BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS.—Tree about 30 feet high. Root with the odor of camphor as well as that of cinnamon. Leaves ovate-lanceolate, entire, smooth and shining, tasting of cloves. Flowers in panicles, usually unisexual. Drupe 1-seeded, the seed large, with oily cotyledons.
DESCRIPTION OF DRUG.—Long, cylindrical quills deprived of the corky layer by scraping; compound, consisting of 8 or more thin, papery, light brownish-yellow, quilled layers, inclosed one within the other, their sides curling inward, giving the sticks a flattened appearance on one side; somewhat flexible, with a splintery fracture; the outer surface is marked with shining, wavy bast lines, and occasionally with small scars or perforations indicating the former position of leaves; under the microscope it is seen to be formed by a layer of stone cells.
The inner surface is darker and striated. A characteristic, sweet, fragrant odor, and a warm, aromatic, pungent, and sweetish taste run through the different cinnamon barks, but the taste of the Ceylon cinnamon is the more delicate. The broken pieces, caused by repacking at custom-houses (sorted and sold as "small cinnamon"), are commonly used in pharmacy.
Powder.—Characteristic elements: See Part iv, Chap. I, B.
CONSTITUENTS.—All the cinnamons contain volatile oil, mucilage, resin, tannin, mannite, and bitter substance, in varying relative proportions.
In typical samples, the Saigon variety contains the most volatile oil (1 per cent. or more) and mannite, the Cassia variety coming next and the Ceylon last, the oil of the last ranging from 0.50 to nearly 1.00 per cent. Cassia contains the most and Saigon the least, of both tannin and bitter substance. The oil of cinnamon is not identical in the different barks, that of Ceylon cinnamon is recognized as of finer and more perfect flavor, while the Saigon, being sweeter, is more aromatic but the odor is less permanent. Ash, nor exceeding 6 per cent.; not exceeding 2 per cent. insoluble in HCl.
ACTION AND USES.—Aromatic stimulant and tonic, carminative and astringent. The different varieties of cinnamon are among the most pleasant and efficient aromatics and form agreeable adjuvants to a great many official preparations. Dose: 8 to 30 gr. (0.5 to 2 gm.).
A Manual of Organic Materia Medica and Pharmacognosy, 1917, was written by Lucius E. Sayre, B.S. Ph. M.