Cinnamomum. U. S. (Br.)
Monograph of the USD 1926.

Compiled and edited by Ivor Hughes.

CINNAMON Cinnam. Cinnamomum Saigonicum, U. S. P. IX.
Cinnamon is the dried bark of Cinnamomum Loureirii Nees. Fam. Lauracea.
Cinnamon yields not less than 2 per cent. of volatile ether soluble extractive, U.S. Cinnamon Bark is the dried inner bark of shoots from the truncated stocks of Cinnamomum zeylanicum, Breyn. Obtained from  cultivated trees. Imported from Ceylon and distinguished in commerce as Ceylon cinnamon. Br. Cinnemomi Cortex. Br. Cinnamon Bark Cortex Cinnamomi. Cannelle Fr. Zimmt. G.
Cannella. It Canela.Sp Kurundu.Cingalese Karua Puttay. Tamil  

Both Cinnamomum and cassia were terms employed by the ancients, but whether  exactly as now understood it is impossible to determine. From what source the  ancients derived their cinnamon and cassia is not certainly known. Neither the plants nor their localities, as described by Dioscorides, Pliny, and  Theophrastus, correspond precisely with our present knowledge; but in this respect much allowance must be made for the inaccurate geography of the  ancients. It is probable that the Arabian navigators at a very early period  conveyed this spice within the limits of the Phoenician and Grecian and subsequently of the Roman commerce. The three principal varieties of cinnamon are known as Saigon Cinnamon, Ceylon Cinnamon and Cassia Cinnamon. Of these the U. S. P. has favored various ones in its previous editions. At present the U.S.P. recognizes only the Saigon variety and the Br. Ph. only  the Ceylon. The genus Cinnamomum is a group of evergreen trees with mostly three-nerved  leaves. The flowers which are either perfect or polygamous are of a pale yellow color and borne in panicles. Cinnamomum loureirii (Nees) the botanical source of Saigon Cinnamon, is of medium height, native to China and Japan. Its branches are glabrous and bear opposite and alternate, rigid, entire, elliptic to oblong,  attenuate-acuminate leaves having acoriaceous texture. The petioles of these are  one-half inch or less in length, the blades three to five inches long. The flowers are very small and they were in the dried state, formerly an article of commerce under the name of Flores Cassiae. The fruit is a berry which adheres to the receptacle.

The Saigon cinnamon is collected chiefly from wild trees especially in the mountainous districts of Annam, in French Indo China. .The greater portion of  it is from branches and small stems and of good quality, although sometimes chips of the thick trunk bark are mixed with the quills. This variety is called  Saigon because it is exported from the city of that name in the southern part of Cochin-China

Cinnamomum zeylandicum (Nees) is a native of Ceylon and the neighboring  Malabar coast In the wild state it is a tree about 20 or 30 feet high, covered  with a thick, scabrous bark. The branches are numerous, strong, horizontal, and  declining, and the young shoots are beautifully speckled with dark green and  light orange colors. The leaves are 4 to 7 inches long, petiolate,  opposite for the most part, coriaceous, entire, ovate or ovate-oblong, obtusely  pointed and three-nerved, with the lateral nerves vanishing as they approach the  point. There are also two less obvious nerves, one on each side arising from the base, proceeding towards the border of the leaf and then quickly vanishing. In  one variety the leaves are very broad and some what cordate. When mature, they are of a shining green upon their upper surface, and lighter-colored beneath.

The tree emits no odor perceptible at any distance. The bark of  the root has the odor of cinnamon with the pungency of camphor, and yields this principle upon distillation. The leaves have a spicy odor when rubbed,  and a hot taste. A volatile oil has been distilled from them. The petiole has the flavor of cinnamon. The flowers have a disagreeable, fetid odor. The fruit has a terebinthinate odor when opened, and a taste in some  degree like that of juniper berries. A fatty substance, called cinnamon-suet, is  obtained from it when ripe, by bruising it and then boiling it in water, and removing the oleaginous matter  which rises to the surface and concretes upon cooling. The Ceylon cinnamon is produced  chiefly from cultivated plants, the principal gardens being in the viainity; of Colombo.  Here the plant is never allowed to become a tree but by vigorous cutting back is forced to  produce a bushy growth of slender stems. The seeds are planted four or five in a  hill and the first five or six years the stems are pruned to be straight, then  cut down and by coppicing produce a new crop of shoots.

