Cinnamon: A Bit of Botany
a little botanical information about cinnamon

Cinnamomum cassia is an evergreen tree of the Lauraceae, or Laurel family. The tree grows to 10–15 m tall with a spread of 6-10 m. Cinnamon has grayish or light brown, papery bark and hard, leathery, elongated leaves that are 10–15 cm long and have a decidedly reddish color when young.

The flowers are small, yellow-white and borne in clusters, the fruit are ovoid purple berries.

common names & nomenclature
In several European languages, the word for cinnamon comes from the Latin word cannella, a diminutive of canna, "tube", from the way it curls up as it dries.

Cinnamomum cassia also known as:
chinese cassia, chinese cinnamon, daruchini, tvak, dalchini, laurus cinnamomum, tamalapatra, vazhana, karuva, cassia lignea, cassia bark. cassia aromaticum, canton cassia.

Cinnamon, the aromatic, baking spice
Cinnamon: Where in the World
habitat and range for Cinnamon

Cinnamomum cassia, or cinnamon, originates in southern China, is widely cultivated there and elsewhere in southern and eastern Asia (India, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam).

Cinnamon: Cultivation & Harvesting
considerations for growing and harvesting cinnamon

Cinnamon requires a low altitude and a hot, humid, tropical climate in partial shade.

Grows best in loam or sandy loam soil. The best bark comes from trees in sandy soil, although loam provides more rapid growth and higher yields.

Cinnamon is mainly propagated by seeds, although a plantation may plant cuttings as well. Plant seeds in a fertile soil in pots and grow in a greenhouse or tropical climate. Transplant seedlings once they are large enough to handle. The tree must be grown for two years, after which it is cut down. The next year, little shoots appear. These shoots are stripped of their thin inner bark.

The harvested strips of bark are dried and become cinnamon sticks. Cinnamon sticks are curled up the way they are because this is the natural way the bark dries after being stripped from the tree. The dried sticks can also be ground into a powder.

Store cinnamon sticks or cinnamon powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place.

Cinnamon: The Rest of the Story
cinnamon history, folklore, literature & more

cinnamon—more than just a spice
You’ve surely enjoyed the tasty flavor of cinnamon in your favorite foods and beverages.

Cinnamon can also be used as an insect repellent. You can add a few drops of cinnamon oil to your favorite lotion to help fight off mosquitoes. Just be cautious about how much you use, because cinnamon can also irritate the skin. You’ll only need a few drops. If you can smell the cinnamon, you’ve used enough.

You can also take cinnamon oil and dilute it with water to create an insect repellent spray. This can be used on clothing and even plants to help prevent problems with pesky bugs. It’s safe to use around children and pets as well.

Cinnamon oil can also be used to kill mosquito larvae. Add a few drops to standing water where you think mosquitoes may be lurking and you’ll prevent an infestation. It’s a natural way to prevent problems from mosquitoes without using harsh chemicals. It’s also very effective.

While cinnamon provides delicious flavor for foods, you shouldn’t forget about all of the other things it can do for you. Make sure to keep plenty of cinnamon sticks, cinnamon oil, and ground cinnamon in your stock of herbs.

One word of caution—using too much cinnamon at once can cause irritation in your mouth, skin, and can even cause problems with breathing. Don’t try eating cinnamon by itself. Always dilute it with a liquid to prevent these issues. When used correctly, cinnamon is a great additive to your household routine.