Bastard Cinnamon. Chinese Cinnamon. Cassia lignea. Cassia Bark. Cassia aromaticum, Canton Cassia
Bastard Cinnamon is usually regarded as a substitute for that of the Cinnarmomum zeylanicum, which it closely resembles. Cultivated trees are kept as coppices with shoots springing from the roots that are not allowed to rise to a height greater than ten feet. Their appearance is both striking and beautiful when the flame-coloured leaves and delicate blossoms first appear. The fruit is about the size of large grapes. The trees are most productive at the age of ten to twelve years, but they continue to spread and send up new shoots. The bark of the cassia is distinguished from that of cinnamon by its thicker, coarser, darker, and duller appearance. The flavor of the cassia is more pungent, less sweet and less delicate than cinnamon with a slightly bitter taste. The stronger flavor is one reason that cassia is preferred to cinnamon by German and Roman chocolate makers. Cassia is often confused with a the shrub Breynia (Breynia oblongifolia) because of their similar leaf structure, but Cassia leaflets grow in opposite pairs, while Breynia leaves alternate.
ACTIONS & USES
Cassia is a stomachic, carminative, mildly astringent, and reported to be an emmenagogue. Cassia has also been found capable of decreasing the secretion of milk in lactating mothers. A tincture of cassia can be useful in uterine bleeding and menorrhagia, the doses of 1 drachm (approximately 3.55163 ml, or 4.37 grams, or 1/8 of an ounce) being given every 5, 10 or 20 minutes as required. Cassia is used most often to flavor other drugs, being helpful in diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and to relieve flatulence.
The oil of Cassia is a powerful germicide, but it is also an irritant. This property makes it and impractical remedy in topical applications unless diluted. It is a strong local stimulant, sometimes prescribed for stomach aches, flatulence (colic), and other gastric distress.
Keep away from pets as Cassia oil has been found to kill a moderately sized dog (six drachms) in five hours. Two drachms could do the same in forty hours, inflaming the gastro-intestinal mucous membrane.
Not recommended in quantity for nursing mothers as it could stop or decrease milk production.
Disclaimer: None of this is to be considered a substitute for medical examination and/or treatment. Use what you will, but do so knowing that you must consider your own circumstance and the application of these things with sound judgment.