The cinnamon harvest commences in May and continues until late in  October. Before decortication the shoots are trimmed up, and the small pieces,  when dried, constitute cinnamon chips. The bark is divided by longitudinal  incisions, of which two are made in the smaller shootsr several in the larger,  and is then removed in strips by ,means of a suitable instrument. The pieces are  next collected in bundles, and allowed to remain in this state for a short time,  so as to undergo a degree of fermentation, which facilitates the separation of  the epidermis. This, with the green matter beneath it, is removed by placing the  strip of bark upon a convex piece of wood and scraping its external surface with  a curved knife.

The bark now dries and contracts, assuming the appearance of a quill.  The peeler introduces the smaller tubes into the larger, and connects them also  endwise, thus forming a congerics of quills which is about forty inches long.  When sufficicntly dry, these cylinders are collected into bundles weighing about  thirty pounds and bound together by pieces of split bamboo.

The c. zeylanicum is also cultivated to a limited extent in some of  the West India islands, especially Martinique and Cayenne-- and in Brazil. The bark from  this source is generally regarded as inferior to that from Ceylon; it is known commercially  as Cayenne cinnamon. The commercial supplies are imported from Colombo ( Ceylon) and Calcutta (India).

Cinnamomum cassia (Nees) Blume is cultivated for the bark, buds and oil  of cassia in the southeastern provinces of China. The bark after collection is  scraped and dried. It is then made into bundles weighing from half to 1 kilo.  which are tied with split bamboo, packed into bamboo cases ,vhich are then  covered with bamboo mats. Very frequently these bundles contain chips and dirt  in the center which are obscured from view by long quills on the outside. The  commercial supplies of Cassia Cinnamon bark come from China and Calcutta, India. The poorer grades are known as Cassia lignea.

From this tree is derived the spice known as Cassia buds. This  consists of the calyx surrounding the young ovary. Cassia buds have some  resemblance to cloves, and are compared to small nails with round heads.  The enclosed ovary is sometimes removed, and they are then cup-shaped at top. They have a brown color, and the flavor of cinnamon.

C. iners Reinw. is distinguished from C. zeylanicum by the  nervation of its leaves, which are also paler and thinner. It is probably only a variety, not a distinct  species. It yields the so-called wild cinnamon of Japan. C. obtusifolium Nees, growing  in Ceylon, Java, and on the mainland of India, is said to have been the chief  source of the drug known formerly by the name of Folia Malabathri and consisting of the leaves of different  species of Cinnamomum mixed together. C. Culilawan Blume of the Moluccas yields  the aromatic bark called culilawan, noticed in Part II of this work; and similar  barks are obtained from C. Sintoc of Java. Massoy bark, from which an aromatic  volatile oil is obtained called oil of massoy, is the product of Sassafras  Goesianum Leijom. In the mountains of Eastern Bengal, at a height of 1000 to  4000 feet, flourish C. obtusifolium Nees, C. pauciflorum Nees, and C. Tamala  Nees et Ebern., and these, with other unknown species, afford quantities of bark  which are shipped from Calcutta, Java, Timor, etc., to Europe under the name of wild cassia. The bark of the C. pedatinervium  Meissn., a tree indigenous to Fiji, yields nearly one per cent. of a  white aromatic volatile oil, with a pungent spicy taste.

For constitution, etc., see Proc. Chem. Soc., xix. These barks are mostly  highly aromatic, resembling cinnamon more or less closely in flavor, and are distinguished by  yielding to cold water an abundant mucilage. Holmes described the bark of  C. pedativum Meis., and concludes that it might be of value as a source of  safrol and linalool in P. J., 1904, p. 892.

Description and Physical Properties. - Unground Cinnamon. In quills up to  30 cm. long and 4cm. in diameter, the bark from 0.5 to 3.0 mm. in thickness, or  in broken irregular pieces or in flattened slabs up to 8'mm. in thickness; the outer surface  light brown to dark purplish-brown, with grayish patches of crustose lichens and numerous  bud-scars, finely wrinkled when from young twigs, otherwise, more or less rough from corky  patches surrounding the lenticels; inner surface reddish-brown to dark brown, granular  and slightly striate; fracture short; odor characteristic and aromatic; taste sweetish,  aromatic and pungent.


