Cinnamon oil

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An essential oil with a spicy smell. Cinnamon is extracted from leaves of malabathrum trees (Cinnamomum verum) native to India and the inner bark of the cinnamon laurel (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) tree native to Sri Lanka. Cinnamon contains from 0.5 to 1 percent oil, which is primarily composed of cinnamic aldehyde. The oil is used in food, candy, liqueurs, perfumes, drugs, soaps, and as a larvicide for mosquitos. In classical times, oils with similar spicy smells were also called cinnamon oil, such as those extracted from the Cassia trees (Cinnamomum cassia) native to China and the African camphor tree (Ocotea usumarensis) native to east Africa and used in ancient Egypt (Serpico and White 2000).

See also storax, and Benzoin.

Synonyms and Related Terms

Cinnamomum verum; Cinnamomum zeylanicum; esencia de canela (Esp.); olio di cannella (It.); cinnamic aldehyde; cinnamaldehyde; cassia oil

Physical and Chemical Properties

Slightly soluble in water

Density 1.048-1.052 g/ml
Refractive Index 1.618-1.623

Resources and Citations

  • M.Serpico, R.White, "Oil, fat and wax" in Ancient Egyptian Materials and Technology, P.Nicholson, I.Shaw (eds.), Cambridge University Press, 2000, p. 390-429.
  • Richard S. Lewis, Hawley's Condensed Chemical Dictionary, Van Nostrand Reinhold, New York, 10th ed., 1993
  • C&E News Aug 9, 2004 - used as larvicide against mosquitos.
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998

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