There are more than 600 species of trees, shrubs, and herbs in the genus Cassia, which belongs to the family Fabaceae. These plants are endemic to tropical and subtropical areas, and many species are used for food, medicine, and colouring.
Cassia fistula, often called the “golden shower tree,” is one such species that is commonly used as an ornamental plant in tropical locations owing to its beautiful blooms and leaves.
Cassia is a common seasoning in Asian cooking. Cassia tree bark is used in its production; this tree may be found in China and other regions of Asia. While visually similar to cinnamon, cassia’s flavour and scent are far more potent. Cassia is an excellent supplier of a number of vital elements.
Cassia is a great source of fibre, which is a very important nutrient. Around 1 gramme of dietary fibre may be found in a single teaspoon of cassia. Constipation is avoided and the risk of chronic illnesses like heart disease and diabetes is decreased by eating a diet high in fibre. Other vital elements, such as iron, calcium, and magnesium, can be found in trace levels in cassia.
Cassia is an excellent source of fibre, and its other unique qualities may also have positive effects on health. Cinnamaldehydes, which are found in cassia, have been demonstrated to have anti-inflammatory effects. Inflammation is associated to a host of health issues, including arthritis, heart disease, and cancer; eating cassia may help lower this inflammation.
It has been claimed by some research that cassia may have blood sugar-lowering effects, which would be helpful for those with diabetes or who are at risk for developing the disease.
Cassia may have some positive health effects, but it’s vital to avoid taking in too much of it. In large doses, coumarin, a chemical found in cassia, can cause liver damage and other health issues. Consequently, individuals shouldn’t consume more than 1–2 tablespoons of cassia every day. Cassia should not be used in place of proper medical care or a balanced diet and lifestyle.
The use of cassia dates back thousands of years. It has been used in traditional medicine in various cultures, including Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine. Cassia was also used in ancient Egypt as a perfume and as an ingredient in embalming.
The ancient Greeks and Romans used cassia as a flavoring agent in their food and drinks. In fact, the name “cassia” is derived from the Greek word “kasia,” which means “to shine” and refers to the plant’s aromatic bark.
Cassia was also an important trade commodity in the ancient world. Arab traders introduced cassia to Europe, where it was highly valued for its medicinal and culinary properties. During the Middle Ages, cassia was one of the most important spices in Europe, along with black pepper and ginger.
Today, cassia is still widely used in traditional medicine and is also a popular spice in cooking, particularly in Asian cuisine. Cassia bark is often used as a substitute for cinnamon, although the two spices come from different trees.
The history of cassia dates back thousands of years, with its use in traditional medicine, cuisine, and trade spanning cultures and continents. It continues to be an important plant in many parts of the world today.
Here are some of the potential health benefits of cassia:
- Anti-inflammatory effects: Cassia contains compounds that have been shown to have anti-inflammatory effects, which may help reduce inflammation in the body.
- Digestive health: Cassia has been traditionally used to treat digestive problems such as bloating, constipation, and diarrhea. It is thought to help improve digestion and promote bowel regularity.
- Blood sugar control: Cassia has been shown to have a hypoglycemic effect, which means it may help lower blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. However, more research is needed to confirm this effect.
- Antioxidant properties: Cassia contains antioxidants, which can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals.
- Anti-microbial properties: Cassia has been shown to have anti-microbial properties, which may help fight off infections.
- Respiratory health: Cassia has been traditionally used to treat respiratory problems such as coughs and colds. It is thought to have a warming effect on the body and help loosen mucus in the lungs.
- Look for high-quality cassia that is fresh and aromatic.
- Choose whole cassia bark over pre-ground cassia, as the whole bark tends to be fresher and more flavorful.
- Check the color of the cassia bark. It should be reddish-brown, with a slightly rough texture. Avoid cassia that is too dark or too light in color.
- Store cassia in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, away from direct sunlight.
- Whole cassia bark can be stored for up to two years, while ground cassia should be used within six months to a year.
- Check the aroma and flavor of the cassia periodically. If it starts to lose its fragrance, it may be time to replace it.
1 cup Basmati Rice
2 tbsp Ghee
1 Cassia stick
1 Onion, thinly sliced
2 Green chilies, slit
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp Cumin seeds
2 cups Water
Salt, to taste
Coriander leaves, chopped for garnish
- Wash the rice and soak it in water for 30 minutes. Drain and keep it aside.
- Heat ghee in a pan and add cassia, onion, green chilies, garlic, and cumin seeds. Sauté for a few minutes until the onion turns golden brown.
- Add the drained rice and fry for a few minutes until the rice turns slightly golden brown.
- Add water and salt. Mix well and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat, cover the pan with a lid and let it cook until the water is absorbed and the rice is cooked.
- Remove the lid, fluff the rice with a fork and garnish with chopped coriander leaves.
- Serve hot with your favorite curry.
1.5 cups Water
1 cup Milk
2 tbsp Tea leaves
1 Cassia stick
3-4 Cardamom pods, crushed
2 inch Ginger piece, grated
Sugar, to taste
- Add water, cassia stick, cardamom, and ginger to a pot and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 5-10 minutes until the water turns aromatic.
- Add the tea leaves and let it boil for a minute.
- Add milk and sugar to the pot and let it simmer for a few minutes until it comes to a boil.
- Strain the tea and discard the spices and tea leaves.
- Serve hot with your favorite snacks.