Coumarin in Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a widely used spice especially known for its unique flavor and aroma. From time immemorial, this spice may be indispensable from the kitchen; however, there are chances that you have never heard of Coumarin. Let us enlighten you regarding the dangers of Coumarin and cinnamon.
What is Coumarin
Coumarin is a natural flavoring chemical compound found in many plants. However, it occurs in higher concentration in Cassia Cinnamon. As per Wikipedia, the substance is also found in Sweet Woodruss, Mullein, Sweet grass, Sweet-clover and Tonka beans.
Difference between cinnamon and true cinnamon
Dark brown colored Cinnamon which we usually buy from the shop is actually Cassia. The Cassia variety contains a stronger and intense flavor due to higher concentration of Coumarin that may even pose risk to some individuals if consumed in a larger amounts on regular basis. Cinnamon and cassia are not same and are obtained from different plants. True cinnamon is usually referred to as Ceylon which belongs to the family of Lauraceae, native to Sri Lanka. Real Ceylon Cinnamon looks light brown in color and has a mild and delicate flavor. Whenever true Cinnamon is referred, it is only Ceylon Cinnamon which has very ultra-low Coumarin content.
Side effects of Coumarin
Very high quantities of Coumarin may be toxic, especially for those who have liver problems. According to a report by German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment, 1 Kg of Cassia powder contains around 2.1 grams to 4.4 grams of Coumarin. However Ceylon Cinnamon only contains 0.1 to 0.2 grams per Kg and as such it is considered safe.
Coumarin and Cinnamon
As per NCBI, Cassia Cinnamon contains up to 1% coumarin; on the other hand, Ceylon or true cinnamon contains only a trace, i.e. 0.004%. But, unfortunately, due to high price of Ceylon Cinnamon, Cassia is used mainly in the food industry.
Adulteration of cinnamon by using cassia
Cassia is usually cheaper than Cinnamon and due to a minor difference in appearance; people usually mistake it for true Cinnamon or Ceylon cinnamon. This is why; cassia is often mislabeled and sold as Cinnamon.
Conclusion Either for sprinkling on toast or preparing cinnamon rice pudding, you may be using cinnamon as an essential ingredient in your kitchen for years. However, were you aware about the difference between cassia and true cinnamon? If not, you have unknowingly been using cassia which may harm your health and body. Pay attention and choose health.