Cinnamon is dried bark from various types of laurel trees in the cinnamomun family. A brown, woody spice, it is one of the most common baking spices, with hints of citrus, sweetness and cloves. It’s unmistakably aromatic and has both a sweet and savory flavor. Cinnamon is used in savory Middle Eastern lamb dishes, apple pies and rugalach, pickling and even hot beverages.
The most common cinnamon sold in North America is from the Cassia and is generally sweeter and more aromatic than true cinnamon but has an astringent edge. True cinnamon—Ceylon cinnamon—is from Sri Lanka in south India, where the earliest record of cinnamon use is found.
Cinnamon is known to have unique healing qualities. It may help treat Type 2 diabetes; it can lower bad cholesterol; and it has antifungal, antibacterial and even antiviral properties. Cinnamon has been proven to fight fungal, bacterial and viral elements in foods, thus preventing spoilage.