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For other uses, see Cinnamon (disambiguation).
Cinnamon sticks or quills and ground cinnamon
Cinnamon ( /ˈsɪnəmən/ sin-ə-mən) is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum that is used in both sweet and savoury foods. Cinnamon trees are native to South East Asia, and its origin was mysterious in Europe until the sixteenth century.
1 Nomenclature and taxonomy
5 Flavor, aroma and taste
7 Medicinal value
10 External links
Nomenclature and taxonomy
The name cinnamon comes from Hebrew and Phoenician through the Greek kinnámōmon.
In India, where it is cultivated in the hill ranges of Kerala, it is called "karuvapatta". In Indonesia, where it is cultivated in Java and Sumatra, it is called kayu manis ("sweet wood") and sometimes cassia vera, the "real" cassia. In Sri Lanka, in the original Sinhala, cinnamon is known as kurundu (කුරුඳු), recorded in English in the 17th century as Korunda. In Arabic, it is called qerfa (قرفة). In Swahili it is called "mdalasini". In several European languages, the word for cinnamon comes from the Latin word cannella, a diminutive of canna, "cane". In Hindi, it is called dal-chini.
Cinnamon (canella) output in 2005
Cinnamomum verum, from Koehler's Medicinal-Plants (1887)
Cinnamon has been known from remote antiquity. It was imported to Egypt as early as 2000 BCE, but those who report that it had come from China confuse it with cassia.
The Hebrew Bible makes specific mention of the spice many times: first when Moses is commanded to use both sweet cinnamon (Hebrew: קִנָּמוֹן, qinnāmôn) and cassia in the holy anointing oil; in Proverbs where the lover's bed is perfumed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon; and in Song of Solomon, a song describing the beauty of his beloved, cinnamon scents her garments like the smell of Lebanon. Cinnamon was a component of the Ketoret which is used when referring to the consecrated incense described in the Hebrew Bible and Talmud. It was offered on the specialized incense altar in the time when the Tabernacle was located in the First and Second Jerusalem Temples. The ketoret was an important component of the Temple service in Jerusalem.
It was so highly prized among ancient nations that it was regarded as a gift fit for monarchs and even for a god: a fine inscription records the gift of cinnamon and cassia to the temple of Apollo at Miletus. Though its source was kept mysterious in the Mediterranean world for centuries by the middlemen who handled the spice trade, to protect their monopoly as suppliers, cinnamon is native to Sri Lanka. It is also alluded to by Herodotus and other classical writers. It was too expensive to be commonly used on funeral pyres in Rome, but the Emperor Nero is said to have burned a year's worth of the city's supply at the funeral for his wife Poppaea Sabina in AD 65.