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Cinnamomum cassia

Cinnamomum cassia

[span class=alert]In regards to the Traditional Use and Therapeutic Action sections of Essential Oils, the oils are rated as is standard practice in the French school of aromatherapy and others. The ratings ranked from one (+) to four (++++) with four indicating the highest value, indicate the oil’s therapeutic value from a practicing clinician’s point of view. The French rating system mentioned are obtained from this book reference entitle ‘Les Cahiers Pratiques D'Aromatherapie Selon L'Ecole Francaise’ (Authors: Francine Baudry, Pascal Debauche & Dominique Baudoux). However, further clarification might be required and will be updated once additional information of the rating system is obtained.[/span]

Family Name


Genus Name


Vernacular Name

Cassia, rou gui, false cinnamon, chinese cinnamon

Original Habitat

Cultivated in Vietnam and China and somewhat in Java. The aromatic bark of this tree has been used since early times as spice, for fumigation and medicinal purposes. The tall, slender evergreen grows up to 20 metres in height bearing fruits or Cassia buds. In addition to uses listed herein, it is grown as a shade tree.[1]

Plant Part Used

Bark and sometimes twigs and leaves.


C. cassia is used in foods in products such as liqueurs and flavourings. It is sometimes used in perfumes, but less often due to its colouring. It is also regularly used in therapeutic aromatherapy products.


Cassia oil is obtained by steam distillation of the bark and sometimes twigs and leaves. The oil is thin in consistency and dark brown-red colour. It has a spicy aroma consistent with that of cinnamon and a similar warm note.[2]

Chemical Constituents

Cassia oil is often adulterated with synthetic cinnamaldehyde.[3]

Phenols (6%)
Isoeugenol (2%)
Aromatic aldehyde
Cinnamaldehyde (75-85%)
Benzaldehyde (4%)
Coumarins (8%) [4][5][6][7]

Medicinal Uses

Antibacterial with a wide range of uses ++++
Antiviral +++
Fungicidal +++
Paraciticidal +++
Antimutagen (bacteria) ++++
Sympaticotonic +++
General stimulant +
Provokes warming +++
Anticoagulant, fluidifier ++ [3][8]

Traditional Use

Dysentery, spasmodic and infectious enterocolites ++++
Typhoid fever, tropical infections and fevers ++++
Amebiases, amoebic cysts ++++
Urinary colibacillosis, bacterial cystitis ++++
Leucorrhoea, vaginitis, oligomenorrheas +++
Bronchitis, pleurisy ++
Drowsiness, asthenia, depression +
Male functional impotence +
Blood clots, cardiovascular ++ [3]

Cinnamomum cassia has a history of use as an effective insecticide [9][10] and an even older use as an embalming agent in the mummification process in ancient Egypt.[11]

Contraindications and Precautions

The safety of Cassia oil is suspect and should not be used without a trained professional.  Cinnamon oil would be an adequate substitute.[3]

This essential oil is dermocaustic. Do not apply it in its pure form directly onto the skin. Not to be administered on children nor should its aroma be used around babies as there have been reports of severe toxicity.[3]

Only suitable for cutaneous application when diluted to 20% in an adequate excipient such as vegetable oil, gel, lotion, or cream.

While there remains a debate as to the safety of Cinnamomum cassia during pregnancy and lactation, it is advisable to avoid use or to consult a healthcare practitioner prior to using.[12]

A potential/theoretical interaction with tetracycline and similar drugs is suspected as Cinnamomum cassia may slow the absorption of the drug.[8]

A major component of Cassia, cinnamaldehyde, has shown to deplete glutathione in animal studies.[9] However in most instances, Cassia would not be used for more than two to three days



[span class=alert]Keep out of reach of children as oils are highly concentrated.Essential oils are irritating to the eyes.  Avoid contact with eye area.Always dilute essential oils with carrier oil, lotion, cream or gel even when using in diffuser or bath.Essential oils are sometimes prescribed to be used internally, but should only be used internally under professional supervision.[/span]


1.     Duong NV. Medicinal plants of Vietnam. Cambodia and Laos: Self Publ; 1993;528.

2.     Bauer K, Garbe D, Surburg H. Common fragrance and flavor materials. Germany: Wiley-VCH; 1997.

3.     Lis-Balchin M. Aromatherapy science. Great Britain: Pharmaceutical Press; 2006.

4.     Liu L, Liu NY, Liu Q. Analysis on the chemical compositions of the volatile oil from ultramicro-powder and common grinding powder of Cinnamomum cassia. Zhong Yao Cai. 2008 Mar;31(3):379-381.

5.     Su S, Hua Y, Duan JA, Shang E, Tang Y, Bao X, Lu Y, Ding A. Hypothesis of active components in volatile oil from a Chinese herb formulation, 'Shao-Fu-Zhu-Yu decoction', using GC-MS and chemometrics. J Sep Sci. 2008 Apr;31(6-7):1085-1091.

6.     Giordani R, Regli P, Kaloustian J, Portugal H. Potentiation of antifungal activity of amphotericin B by essential oil from Cinnamomum cassia. Phytother Res. 2006 Jan;20(1):58-61.

7.     Choi J, Lee KT, Ka H, Jung WT, Jung HJ, Park HJ. Constituents of the essential oil of the Cinnamomum cassia stem bark and the biological properties. Arch Pharm Res. 2001 Oct;24(5):418-423.

8.     Ooi LS, Li Y, Kam SL, Wang H, Wong EY, Ooi VE. Antimicrobial activities of cinnamon oil and cinnamaldehyde from the Chinese medicinal herb Cinnamomum cassia Blume. Am J Chin Med. 2006;34(3):511-522.

9.     Lee EJ, Kim JR, Choi DR, Ahn YJ. Toxicity of cassia and cinnamon oil compounds and cinnamaldehyde-related compounds to Sitophilus oryzae (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). J Econ Entomol. 2008 Dec;101(6):1960-1966.

10.  Kim SI, Kim HK, Koh YY, Clark JM, Ahn YJ. Toxicity of spray and fumigant products containing cassia oil to Dermatophagoides farinae and Dermatophagoides pteronyssinus (Acari: Pyroglyphidae). Pest Manag Sci. 2006 Aug;62(8):768-774.

11.  Buckley SA, Evershed RP. Organic chemistry of embalming agents in Pharaonic and Graeco-Roman mummies. Nature. 2001 Oct 25;413(6858):837-841.

12.  Mcguffin et al. Botanical safety handbook. Boca Raton:CRC Press; 1997.

13.  Tisserand R. Essential oil safety: a guide for health care professionals. Scotland: Churchill Livingstone; 1995.

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