The cassia bark of China and the cinnamon bark of the Indian archipelago are among the longest known and used spices. Cassia is mentioned in the earliest herbals and medical treatises of China,4) about 2500 B. C, and as early as the 17. century B. C, it appears to have been used by the Egyptians.5) It is also mentioned in most of the writings of antiquity. Thus in addition to other spices it is mentioned in Sanskrit literature and in the Old Testament.6)
1) E. Kampfer, Amcenitates exoticae. Lemgo 1712. p. 772. (With an illustration of the tree.)
2) James W. Davidson, The Island of Formosa. London and New York 1903.
3) Klaproth, Memo/res relatifs a I'Asie. Paris 1824.
4) Bretschneider, On the study and value of Chinese botanical works, with notes on the history of plants and geographical botany from Chinese sources. Foochow 1870.
5) Dumichen, Die Flotte einer agyptischen Konigin. Leipzig 1868. - Schumann's Kritische Untersuchungen uber die Zimtlander. Erganzungs-heft No. 73 zu Petermanrfs Mitteilungen. Gotha 1883. p. 11.
6) Exodus, 30: 23 and 24. - Psalms, 45: 9. - Jeremiah, 6: 20. - Hesekiah, 27: 19. - Proverbs, 7: 17. - Song of Solomon, 4: 14. - Jesus Sirach, 24: 20 and 21. - Apocalypse, 18: 13.
As its geographical source, mythical countries are mentioned; also and this, no doubt, because of the customary commercial routes1) Arabia and Ethiopia.2) At the time of the Hebrews the commerce in cinnamon was largely in the hands of the Phoenicians.3) In order to guard their own interests, the Phoenician merchants did not correct these erroneous surmises and statements. Hence for centuries the real source of cassia remained undecided.
Both Greeks and Romans knew and used cinnamon. The Arabians introduced it into western Europe. From the 8. century on, it was a well known though costly spice. As such it is frequently mentioned among the presents given by princes to each other or to the pope.4) During the 12. and 13. centuries both Chinese and Ceylon cinnamon were common articles of the Levant trade5) and in the eastern ports of the Mediterranean. From the 15. century on, both were current articles in apothecary shops.6)
Later when the more expensive Ceylon cinnamon was also brought into the European market, the two kinds were frequently confounded. Garcia ab Orta in 1536 was the first to distinguish definitely between the two kinds.1) In the accounts of the Portuguese, who under Vasco da Gama touched at Ceylon in 1498, mention is made of cinnamon as one of the products of the island, without, however, regarding it as better than the Chinese cinnamon previously known to them.2) Even later most of the cinnamon that was imported over the water route via Ceylon into the ports of the Erythraean and Red seas, appears to have been Chinese cinnamon. Ceylon cinnamon was originally collected in the forests of the interior of the island. This product was in no way the equivalent of the present-day bark, obtained by rational pealing from improved plants. These improved methods of production appear to have been introduced toward the close of the 16. century.3) After the occupation of Ceylon by the Dutch in 1556, one of the governors greatly improved the cultivation of cinnamon. As a result they soon were in a position to supply the European market with a bark that was superior to the wild product.4) After the occupation of the island by the British in 1796, the cultivation of and commerce in cinnamon became the monopoly of the British East India Company. The monopoly lasted until 1833.5) This company levied an export duty and thus injured the Ceylon trade causing the Dutch to cultivate cinnamon in Java and Sumatra.
1) Historical introduction, p. 5.
2) Diimichen, Die Flotte einer agyptischen Konigin. 1868. - Dumicheii, Historische Inschriften. 1869. - Diimichen, Agypten in Onchens Allgemeiner Weltgeschichte. 1880. p. 100. - Herodoti Historiarum libri. Lib. 1, 107 and 110. Lib. 3, 110-112. - Theophrasti Historia plantarum. Lib. 9, 4 - 5.
- Arriani Anabasis. Lib. 7, 20 and 21. - Fragmenta historicorum graecorum. De mari Erythraeo. p. 97. - Dioscoridis, De medica materia libri quinque. Lib. 1, 12 and 13. Editio Kuhn-Sprengel 1829. Vol. 1, p. 23. - Plinii Naturalis historiae libri. Lib. 12, 41 - 43 and 46. - Periplus maris Erythraei. Editio Fabricius. 1883. pp. 47 and 51. - A. H. L. Heeren, Ideen uber die Politik, den Verkehr und den Handel der vornehmsten Volker der a/ten Welt. Gottingen 1796. Vol. 2, pp. 611 - 613. - Meyer, Geschichte der Botanik. Vol. 2, p. 86.
