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When it comes to spices, cinnamon is without doubt the most spoken among the rest. Cinnamon is obtained from the inner bark of several trees from the genus Cinnamomum, and used in both sweet and savoury foods. "True Cinnamon" alias "Ceylon Cinnamon" is the name used to call the world' finest cinnamon which is produced nowhere in the world other than in Sri Lanka. In the world are several varieties of cinnamon. Nevertheless, it is True Cinnamon that is world-renowned. How strong the affinity between cinnamon and Sri Lanka is, is evidenced by its botanical name Cinnamomum Zeylanicum which is derived from the word Ceylon (Zeylan), former colonial name of Sri Lanka.
Ceylon cinnamon has been very popular all over the world since ancient times. This remote antiquity spice was so highly prized among the olden nations that it was regarded as a gift suitable even for monarchs as well as Gods. Attraction to the True Cinnamon compelled the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British to arrive in Sri Lanka. History says that the King of Ceylon who ruled this country in the 6th Century was to supply 250,000 pounds of Cinnamon to Portuguese authorities in return of giving protection against enemy invasions.
Annual production of cinnamon in the world amounts to 27,500 - 35,000 tons. Sri Lanka is proud to produce 80-90% of the total world supply. Thus, Sri Lanka remains as the main supplier of cinnamon to the entire world.
In Sri Lanka, cinnamon has originated from the Central Hills where several species of cinnamon occur periodically in places such as Kandy, Matale, Haputale and the Sinharaja Forest range. Although cinnamon cultivation is presently concentrated along the coastal belt stretching from Kalutara to Matara, it has made its way inroads to the inland of Kalutara, Ambalangoda, Matara and Ratnapura. Production of cinnamon is quite informative. The stems must be processed immediately after harvesting it while the inner bark still remains wet. The cut stems are processed by scraping off the outer bark, then beating the branch evenly with a hammer to loosen the inner bark which is then pried off in long rolls. Then, woody portion is discarded, leaving meter-long Cinnamon strips that are curled into rolls on drying.
True Cinnamon is a popular spice, once considered more precious than gold because of its delicate fragrance and a sweet pungent taste. Therefore, it is used as a flavoring agent in confectionary, pharmaceutical preparations, chewing gums, toothpaste, cinnamon tea, mouthwashes and mixing with several other Asian curries. Furthermore it is used in the preparation of chocolate in Mexico which is the main importer of True Cinnamon. Additionally, it is also used in the preparation of some kinds of desserts such as apple pie, doughnuts, cinnamon rolls and cinnamon buns as well as spicy candies, hot cocoa and liqueurs.
Research has found amazing benefits of cinnamon which has medicinal value that is making even pharmaceutical companies take notice. Cinnamon has been reported to have remarkable pharmacological effects in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Insulin resistance. It has been clinically proven that Cinnamon has ability to boost memory, lower bad Cholesterol and also Cinnamon contains antiseptic properties, help circulation, relieves pain and cold, aids digestion and flu and battles heart disease.