1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Cassia

CASSIA (Lat. cassia, Gr. κασία), the aromatic bark derived from Cinnamomum cassia. The greater part of the supply coming from China, it is sometimes termed Chinese cinnamon. The bark is much thicker than that of true cinnamon; the taste is more pungent and the flavour less delicate, though somewhat similar to that of cinnamon. The properties of cassia bark depend on the presence of a volatile oil—the oil of cassia, which is imported in a fairly pure state as an article of commerce from Canton. Cassia bark is in much more extensive demand on the continent of Europe than in Great Britain, being preferred to cinnamon by southern nations. The chief use of both the oil and bark is for flavouring liqueurs and chocolate, and in cooking generally. When ground as a spice it is difficult to distinguish cassia from cinnamon (q.v.), and it is a common practice to substitute the cheap common spice for the more valuable article. Cassia Buds, which have a pleasing cinnamon flavour, are believed to be the immature fruits of the tree which yields Chinese cinnamon. They are brought in considerable quantities from Canton, and used as a spice and in confectionery. Cassia pulp, used as a laxative, is obtained from the pods of Cassia fistula, or pudding pipe tree, a native of Africa which is cultivated in both the East and West Indies. Some confusion occasionally arises from the fact that Cassia is the generic name of an extensive genus of leguminous plants, which, in addition to various other medicinal products, is the source of the senna leaves which form an important article of materia medica.