Cinnamon: Ten Fun Facts

The fragrant spice has been used for far more than baking over the years (think embalming). But it's still delicious in our Cinnamon Orange Glazed Chicken Breasts.

Reviewed by Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD on November 04, 2010
From the WebMD Archives

Cinnamon comes from:
Cinnamon sticks, also called "quills," are the dried bark of an evergreen tree.

Types of cinnamon:
There are two main types of cinnamon: Cassia (Chinese) and Ceylon, the sweeter variety.

World's largest producer of cinnamon:
Sri Lanka.

Strangest use of cinnamon:
Cinnamon was used as an embalming agent in ancient Egypt.

Saddest use of cinnamon:
To show his remorse for killing his wife, Roman Emperor Nero ordered that a year's supply of cinnamon be burned at her funeral.

The price of cinnamon:
In Roman times, cinnamon was very valuable, perhaps up to more than 15 times more costly than silver.

Cinnamon wars:
The high demand for cinnamon started a war in the 17th century between the Dutch and the Portuguese over the island of Ceylon -- where much of the pungent spice is grown.

Nutritional benefits of cinnamon:
One teaspoon of ground cinnamon contains 1.4 grams of fiber. The spice is also a good source of calcium and iron.


More nutritional benefits of cinnamon:
According to preliminary research, up to a teaspoon of cinnamon with food can reduce blood sugar levels.

Cinnamon bug spray:
Cinnamon and other strong-smelling spices have been used to repel ants.

Cinnamon Orange Glazed Chicken Breasts

Makes 4 servings


cooking spray
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1 tbsp light, unsalted butter
1 tbsp all-purpose whole wheat flour
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup low-sodium chicken stock
½ cup orange juice
½ tsp dried tarragon
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp salt
1 orange, sliced


1. Preheat oven to 375º.
2. Spray medium-size skillet with cooking spray, and heat to medium-high heat.
3. Add chicken and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes per side.
4. Transfer chicken into a shallow baking dish coated with cooking spray.
5. Add butter, flour, and cinnamon to skillet until melted and combined. Slowly add chicken stock and orange juice and cook until thickened. Season with tarragon, salt, and pepper.
6. Pour sauce over chicken; arrange orange slices on top.
7. Bake chicken breasts in preheated oven until done, about 20 to 30 minutes or when meat thermometer reaches 165º.
8. Serve chicken and sauce over brown rice.


Per serving: 191 calories, 29 g protein, 10 g carbohydrate, 4 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 72 mg cholesterol, 1 g fiber, 6 g sugar, and 172 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 17%.

WebMD Magazine - Feature


Encyclopedia Britannica: "Cinnamon."
The World's Healthiest Foods: "Cinnamon, ground."
U.S. Mission to Sri Lanka and Maldives.
University of Illinois, Spurlock Museum: "Egyptian Mummifcation."
Vegetarian-Nutrition Info: "Cinnamon - Health Benefits."
Weiss, E. Spice Crops, CABI: 2002.
Ring, T., et al. International Dictionary of Historic Places: Asia and Oceania, Taylor & Francis, 1996.
NutritionData: "Spices, cinnamon, ground."
Hlebowicz, J. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, June 2007; Vol. 85: pp. 1552-1556.


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