Structure.-A narrow outer layer of more or less lignified cork cells  followed by a layer of starch-bearing parenchyma with scattered stone cells and  a nearly continuous zone of stone cells among which are small groups of  bast-fibers with thickened and slightly lignified walls ; inner bark with  medullary rays 1 to 3 cells wide, inconspicuous sieve tissue, bast-fibers in  groups of 2 to 20, mucilage and oil cells numerous and about the size of the  parenchyma cells; parenchyma cells usually filled with starch or containing very  small raphides of calcium Oxalate the Lumina of parenchyma cells, stone cells and bast-fibers frequently filled with an amorphous reddish-brown substance,  which is for the most part insoluble in the ordinary reagents. In the bark of  the young twigs there is an epidermal layer with a thick, yellowish cuticle, fewer stone cells in the zone associated with bast-fibers, the inner bark narrower and with fewer secretion  cells than in the older bark.

Powdered Cinnamon.-Yellowish- or reddish-brown; starch grains numerous;  single and 2- to 4-compound, the single grains from 0.005 to 0.025 mm. in diameter;  stone cells irregular in shape, occasionally with one wall much thinner than the  other walls, sometimes containing starch; bast-fibers from 0.3 to 1.5 mm. in  length, with very thick and slightly lignified walls; parenchyma cells with  reddish-brown walls; oil cells and mucilage cells not readily  distinguishable.

Assay - Proceed as directed under volatile ether-soluble extractive.  Preserve in tightly closed containers. U.S. According to Siebold, the  bark of the large branches is of inferior quality and is rejected ; that from  the smallest branches resembles the Ceylon cinnamon in thickness, but has a very  pungent taste and odor, and is little esteemed, while the intermediate branches  yield an excellent bark, about 2 mm. in thickness, which is even more highly  valued than the cinnamon of Ceylon, and yields a sweeter and less pungent oil. 

Ceylon cinnamon occurs in closely rolled quills, each about nine  millimeters in diameter, and containing numerous smaller quills or channeled  pieces. Dull, pale yellowish-brown, darker on the inner surface; thin, brittle  and splintery; entirely free from cork; marked with small scars or holes and  with faint, shining, wavy longitudinal lines.

The powdered Bark exhibits abundant parenchymatous tissue with brown  cell-walls, isolated bast-fibers not more than 30 microns in diameter, small  simple or compound starch grains and thick-walled sclerenchymatous cells, but no  cork or fragments of wood. Fragrant odor; taste warm; sweet and aromatic.

Ash not more than 5 per cent." Br. " Under the microscope, sections of  Ceylon Cinnamon usually show no cork but an almost continuous outer layer of  stohe cells, among which are small groups of bast-fibers resembling those found  in Saigon Cinnamon, in the inner bark occur numerous bast-fibers singly or in  small groups, medullary rays 1 to 2 cells in width, usually witb raphides of  calcium oxalate; parenchyma with either reddish-brown contents or more or less  filled with starch grains; scattered throughout the parenchyma occur oil  secretion cells and mucilage cells. The powder is light brown or  yellowish-brown; starch grains numerous, varying from spherical to polygonal,  from 0.003 to 0.02 mm. in diameter, frequently in small aggregates; bast-flbers  from 0.3 to 0.8 mm. in length, usually single, spindle-shaped, with attenuated  ends, .the walls being very thick and but slightly lignified; colorless stone  cells resembling those of Saigon Cinnamomi numerous cellular fragments with  yellowish-brown walls or contents; cork cells few or none; calcium oxalate in  raphides, from 0.005 to 0.008 mm. in length.

Ceylon Cinnamon yields not less than 0.5 per cent of volatile extractive soluble in ether. U.S.IX. When distilled Ceylon Cinnamon affords but a small quantity of essential oil, which, however, has an exceedingly grateful flavor.  It is brought to this country from England, but it is costly. The inferior sorts are browner, thicker, less splintery, and of a less agreeable flavor, and are little if at all superior to the best Chinese.

