Cinnamomum verum is a tree belonging to the Lauraceae family - the bark of the tree is what is used as a spice.
Cinnamon was once so highly-prized that wars were fought over it, it was used as currency, and it was believed it has aphrodisiacal powers.
The pungent aroma of cinnamon is unmistakable, usually evoking dreams of hot cinnamon rolls from the oven. Cinnamon gets is aroma and flavor from a chemical compound called cinnamaldehyde.
Cinnamon has many health benefits. It has shown promise in the treatment of diabetes, arthritis, high cholesterol, memory function, and even leukemia and lymphoma.
In traditional medicine, cinnamon has been used for digestive ailments such as indigestion, gas and bloating, stomach upset, and diarrhea. More recently medical research has turned its eye on cinnamon and is coming up with some intriguing results. It has a mild anti-inflammatory effect. It also slows the spoiling of food (which is probably related to why it was used as an embalming agent in ancient Egypt), and has anti-fungal properties as well.