We are following the treatment in the 'Flora of China'[
], though some authorities use the name Cinnamomum aromaticum for this plant.
Camphorina cassia (Nees & T.Nees) Farw.
Cinnamomum aromaticum Nees
Cinnamomum longifolium Lukman.
Cinnamomum medium Lukman.
Cinnamomum nitidum Hook.
Laurus cassia L.
Neolitsea cassia (L.) Kosterm.
Persea cassia (L.) Spreng.
Common Name: Chinese Cinnamon
Cinnamomum cassia is an evergreen tree growing up to 20 metres tall. The straight, cylindrical bole can be up to 70cm in diameter[
This species is one of the earliest recorded spices, being used in China almost 5,000 years ago[
]. It is widely cultivated as a spice crop in much of eastern Asia[
E. Asia - southern China.
A cultivated plant, it is not known in a truly wild location, though it can be found in primary and secondary forest[
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Cinnamomum cassia is a plant of the lowland tropics and subtropics, where it is found at elevations up to 500 metres. It grows best in areas where annual daytime temperatures are within the range 15 - 32°c, but can tolerate 10 - 38°c[
]. Dormant plants can be killed by temperatures of -6°c or lower, whilst young growth can be damaged at -2°c[
]. It prefers a mean annual rainfall in the range 1,100 - 1,500mm, but tolerates 900 - 3,000mm[
Prefers a fertile, sandy, moisture-retentive but freely draining soil in full sun or partial shade[
]. Prefers a pH in the range 5 - 5.5, tolerating 4.5 - 7[
The buds can be cut when the tree is 5 - 7 years old[
This species has proved invasive in some areas[
The dried bark is the source of the important spice cassia[
]. Both the bark, and an essential oil derived from it, are used as a flavouring in various foods such as curries, confectionery, baked goods, chewing gum etc[
]. The bark contains less essential oil than true cinnamon, but it is more pungent[
]. The bark is one of the ingredients of the Chinese 'Five Spices' mix[
The immature fruits, also known as cassia buds, are widely used in the food industry as a flavouring in items such as breads, cakes, chocolates and pickles[
An essential oil distilled from the leaves is used as a food flavouring in soft drinks, sweets etc[
Cassia bark is a pungent, sweet, hot herb that stimulates the circulatory system, improves digestion, relieves spasms and vomiting and controls infections[
]. The bark is antibacterial. Antidote, circulatory stimulant, respiratory stimulant, stomachic, tonic and uterotonic. It is used in the treatment of dyspepsia, colic, diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, menstrual haematometra, coryza, influenza, cough, asthma, paresis and snake-bite[
The twigs have been shown to increase perspiration and lower fevers[
The inner bark is used in Western herbalism in preparations to treat digestive problems such as diarrhoea, flatulent dyspepsia and colic, as well as colds[
]. In the Orient it is used to treat diarrhoea, poor appetite, low vitality, kidney weakness, rheumatism and coldness[
The leafy twigs are used in the Orient to treat colds, influenza, fevers, arthritic and rheumatic complaints, angina, palpitations and digestive complaints[
The plant is used medicinally as a carminative[
The essential oil obtained from the bark is used as a flavouring in toothpastes, and as a scent in incense[
Extracts of the leaves, wood, bak etc are used in commercial cosmetic preparations as perfumes[
The dried and powdered bark is used in commercial cosmetic preparations as a skin conditioner, hair conditioner, for oral care etc[
The wood is used for making furniture, sawing boards, implements etc[
Seed - the seed has a short viability and is best sown as soon in containers as it is ripe[
]. Remove the fruit pulp since this can inhibit germination[
]. Soaking the seeds for 24 hours in lukewarm water hastens germination[
]. Germination can take 1 - 6 months at 20°c[
]. The germination rate of fresh seed is about 50%, falling to 25% for seed 6 months old, and zero for those 1 year old[
]. Stored seed should be sown as soon as possible in containers[
]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out into their permanent positions when 10cm or more tall.
Cuttings of semi-ripe side shoots, 7cm with a heel, in a frame with bottom heat[