Cinnamon is an evergreen tree and a spice obtained from the inner bark of Cinnamomum. Different parts of this tree is used for a variety of purposes. Cinnamon spice was commonly known as an aromatic condiment, alcoholic flavor and as a traditional medicine. Cinnamomum is an aromatic tree which belongs to the laurel family, Lauraceae.
Spice trade was eventually introduced to Mediterranean countries with a Greek counting back to the 7th Century BC. During the Middle Ages Europe traders was buying Cinnamon secretly to protect their monopoly as suppliers. Some studies states that Indonesian traders have brought Cinnamon to East Africa and then it was taken to Egypt.
Cinnamon is an ancient spice which was also mentioned in the Bible, where Moses used it as an ingredient in ancient Rome for smoothing oil. Cinnamon spice was so precious back in the west during the 14th and 15th centuries, where it was primarily used to hinder the growth of certain bacteria and preserve meat.
Cinnamon is a spice native to Sri Lanka, India, Bangladesh and Burma. The best and the most important evidence about the Cinnamon trade and cultivation in Sri Lanka is the Up country Dutch Agreement , was commonly referred to as Hanguranketha Agreement, and it was signed in 1766 by King Sri Keerthi Sri Rajasinghe and a Dutch Governor.
By signing this agreement King had to transfer the permission and authority to cut and peel Cinnamon in certain areas of Sri Lanka where the Dutch governor agreed to protect the kingdom from other foreign invaders such as English and Portuguese.
Cinnamon that is cultivated in Sri Lanka is referred to as True Cinnamon. In Sri Lanka true cinnamon is cultivated only in particular areas such as south of capital Colombo and Negombo district. And some of the major cities that cultivate Cinnamon are Galle, Matara, Hambantota and Rathnapura.
Ceylon Cinnamon or True Cinnamon has a very good aroma when it is heated. At present there are mainly two categories of Commercial Cinnamon, namely Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon. Cassia Cinnamon is basically native and grown in Indonesia and this category of Cinnamon has two varieties of flavors and has a strong smell.
The most expensive Cinnamon is Ceylon Cinnamon in other words True Cinnamon. True Cinnamon is harvested in Sri Lanka and it has an exclusive flavor when compared to Cassia Cinnamon.
Ceylon Cinnamon or True Cinnamon is obtained from the dried bark of Cinnamomum Zeylancium. In Sri Lanka under natural environmental conditions this tree can be grown to a height of 10m to 15m. Ceylon Cinnamon is grown in all types of soils of tropical conditions, and mainly under conditions varying from semi dry to wet zone conditions. There are eight main species of Cinnamon in Sri Lanka, among all of those categories Cinnamomum Zeylancium is the one which is grown for commercial purposes.