Cinnamon is an evergreen tree, dried inner bark of which is used as a spice. Cinnamon trees are medium-tall trees that reach up to a height of 6–15 meters on full growth. Cinnamon is one of the oldest known spices that have been traded since time immemorial. Cinnamon is naturally seen in the forests of Western Ghats and commercially cultivated in Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.
Cinnamon (Cinnamomum zeylanicum Blume.)
Konkan Tej, Yercaud 1,Navashree and Nithyashree are some of the commercially cultivated species of cinnamon. Navashree is a superior selection with high regeneration capacity (6–7 shoots/year), high yield (average yield 56kg/ha in the first 4 year), and high bark recovery (40.6%). It has also excellent quality characters with bark oil 2.7% with a very good cinnamaldehyde content 73%, bark oleoresin 8%, and leaf oil 2.8%. Navashree is recommended for all cinnamon-growing regions in India.
Soil and climate
Sandy or lateritic soils with high humus are suitable. This crop can be grown up to an altitude of 800 – 1000 m from Mean Sea Level receiving an annual rainfall of 150 to 250 cm.
June – December is found to be optimum
A fertilizer dose of 20g N, 18g P2O5 and 25g K2O/seedling is recommended for the first year. This dose is increased gradually to 200g N, 180g P2O5 and 200g K2O for grown-up plants of 10 years and above. The fertilizers are to be applied in 2 equal split doses in May–June and September–October.
Cinnamon is a rainfed crop. But an annual rainfall of 200–250cm is ideal. In the initial 2–3 years, watering is given during summer months twice a week. The quantity of water depends upon the soil moisture level and growth of plants.
Propagation: Seeds / Semi hardwood cuttings
Nursery: Seeds collected from selected mother trees are sown immediately in nursery beds in rows of 12 cm apart. July – August is the best season for sowing. From beds, seedlings are transplanted to polythene bags when they attain a height of 15 cm.
Take pits of 60 cm3 at 2 m x 2 m spacing. Fill the pits with top soil and FYM 10 kg. One year old seedlings or rooted cuttings are transplanted under partial shade.
Immediately after transplanting, the plants are provided with temporary shade by erecting a small pandal. Weeds are removed as and when necessary. Young trees are cut close to the ground to produce side shoots. This process is called “Coppicing”. By stooling around the stumps, more side shoots are encouraged from the base of the trees.
Shoot borer can be controlled by smearing the stem and branches with Carbaryl 50 WP @ 2 g/lit of water once in a month.
Coffee red borer
Coffee red borer can be controlled by trunk injection of Monocrotophos 36 WSC @ 1 ml/bore hole with a waiting period of 20 days to be allowed between application and harvest of the bark.
Leaf eating caterpillar, red ants and termites
Dust Methyl parathion 1.3%.
Leaf spot can be controlled by spraying 1 % Bordeaux mixture or 0.25 % copper oxy chloride.
The harvesting starts from 4th or 5th year after planting. The shoots are cut for the extraction of bark once in May and again in November. As soon as rain ceases, cutting of shoots for peeling of bark is commenced. After cutting, young shoots spring up from the stump which will be ready for removal in subsequent season within 18 months. The bark is peeled from the selected shoots of 18 to 24 months old, which are usually one metre long and 1 to 2 cm thick. Shoots ready for peeling are removed from the stumps and terminal ends of shoots are also removed. Peeling is done by knives after scraping off the outer bark. From leaves, Cinnamon oil can be extracted by steam distillation. Harvested produce is called as ‘Quills’.
100 g of dried bark/bush
35 kg of leaf oil/ha/year
Post harvest management
Peeling of the inner bark
Scraping and peeling of the inner barks from the shoots are carried out at the pack houses. The peeling is a specialized operation, requiring some skill and considerable experience. It is done by using a specially made knife, which has a small and round end with projection in one side to facilitate ripping of the bark. The rough outer bark is first scrapped off. Then with brass rod, the scrapped portion is polished to facilitate easy peeling. A longitudinal slit is made from one end to the other. Then working the knife between the bark and wood, the bark is ripped quickly. The shoots cut in the morning are peeled on the same day. The peels are gathered and kept overnight under shade.
Drying of the Peels
Peels are dried first in shade for a day and then in the sunlight for 4 days. During drying, the bark contracts and assumes the shape of quill. The smaller quills are inserted into larger ones to form compound quills.
Grading of Cinnamon Rolls
Major grades of cinnamon rolls are quills, quillings, featherings, scrapped chips and unscrapped chips. The quills are graded from ‘00000’ being the finest quality, to ‘0’ the coarsest quality. The small pieces of the bark, left after preparing the quills are graded as ‘quillings’. The very thin inner pieces of bark are dried as ‘featherings’. From the coarser canes, the bark is scrapped off, instead of peeling, and this grade is known as ‘scrapped chips’. The bark is also scrapped off without removing the outer bark and is known as ‘unscrapped chips’.
Preparation of Cinnamon Powder
Different grades of cinnamon rolls are used for ground cinnamon. Ground cinnamon or cinnamon powder are prepared by grinding the dried cinnamon rolls into a fine powder.‘Cinnamon powder’ are graded based on the grade of the cinnamon rolls used for powdering.
Health benefits of cinnamon powder
A paste of honey and cinnamon powder may be used as a jam for breakfast for reducing cholesterol. Cinnamon and honey mixture may be used for insect bites where honey-cinnamon powder paste is applied on insect wounds. Honey-cinnamon mixture in warm water, if taken regularly for a long period, can cure arthritis. Honey-cinnamon paste in olive oil reduces hair loss if applied on head regularly before bath for 15 – 30 minutes. A solution of honey and cinnamon powder in warm water if taken in empty stomach reduces urinary bladder infections. Cinnamon-honey paste can be applied thrice a day on aching tooth to stop the pain. Health benefits of cinnamon powder and honey mixture also includes enhanced fertility, immunity to common colds, and reduced stomach problems. Cinnamon and honey paste is good for treating bad breath, for reducing weight and for increasing longevity.
Cinnamon tea is prepared by mixing 2 tablespoons of honey and 3 teaspoons of Cinnamon Powder and 16 ounces of green tea. This is a best medicine for reducing cholesterol (level of cholesterol in the blood is reduced by 10% within 2 hours of cinnamon tea consumption).
Cinnamon Powder and Honey for weight loss:
Take one portion of cinnamon powder and two portions of honey (honey obtained from small species of honey bees). Firstly, add one small cup of boiled water into the cinnamon powder and make a solution. Keep this solution for 30 minutes to cool and then add honey into it and mix it well. Half portion of this mixture should be consumed just before going to bed and rest should be consumed in the following morning in empty stomach. Use this mixture for one or two months for considerable weight loss. Cinnamon naturally reduces overweight and cleanses the system naturally.