Do You Know The Difference Between Ceylon And Cassia?
Image Credit: Ceylon (left), Cassia (right) paleofoundation

We aren't new to cinnamon. Every cuisine in the world uses this condiment for an array of edibles and potables. But do you know the difference between Ceylon and Cassia? A little Sri Lankan tree produces Ceylon cinnamon, also known as Cinnamomum Verum. Compared to Cassia cinnamon, which commonly comes from China, Indonesia, and other nations, Ceylon cinnamon is paler in appearance. The taste of Cassia cinnamon is pungent and hotter.

There are hundreds of variants of cinnamon, but only four are commercially sold. These include Korintje Cinnamon, Cassia, Ceylon, and Saigon. Due to similarities in hue, form, and coumarin concentration, Cassia, Saigon, and Korintje cinnamon are all categorised as Cassia Cinnamon in scientific terminology. The Cassia cultivar is the most commercially available variety. Cinnamomum cassia is the botanical name for Cassia. Ceylon's scientific name is Cinnamomum Verum, where verum stands for truth.

Differentiating factors between Ceylon and Cassia:

Appearance and taste

Compared to Cassia cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon has a sweeter, more delicate flavour. The latter is also lighter in hue, mostly tan brown, compared to the other, which is reddish brown. Ceylon is a sleek paper-like textured bark and often shapes into several layers upon rolling. When rolled up, Cassia forms only a few layers. The bark is thick and uneven.   

Fragility quotient

You can identify Ceylon by its fragility. It breaks easily without any struggle. Whereas it is just the opposite with Cassia. Even it is a bit tough to pound it into a powder using an electric blender. 

The thickness of the rolls

At times some powdered cinnamon bottles don't indicate which kind they contain. However, the jar will typically be marked as holding Ceylon cinnamon. If you have whole cinnamon sticks, those are the plant's bark. In case you come across unlabeled packaging, remember that the rolled bark of Ceylon cinnamon will be thinner and more layered than the thicker bark of its Cassia relative.

Price says it

One of the easy ways to find the difference between the two is the pricing factor. Ceylon is a highly-valued variant for its medicinal properties and costs almost 10 times more than Cassia. The latter, which is also called Chinese cinnamon, is way cheaper. 

Cinnamons, Image Source: Pexels

Coumarin content 

The presence of coumarin, a naturally occurring plant component that thins the blood, is a significant differentiator. The amount of coumarin in Cassia is significantly higher than that in Ceylon cinnamon. It is crucial if you have liver damage, are using certain hepatotoxic medications, are getting ready for surgery or a dental operation, or are at a high risk of bleeding. Because Cassia cinnamon contains a significant amount of coumarin (between 0.4 and 0.8%), certain European nations have outlawed it.

Presence of Proanthocyanadins

Proanthocyanadins, another type of antioxidant, are also present in Ceylon cinnamon. It shares similarities with the antioxidants in green tea and grapes that have been shown to improve capillaries. It gives antioxidant defence against cancer and cardiac conditions. Other advantages of Ceylon cinnamon are blood pressure reduction, digestive health, and antibacterial and antiparasitic action.

Word of Advice:

Research differs from study to study when Cassia becomes detrimental to the ordinary person. It discusses the recommended daily intake of Cassia cinnamon, which ranges from less than 1 to 5 grammes, or 1 teaspoon, to prevent liver damage. Those who regularly consume more than this daily quantity might prefer to switch to Ceylon cinnamon. Warfarin (a coumarin medication) overdoses are frequently treated with vitamin K supplementation. If you are concerned about your past coumarin ingestion, give up cassia cinnamon immediately, speak to your doctor, and ensure you eat enough foods rich in vitamin K.