The days are getting shorter again and we are quickly approaching the pre-Christmas period. The supermarkets are already teeming with speculoos, gingerbread and the like, which should sweeten the winter for the next few weeks. You get the special festive note especially with a certain spice: cinnamon! However, exactly this is also known for its coumarin content, so that one or the other simply refuses the cinnamon stars, stollen and speculoos. The result: cinnamon consumption gets a negative aftertaste! Right?
One thing is certain: Since the discussions about its harmful effects, some of us only enjoy the delicacies with caution. But where does this substance come from and how dangerous is it really to health?
Basically, coumarin is a natural flavoring that many plants contain, such as. B. tonka beans or woodruff and in addition to cinnamaldehyde a natural main flavor in cinnamon. The level of coumarin in cinnamon can vary, however, because it depends on the variety. Ceylon cinnamon native to Sri Lanka contains little coumarin and is considered unproblematic. It is particularly aromatic and can be recognized by the thinly cut bark, which is reminiscent of a cut cigar.
The best-selling variety, however, is the cassia cinnamon, the rings of which are significantly coarser and thicker. It is mainly mined in China and has the typical cinnamon smell due to its high coumarin content. The problem? In the European Flavor Regulation there is no prescribed maximum value for coumarin in spices, only for cinnamon-containing foods.
How dangerous is it really to enjoy cassia cinnamon? Again we asked our expert Bernd Grajewski:
“Coumarin can lead to liver damage in particularly sensitive people. Important here: This is not just about cinnamon consumption in food, because coumarin can also be absorbed through the skin from cosmetics containing coumarin, for example. However, no damage is known for the consumption of cinnamon. “
Well, we are reassured and the delicacies made in our in-house Christmas bakery, such as stollen or wonderfully fragrant cinnamon stars, are no longer in the way!