The finer variety of Cayenne cinnamon approaches in character that above described, but is paler and in thicker pieces, being usually collected  from older branches. That which is gathered very young is scarcely  distinguishable from the cinnamon of Ceylon.

Chinese cinnamon
, or Cassia ( Cinnamomum Cassia, U. S., 1890) , occurs in quills, usually single, sometimes double, very rarely more than double, from 30  to 60 cm. long, 2 to 5 cm. wide, and 0.2 to 3 mm. thick. In some instances the  bark is rolled very much upon itself, in others is not even completely quilled,  forming segments more or less extensive of a hollow cylinder. It is of a redder or darker color than the finest Ceylon cinnamon, thicker, rougher, denser, and  breaks with a shorter fracture. It has a stronger, more pungent and astringent  but less sweet and grateful taste, and though of a similar odor, is less  agreeably fragrant. It is the kind almost universally kept in our shops. Under  the name of cassia have also been brought to us very inferior kinds of cinnamon,  collected from the trunks or large branches of the trees, or injured by want of  care in keeping, or perhaps derived from inferior species. It is said that  cinnamon from which the oil has been distilled is sometimes fraudulently mixed  with the genuine. These inferior kinds are detected, independently by their  greater thickness and coarseness of fracture, by their deficiency in the  peculiar sensible properties of the spice. Chinese cinnamon is " in quills of  varying length and about 1 mm. or more in thickness ; nearly deprived of the  corky layer, yellowish-brown; outer surface somewhat rough; fracture nearly  smooth; odor fragrant; taste sweet, and warmly aromatic." U. S. 1890. Cassia is no longer official in the U. S. P., it having been dropped at the 8th  Revision.

Powdered cinnamon is often grossly adulterated with sugar, ground walnut  shells, galanga rhizome and various other substances. Galanga, according to Schmitz-Dumont,  may be detected by the presence of small club-shaped, rod-shaped, partly bent,  microscopic pieces of resino-tannol. (Zeit. oeff. Chem., 1903, No.2.) Powdered  cassia buds are frequently added to the inferior cinnamon powders, but can hardly be looked upon as an adulterant, as they contain a larger proportion of  volatile oil than the lower grades of cinnamon.

The Pharmacopoeia gives the following tests
for distinguishing  powdered cassia from powdered cinnamon, and for recognizing the inferior varieties of cassia. Make  a decoction of powdered cinnamon of known genuineness, and one of similar strength of the  suspected powder; when cool and strained, test a fluid ounce of each.with one or two  drops of tincture of iodine. A decoction of cinnamon is but little affected, but in that of cassia a deep blue-black tint is immediately produced. The cheap kinds of cassia  known as cassia vera may be distinguished from the more valuable Chinese cassia  as well as from cinnamon by their richness in mucilage; this can be extracted by  cold water ; it is a thick glairy liquid, giving dense ropy precipitates with corrosive sublimate or neutral lead acetate, but not with alcohol. The coarser  cassia bark, or cassia lignea, usually has some of the external or corky layer  adherent to it, and always the parenchymatous mesophirenm or middle bark, but  the inner bark constitutes the chief mass. Isolated bast fibers and thick-walled  stone cells are scattered even through the outer layers of a transverse section.  In the middle zone they are numerous, but do not form a coherent  sclerenchymatous ring as in Ceylon cinnamon. The innermost part of the bast  shares the structural character of cinnamon, with differences due to age, as, for instance ,the greater development of the  medullary rays.

Oil cells and mucilage cells are likewise distributed among the parenchyma of the former. The finest cassia or Chinese cinnamon has the three layers described in  Ceylon cinnamon, but is distinguished by the adherent outer parenchymatous and suberous layer. For an excellent description of the microscopical structure of  the commercial cinnamon see Winton and Moeller, "The Microscopy of Vegetable  Foods." Spaeth gives the microscopical characteristics of the several kinds of  cinnamon, discusses the adulterants of powdered cinnamon and the means of  detection in Ph. Centralh., 1908, pp. 724, 729. Rosenthaler and Reis give an excellent pharmacognostical study of .Seychelles  Cinnamon in B. P. G., 1909, p. 490.

