Home Herbal Monograph Cassia, Chinese Cinnamon

Theophrastus described it as a precious odoriferous substance. It has been mentioned in Greek literature also. This refers to the old cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon was not known to the ancients. Under the name 'Kwei', it has its place in Chinese literature. In India, several species of cinnamon were used. The Arabs heard about the benefits of the herb from the Persians. Dioscorides mentions the use of different varieties of cinnamon. The Mohammedan writers differentiate the Chinese, Ceylon and Indian cinnamon.


It is reported to grow wild in isolated places in Mizoram and also cultivated to a limited extent in Tamil Nadu. It is extensively cultivated in China. The major source of Cinnamon in world trade is China.

Morphology Description (Habit)

It is an evergreen aromatic tree. The bark is gray, smooth and thick up to 1.5 cm. The leaves are oblong-elliptic, dark shiny green and with a three prominent nerves from the base. The flowers are small in lax, spreading, terminal, with axillary panicles. The fruits are black, pulpy, aromatic, elliptic drupes with a single seed borne in the cup of the calyx lobe.

Principal Constituents
Melilotic acid is one of the major active constituents of the bark

It has shown choleretic and analgesic effects. It also has diuretic activity. Melilotic acid has anti-ulcerogenic activity. The essential oil has shown analgesic and germicidal properties1.

Skin irritation and pruritis have been found after repeated contact with the powder.


It is used for gastrointestinal disorders.

  1. The Review of Natural Products, 2001,155.