Cassia Vera is the aromatic bark of the plant Cinnamomum burmannii, better known as Indonesian cinnamon. Cassia is an evergreen plant up to 7 meters high with aromatic bark, smooth branches and shiny, leafy leaves that grows in South Asia and Indonesia. Small yellow flowers bloom in early summer and produce large brown drupes.
When the Cassia Vera tree is 2 years old, that bark begins peeling off of the stem and is then cut into woody reddish sticks. The sticks are then dried and prepared for further processing if necessary. Although similar to cinnamon, Cassia Vera differs in strength and quality.
Cassia Vera contains Cinnamaldehyde essential oil, which is a natural remedy for pain, depression, inflammation, viral infections, but unlike cinnamon, it does not contain eugenol.
Its use dates back as far as 2700 BC, when Chinese healers used it as a cure for fevers and menstrual pain. Ayurvedic healers from India have also used Cassia Vera to treat various ailments. It arrived in Egypt 500 years BC where they used it as an additive in embalming mixtures. The Greeks and Romans were the first to use Cassia as a spice in the kitchen, while it expanded to the rest of European cuisine by the 17th century. The Bible mentions that Cassia Vera was used as a substitute for thyme, and that the fat contained in the fruits of the plant was used to make candles.
Today it is widely used as a spice, especially in the culinary and catering industries. There are many recipes for making ice cream, chicken or cocktails using Cassia Vera. It is also used for making men's cosmetics and perfumes. Cassia Vera is most commonly used in the catering industry during the autumn and winter seasons for hot cocktails, teas, punches, mulled/spiced wines and it is usually combined with apples, pears, almonds, chocolate, coffee and oranges.