The chief substitute and adulterant for both Saigon, and Cassia barks  within recent years has been the Fagot or Batavia cassia. This bark is obtained from  Cinnamomum Burmanni Blume, a tree native to Java and probably other East India islands. It occurs  mostly in double quills that are scraped, up to 3 mm. thick, light-brown to reddish externally, extremely mucilaginous and less aromatic than the other 3  main varieties.

The powdered bark, unlike the other cinnamon barks described, forms a shiny  mass in water and may also be distinguished from these by the presence therein  of tabular and prismatic crystals of calcium oxalate. R. Windisch reports that  in the case of nine samples of cinnamon bark, which he examined, four yielded an  ash, dark-brown in color, which was shown to contain considerable iron. The ash in these samples varied from  6 to 10 per cent. as compared with 2.11 per cent. in normal samples. The addition was  found to consist of iron ochre, from 6 to 10 per cent. of this material having  been added. ( Ztsch. Unters. Nahr u. Gennssm., 41, 1921, p. 78.)

Constituents.-Cinnamon bark contains from 0.5 to 1.0 per cent. of a  peculiar essential oil (see Oleum Cinnamomi), some gum; a coloring matter and a tannin of the  variety which gives blue-black precipitate with ferric salts. Thornton (A. J. P., 1895,  400) has examined the tannin of a. Cassia. He found it to amount to about 3.90 per cent., as an  average of three different determinations on different samples. He found it  impossible to extract the tannin by any one of several methods tried, and  concludes that it either has the phlobophene (anhydride) character as it exists  in the drug or acquires such character when brought into contact with water.  Bucholz found in 100 parts of cassia lignea 0.8 of volatile oil, 4.0 of resin,  14.6 of gummy extractive (probably including tannin ), 64.3 of lignin and  bassorin, and 16.3 of water, including loss.

Assay.- As the therapeutic value of cinnamon depends upon the volatile  oil, of which the most important ingredient is cinnamic aldehyde, Fellenberg (D.C. 1916, lx,  755) has suggested the assay of cinnamon for this aldehyde by the following  process: 1 Gm. of the powdered bark is heated with 40 cc. of alcohol for ten miriutes in a flask provided with a reflux condenser.  

The alcohol is then distilled until about 30 cc. is obtained, when 100 cc. of water is added to the flask and distillation continued until the distillate  measures 100 cc. ; 5 cc. of this distillate are mixed with 2 cc. of a 5 per  cent. alcoholic solution of isobutyl alcohol and 3 cc. of 38 per cent alcohol. To this is added 20 cc. of concentrated sulphuric acid and allowed to stand for  forty five minutes. The color produced is compared with that of a 2 per cent.  solution of cinnamic aldehyde in 38 per cent alcohol produced by the same  method. He found the proportion of cinnamic aldehyde in Ceylon cinnamon. to be  from 1.3 to 1.8 per cent. and in Chinese cinnamon from 1,25 to 2.77 per cent.  For another method of assaying cinnamon see Lanten Schlager, A, Pharm.; 1918,  cclvi, 87.

Uses.-Cinnamon is among the most grateful and efficient of the aromatics.  It is warm and cordial to the stomach, carminative, distinctly astringent, and, like most other substances of this class, more powerful as a local than as a general  stimulant. .It is seldom prescribed alone,. though, when given in powder or  infusion, It will sometimes allay nausea, check vomiting, and relieve flatulence. It is chiefly used as an adjuvant,  and enters into a great number of official preparations. It is often employed in diarrhea, in  connection with chalk and astringents.
Dose, of powder, ten to twenty grains (0.65 to 1.3 Gm.)

Off. Prep.- Aqua Cinnamomi, Br.; Pulvis Cinnamomi Compositus, Br. Pulvis Cretae Aromaticus, N. F. Br. Tinctura Cadamomi Compositus, Br. Tinctura Cinnamomi, N. F., Br.Tinctura Lavandula Composita, U.S., Br. Pulvis Aromaticus, U.S. Tinctura Cardamomi Composita, U.S. Tinctura Lavandulae Composita, U.S. Elixir Taraxaci Composita (from Tincture)  N.F. Syrupus Cinnamomi, N.F. Tinctura Aromatica, N.F.

Also see the
Volatile Oils.

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