In fact the source of the species yielding cassia bark is but little known, excepting that of the Ceylonese bark.

Cassia bark does not come in commerce with the quills telescoped (in the form of quills within quills) like the Ceylon bark. They are usually single, though sometimes double, and are tied together in bundles with bamboo. It is gathered from March to May from trees of about the sixth year's growth. The branches after being cut, are carried to a building where the shoots, after being deprived of leaves and twigs, are twice cut longitudinally through the bark, after which cross-incisions are made at intervals of about 16 inches. The bark is then detached by a curved horn-knife, and while still pliable is laid inner surface downward, and the epidermis detached with a plane. It is then dried for a day, and tied in bundles of about the diameter of the length of the pieces (Ford).

Cassia cinnamon is, in fact, a mixture of a variety of different qualities of cinnamon. It is generally met with in cylindrical rolls or quills of various sizes, from 2 to 12 lines in diameter, or in semi-tubular segments, 12 to 18 inches long, with the external layer much thicker than that of cinnamon; externally more of a dark red, traversed with thicker and more shining, straight or serpentine veins; more fibrous and paler in fracture; internal layer coarsely fibrous; heavier and more compact, with an odor similar to that of cinnamon, but not so strong or agreeable, and a corresponding taste more acrid, burning, and lasting, and at the same time mucilaginous. It is used in tinctures instead of cinnamon, and is the kind usually sold as cinnamon.

Saigon cinnamon comes in unscraped pieces or quills. Java cinnamon may resemble the Ceylon variety, though its flavor is not considered so fine; or it may resemble the better grades of Cassia cinnamon, though its flavor is of a better quality. Cayenne cinnamon is somewhat mucilaginous, and is of a reddish hue.

Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Breyne (Laurus Cinnamomum, Linné).—This tree has a rough bark, and grows from 15 to 25 feet or more high, having a trunk from 1 to 1 ½ feet in diameter. Its branches are somewhat 4-cornered, and smooth; the leaves are ovate, or ovate-oblong, from 6 to 9 inches long, 2 or 3 inches broad, tapering into an obtuse point, triple-nerved, reticulated on the under side, smooth, with the uppermost the smallest, opposite, and coriaceous. Its flowers are small, hoary, silky, and white; the segments oblong and deciduous in the middle; the panicles are terminal and axillary, and stalked (L.—Ed.—P.).

Cinnamomum zeylanicum is a native of Ceylon, Sumatra, Borneo, etc., and is cultivated in many parts of both the new and old world. The bark is the official part; it has the odor peculiar to cinnamon, and an agreeable, warm, aromatic flavor, with a mild degree of sweetness. The leaves are similar in taste and odor, but less powerful, and contain a volatile oil, which may be procured by distillation. The odor of the flowers is to most people disagreeable, like newly-sawn bones (Ed.). The tree throws out no fragrance beyond its immediate sphere. The bark is the true cinnamon of commerce. It is usually collected from trees about 9 years old. The plant is kept pruned in such a manner that the shrub forms "stools," and from these a few shoots are produced, which, when about 2 years old, or just as the corky layer begins to appear (the bark beginning to change to a brown color), are cut, deprived of their leaves, and prepared for market. The peeling of the shoots and branches commences in May, and continues until the latter part of October. The bark is freed from its epidermis, and then dried, first in the shade, and afterward under exposure to the sun; it curls in drying into quills, which are subsequently placed within each other, as they will admit. The best bark comes from Ceylon, and is in the form of rolls about ½ inch in diameter, and from 30 to 40 inches long, and composed of many quills within each other. The fragments of bark obtained in preparing the shoots are sold in the market as cinnamon chips. Cinnamon quills have a light-yellow color, and are thin, smooth, shining, a little thicker than cartridge paper, and break readily with a splintery fracture, being easily pulverizable. They possess a rich, pure, peculiar odor, and a warm, spicy, sweetish, and agreeable taste, and yield their virtues to water, but more readily to alcohol or spirits. A small amount of volatile oil may be procured from it by distillation. The thick, dark-brown, and feebly-flavored bark is of an inferior quality. Cinnamon is often adulterated with the poorer sorts, and likewise with the bark after having been deprived of its oil.

Description.—The following are the Pharmacopoeial descriptions of the three varieties of cinnamon:

  1. CINNAMOMUM CASSIA (U. S. P.), Cassia cinnamon.—"In quills of varying length and about 1 Mm. (1/24 inch) or more in thickness; nearly deprived of the corky layer; yellowish-brown; outer surface somewhat rough; fracture nearly smooth; odor fragrant; taste sweet, and warmly aromatic"—(U. S. P.).
  2. CINNAMOMUM SAIGONICUM (U. S. P.), Saigon cinnamon.—"In quills about 15 Cm. (6 inches) long, and 10 to 15 Mm. (⅖ to ⅗ inch) in diameter, the bark 2 or 3 Mm. (1/12 to ⅛ inch) thick; outer surface gray or light grayish-brown, with whitish patches, more or less rough from numerous warts and some transverse ridges and fine longitudinal wrinkles; the inner surface cinnamon-brown or dark-brown, granular, and slightly striate; fracture short, granular, in the outer layer cinnamon-colored, having near the cork numerous whitish striae forming an almost uninterrupted line; odor fragrant; taste sweet, warmly aromatic, somewhat astringent"—(U. S. P.).
  3. CINNAMOMUM ZEYLANICUM (U. S. P.), Ceylon cinnamon.—"Long, closely rolled quills, composed of 8 or more layers of bark of the thickness of paper; pale yellowish-brown; outer surface smooth, marked with wavy lines of bast-bundles; inner surface striate; fracture short-splintery; odor fragrant; taste sweet and warmly aromatic"—(U. S. P.).

