The unique Ceylon Cinnamon.

Cinnamon is the dried bark of the Cinnamomum zeylanicum perennial. True cinnamon is endemic to Sri Lanka (then Ceylon). Cinnamon was originally cultivated in the forests of the central highlands of Sri Lanka. History of Cinnamon BC 2800 and is referred to as “Kwai” in Chinese documents. The Bible tells us that in ancient Rome, Moses used cinnamon as a raw material for his anointing oil. At Roman funerals, it was cremated as a means of expelling corpses. Emperor Nero is said to have burned a year’s supply of dried cinnamon at the funeral of his wife, Popia Sabina. The ancient Egyptians used it for mummy embalming because of its pleasant aroma and its preservative properties.

Products and Utilities

Cinnamon peels are mostly available in the form of cinnamon sticks, making sticks unique to Sri Lanka. Cinnamon sticks are rolled to form sticks, which are then joined together to form a tube-like structure of the desired length. Also available in the form of chips, quillings or featherings. Cinnamon is a unique plant that contains essential oils from the leaves, bark and roots. But their chemical composition is completely different from each other. Essential oils are made from both bark and leaves. The main chemical in bark oil is cinnamaldehyde and the leaf oil is eugenol. Cinnamon is available in powder form as well as in pellet form.

Cinnamon is mostly used for cooking and baking. Cinnamon is a spice that can be added to salads, desserts, beverages, soups, stews and sauces. Peel a squash, grate it and squeeze the juice. It is very popular in Latin America. Cinnamon flavored tea is gaining popularity nowadays. Cinnamon is also used as an ingredient in indigenous medicine in Sri Lanka, China, India (Ayurvedic). Cinnamon and bark oil are used as a food flavoring, in the perfumery and in the pharmaceutical industry.


Main cultivated areas in Sri Lanka

Cinnamon in Sri Lanka originates in the central hills, and seven wild cinnamon forests can be found in Kandy, Matale, Belihuloya, Haputale, Horton Plains and Sinharaja. Today, cinnamon is cultivated along the coast from Negombo to Matara and has spread to Kalutara and Ratnapura.


There are eight species of cinnamon in Sri Lanka. Among them, only Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume is commercially cultivated. Cinnamon has traditionally been classified into several types based on the taste of the bark. “Sweet-Chili Cinnamon” is the best of the sweet ones, while “Chili Cinnamon”, “Seval Cinnamon” and “Bitter Cinnamon” are the others. Ten varieties of cinnamon have been identified so far based on yield and quality and the two best texts titled ‘Sri Vijaya’ and ‘Sri Gemunu’ have been released. Other choices are being tested in different agro-climatic zones.

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