3) See pp. 5 and 6. - Lassen, Indische Altertumskunde. Bonn 1847. Vol. 1, p. 280.
4) Liber pontificus. Editio Duchesne. Paris 1886. Vol. 1, p. 177. - Pardessus, Diplomata chartae etc. Paris 1849. Vol. 2, p. 309. - Jaffe, Bib-liotheca rerum Germanicarum. 1886. Vol. 3, p. 218.
5) See p. 11.
6) Fr. Bald. Pegolotti, La pratica della mercatura. In Pagnini Delia decima e delle altre gravezze etc. Lisboa e Lucca. 1766. pp. 27, 44, 49, 64.
- Joh. de Garlandia, Dictionnaire. Editio Scheler in Lexigraphie latine du 12. et 13. siec/e. p. 28.
When in the course of the fifteenth century the distillation of aromatic waters for medicinal purposes became a common practice,6) cinnamon bark was undoubtedly distilled for the preparation of its water. The Canon St. Amando of Doornyk living toward the end of the 15. century seems to have been the first to isolate oil of cinnamon1) in addition to bitter almond oil and oil of rue, and several other volatile oils. Valerius Cordus had prepared the oil about 1540.-) At that time it may already have found application in medicine, so that it was included in the first edition of the Dispensatorium Nor/cum. Lonicer soon afterward distilled the oils from the spices, among them cinnamon oil, in a new peculiar apparatus.3) In the price ordinances cinnamon oil is first mentioned in that of Berlin of 1574, also in that of Frankfurt-o.-M. of 1582.
1) Garcias ab Horto, Colloquios dos simples e drogas he cousas medi-cinais da India etc. 1563. Editio F. A. von Varnhagen. 1872. p. 63. - Editio Clusius, Aromatum et simplicium aliquot medicamentoriorum apud Indos nascentium historia. Antverpiae 1593. p. 60.
2) Odoardo Barbosa in Ramusios Delle navigation/' et viaggi. 1554. Editio Hakluyt Society, London 1866. "East Indies."
3) Lettera di Filippo Sassetti a Francesco I. di Medici, Storia dei viaggia-tori italiani. Leghorn 1875. p. 367.
4) ). A. Murray, Apparatus medicaminum tarn simplicium quam pras-paratorum et compositorum. 1787. Vol. 4, p. 421. - Nees von Esenbeck, Amcenitates botanicae Bonnenses. 1823. Fasc. 1.
5) Sir James Emerson Tennent, Ceylon, an account of the island, physical, historical and topographical. 5th edit. London 1860. Vol. 2, p. 164.
6) See p. 39.
Winther of Andernach4) distilled and described the oil in 1570, and G. B. Porta in 1589.5)
The early observations made on cinnamon oil were restricted mainly to the crystalline deposit formed upon prolonged standing. Such crystal formations were observed (among others) by Ludovici0) about 1670, later by Slare in England,7) by Boer-haave8) and Gaubius9) in Holland. The latter regarded them as camphor; Du Menil10) and Stockmann11) supposed them to be benzoic acid, Dumas and Peligot12) in 1831 recognized them to be cinnamic acid. C. Bertagnini prepared pure cinnamic aldehyde in 1852.13)
1) See p. 33.
'-) Valerius Cordus, De artificiosis extraction/bus fiber. Edit. Gesner. Argentator. 1561. fol. 226.
3) See the next chapter.
4) Guintheri Andernacei Liber de veteri et nova medicina. Basilia; 1571. pp. 630-635.
5) G. B. della Porta, Liber de destillatione. Romas 1563. fol. 75.
6) Ephemerides medico-physicas Academiae naturalis, Curiosorum ob-servationes 145. p. 378.
7) Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Vol. 3 (1686), p. 362.
8) Boerhaave, Elementa chemise etc. Lugduni Batavorum 1732. Vol. 1, p. 106. - Vol. 2, pp. 114 and 121.
9) Gaubii Adversariorum varii argument/' liber units. Leydas 1771. p. 29.
10) Buchner's Repertor. der Pharmacie 5 (1819), 1. - Schweigger's Journal fur Chemie und Physik 21 (1819), 224.
11) Trommsdorff's Neues Journ. der Pharm. 14 (1827), 237.
12) Annal. de Chim. et Phys. II. 57 (1834), 305. - Liebig's Annalen 14 (1835), 50.
13) Liebig's Annalen 85 (1853), 271.
The yield of volatile oil from cassia and cinnamon barks was determined by the following observers: G. W. Wedel1) in 1707; Friedr. Cartheuser,2) Caspar Neumann3) and Phil. F. Gmelin4) in 1763; ). F. A. Goettling5) about 1803; by Dehne6) about the same time; also by Buchholz7) in 1813.