The History of Sri Lanka and the History of Spice are intertwined to the extent that it leaves one to question whether this amazing country was discovered because of spice, or vice versa.
Most historians will agree that Sri Lanka was the main hub of the ancient spice trade. And with regard to cinnamon, which originated here, was certainly the longest standing.
With remains found in archaeological digs in Egypt, it is believed that the cherished spice was used as an embalming agent more than two thousand years ago. There is also Biblical reference (Proverbs 7, 16 19) of cinnamon being used as fragrance in Jerusalem sometime during the 3rd or 4th millennia BC.
The Arab traders held the monopoly of Ceylon Cinnamon trade before the arrival the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British. In 1518 Portuguese discovered Ceylon (Sri Lanka) and established a fort on the island and protected the cinnamon monopoly for over a hundred years. The Dutch subsequently expelled the Portuguese and seized the cinnamon monopoly in 1658. The importance of the cinnamon monopoly declined as the cultivation of cinnamon spread to other areas and cassia (which has different physical and chemical properties) started to be used as a substitute.
In its wild state, a cinnamon bush will grow to the height of from ten to fifteen meters. However when commercially cultivated and harvested in Sri Lanka, the mature stems are cropped from time to time and the cinnamon plant can be maintained as a bush with four to five shoots of two to three meters in height. Today the cinnamon cultivation is concentrated along the coastal belt of the Sri Lanka, stretching from Negombo to Matara and the inland areas of Kalutara, Kosgoda, Ambalangoda, Matara and Ratnapura.
THE MANY HEALTH BENEFITS OF CINNAMON
This powerful spice that has been used medicinally around the world for thousands of years. It is still used daily in many cultures because of its widespread health benefits, not to mention its distinctly sweet, warming taste and ease of use in recipes. The unique smell, vibrant color, and flavour of cinnamon is due to the oily part of the tree that it grows from: The Cinnamomum tree. This bark contains several special compounds which are responsible for its many health promoting properties- including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid, and cinnamate. These compounds make it one of the most beneficial spices on earth, giving it a range of benefits:
High Source of Anti-oxidants
Protects Heart Health
Helps Defend Against Cognitive Decline & Protects Brain Function
May Help LowerCancer Risk
Fights Infections Viruses
Protects Dental Health & Freshens Breath Naturally
Benefits Skin Health