Chemical Composition.—The various species of cinnamon differ but little chemically, the chief constituent being their volatile oil (see Oleum Cinnamomi), which occurs to the amount of 1 per cent in cassia bark, but more sparingly (½ to 1 per cent) in that from the Ceylon variety. The latter, however, has by far the finer flavor. The principal constituent of cinnamon oil is cinnamic aldehyde (C6H8CH: CH CHO) together with cinnamyl-acetic ester and a little cinnamic acid. Holmes, in 1890, obtained from the oil distilled from the leaves eugenol, as chief constituent; a hydrocarbon resembling cymene in odor, little benzoic acid, and less cinnamic aldehyde. Cinnamon, according to the older analysis by Vauquelin, contains volatile oil, tannic acid (see investigation by T. R. Thornton, Amer. Jour. Pharm., 1895), coloring matter, resin, an acid (cinnamic), and ligneous fiber; starch has been found in it. S. Martin, in 1868, obtained cinnamomine, a body identified as mannite by Wittstein, in 1869. Ceylon cinnamon leaves upon incineration about 4 or 6 per cent of ash.

Action, Medical Uses, and Dosage.—Stimulant, tonic, stomachic, carminative, and astringent; also reputed emmenagogue, and capable of diminishing the secretion of milk. The tincture of the bark is useful in uterine hemorrhage and menorrhagia, given in drachm doses in sweetened water, and repeated every 5, 10, or 20 minutes, or as may be required. Ɣ A tincture of the oil (ʒj) in 98 per cent alcohol (℥viii), is preferable, given in from 5 to 30-drop doses, repeated as often as necessary. For post-partum and other uterine hemorrhages, it is one of the most prompt and efficient remedies in the Materia Medica. To a limited extent it controls hemorrhage from other parts of the body, yet its most direct action is upon the uterine muscular fibres, causing contraction and arresting bleeding. Upon the nervous system cinnamon first stimulates and then depresses. Cinnamon is generally used to correct the effects or improve the flavor of other drugs, and is one of the best additions to cinchona bark for correcting the nausea or vomiting sometimes occasioned by that drug. Internally, it is very useful in diarrhoea, colic, cramp of the stomach, flatulency, and to allay nausea and vomiting. Dose of the powder, from 5 to 20 grains; of the tincture, from 10 to 60 drops; tincture of oil, 6 to 60 drops. Specific cinnamomum, 10 to 60 drops (see Oil of Cinnamon).

Specific indications and Uses.—Post-partum and other uterine hemorrhage, with profuse flow, cold extremities, and pallid surface; haematuria; haemoptysis.

Related Products.—CASSIA BUDS (Flores cassiae) or Clavelli cinnamomi. The immature pedicellate fruits of one or several species of Cinnamomum. Though smaller, they resemble cloves somewhat, though their taste and odor is nearly like that of cinnamon. They contain tannin and an essential oil.

CASSIA TWIGS.—These are the small branches of the same tree yielding cassia lignea. They are about 2 feet long, vary in thickness, and possess a cinnamon flavor.

ISHPINGO.—The calyx of a lauraceous tree common to Peru and Ecuador. It consists of an enlarged, woody calyx from 1 ½ to 2 inches broad, funnel-shaped though shallow, the cup-like cavity being surrounded by an irregular, broad, usually recurved margin. It is of a deep-brown color, smooth internally, and veiny and rough on the exterior. Its taste is sweet and aromatic, resembling that of cinnamon, for which it is employed as a substitute in Ecuador. The bark of the twigs resembles cinnamon, being furnished in small quills (Pharmacographia).

Photo: Dicypellium caryophyllatum 3. CLOVE BARK or CASSIA CARYOPHYLLATA (Cortex caryophyllatus).—This Brazilian bark has a cinnamon-like, mucilaginous taste and the odor of cloves. It is the product of Dicypellium caryophyllatum, Nees. The bark is thin (1/16 inch), smooth, or slightly rugose, is of a rich brown color, occasionally bluish-brown, and when broken displays a nearly white line close to the external margin. It breaks with a short fracture. It is occasionally found in market, but is most largely employed in Brazil as a substitute for cinnamon, whose properties it resembles.

CULILAWAN BARK.—This bark, employed by the natives of Molucca and occasionally sold on the market, is the product of Cinnamomum Culilawan, Nees. It comes in somewhat thick (1/10 to ¼ inch) curved or flat pieces. It breaks with a short, fibrous, somewhat corky fracture, and has internally a brownish color, while on the external surface it is gray or brown. It has a mucilaginous, aromatic taste, and a mixed odor of cinnamon, sassafras, and cloves.

MASSOY BARK.—Several aromatic barks bear this title. A New Guinea bark yielded an oil to Schimmel & Co., resembling that of cloves and nutmeg. The true massoy barks, however, are those believed to be derived chiefly from the Cinnamomum Burmanni var. Kiamis, Cinnamomum xanthoneuron, and Sassafras gaesianum (see P. J. Trans., 1888).

King's American Dispensatory, 1898, was written by Harvey Wickes Felter, M.D., and John Uri Lloyd, Phr. M., Ph. D.