Of Asian origin, cinnamon hides a number of benefits for our body. The unpretentious spice is extracted from the inner bark of the tree known scientifically as cinnamomum. There are two types of cinnamon. One of them is Ceylon cinnamon, also known as "real" cinnamon. The other type of cinnamon is cinnamon-cassia, the most commonly found variety, which people generally call "cinnamon". Cinnamon is extracted from chips that dry and form strips that curl, better known as "cinnamon sticks". But the chips can also be ground to form powdered cinnamon. The smell and taste of cinnamon is due to its oily part, which concentrates a compound called cinnamaldehyde. This compound is responsible for most of the powerful health effects of cinnamon. Some of them are: speeds up metabolism, and the spice richer in antioxidants (which protect the body against oxidative damage caused by free radicals), has anti-inflammatory properties, combats fungi and bacteria, relieves menstrual discomfort, etc. Is it better to use real cinnamon or cassia? Well, not all cinnamon is grown the same. The cassia variety (the most common in the markets) contains significant amounts of a compound called coumarin (believed to be harmful in large doses). However, all cinnamon has health benefits, but cassia can cause problems in large doses due to the content of coumarin. Real cinnamon (Ceylon cinnamon) is much better in this regard, since, according to studies, it has less coumarin than cinnamon-cassia. Unfortunately, most of the cinnamon found in supermarkets is the cassia variety, which is cheaper.