Probably this is the first spice sought in the commerce of the Orient or from the Indian Ocean, its early record being lost in antiquity. It is mentioned as a precious spice in the Psalms, Proverbs, Ezekiel, Revelation, etc., and by the ancient historians Theophrastus (633), Herodotus (314a), Galen (254a), Dioscorides (194), Pliny (514), Strabo, and others. No distinction was then drawn between cinnamon and cassia, the difference being considered one of quality only. Cinnamon and cassia are mentioned as ranking in value with gold, ivory, and frankincense, and as being among the most costly of the offerings in the temple of Apollo in Miletus, B. C. 243. No mention is made in any old historical document of its being derived from Ceylon. It is accepted as being mentioned in the Chinese herbals from 2700 B. C. to 1200 B. C. Many varieties of the tree are found in India, as well as in Ceylon, in which country, however, no mention of cinnamon is made prior to the thirteenth century. Cassia and cinnamon were employed as spices and remedies, especially by the aborigines, and in the religious services of the early peoples of the countries mentioned. The aromatic drugs drifted into Europe as exceedingly rare and valuable products some time before the date of the East India Company. Cassia was one of the ingredients of the embalming mixtures used by the Egyptians (see Myrrh).
The History of the Vegetable Drugs of the U.S.P., 1911, was written by John Uri Lloyd.