1700 years ago cinnamon was recorded as being highly prized as a gift for for kings, and was known to be 15 times more valuable than silver. Medieval Physicians used the bark from this evergreen tree to treat coughs and sore throats. This spice has powerful medicinal properties and Mum always gave us us a concoction of cinnamon, ginger, sliced lemon and honey in Rooibos Tea to soothe a sore throat or cough, a tradition I have continued with my children.
In 16th Century , Dutch traders established a trading post in Ceylon, today known as Sri Lanka, they took control of the Island and expelled the remaining Portuguese by 1658. A Dutch captain reported …..”The shores of the island are full of it, “and it is the best in all the Orient. When one is downwind of the island, one can still smell cinnamon eight leagues out to sea.”The Dutch East India Company continued to overhaul the methods of harvesting in the wild and with time began to cultivate its own trees.
In 1767, the British East India Company established Anjarakkandy Cinnamon Estate in India , it was to become Asia’s largest cinnamon estate. In 1796 the Dutch lost their control of island Ceylon to the British. 1833 the monopoly on cinnamon ended ,when it was discovered it could be grown on Java, Sumatra, Borneo, Mauritius, Reunion and Guyana. Today 75% of the worlds cinnamon comes from China and Indonesia.
Cinnamon vernum is native to Sri Lanka, India , Bangladesh and Myanmar – this is the true cinnamon ( Ceylon cinnamon) . Cinnamomum Cassia – is known as Cassia is native to China.