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Cinnamon essential oil: Discovering the secrets of a mystic spice

Cinnamon doubtlessly occupies a place of honour among the most widely used natural flavourings. Although the current fame of cinnamon is mostly due to its popularity in cuisine, its use as a raw material also stands out in fields such as medicine and fragrance development.

This characteristic aroma evokes a sweet and woody warmth that becomes essential in the manufacturing of products in sectors as differentiated as food, perfumes, and air fresheners.

This spice is obtained from the inner bark of cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum verum) also known as Cinnamon Ceylon, a perennial tree original from Sri Lanka that grows in warm and humid habitats.



The use of cinnamon for culinary, medicinal and mystical purposes goes back as far as the history of mankind itself as it is indicated by the findings of references to this spice in Chinese scriptures prior to 2,800 BC.

Despite the exotic and faraway origin of this spice, cinnamon promptly found its way to the West, being highly appreciated by Greek and Roman civilisations. Roman writer Pliny (I BC) claimed that a Roman pound of cinnamon (327 gr) could cost up to 1,500 denarii, an astronomical figure equivalent to the 4-year salary of an average Roman worker at the time.

These prices made it impossible to exhaustively use this spice, except for a few. According to the tale, Emperor Nero ordered the burning of all the cinnamon supplies of the city on his second wife’s funeral pyre as a sign of regret for his responsibility for her death.

The high prices of this spice were in large part due to the fantasy stories about its origin spread by Arab merchants when they introduced it in Europe. This helped to keep its true origin secret, ensuring the monopoly of its trade and high selling price.

In the 5th Century, Herodotus, a Greek historian and geographer who is considered by many to be the father of History, claimed that cinnamon was obtained by tricking Cinnamologus, mythical giant birds that, according to him, used cinnamon to build their nests.

The origin of cinnamon would continue to be a mystery in the West until well into the Middle Ages.



Cinnamon essential oil is extracted by distilling leaves or bark of cinnamon tree. The oil from the bark of this tree is richer in cinnamic aldehydes and has a more intense and gourmand smell than that extracted from its leaves, which contains more eugenol and gives off a spicier aroma.

Cinnamon essence is highly valued in the design of fragrances for both air fresheners and fine perfumery, to which it adds a sophisticated touch and a warm nuance.

At Destilerías Muñoz Gálvez, we have extensive experience working with cinnamon essential oil, developing aromatic compositions intended for all types of applications.

Are you interested in including cinnamon essential oil in your product or project? Contact us without obligation.