[Heb., qin·na·mohnʹ; Gr., kin·naʹmo·mon].
The cinnamon tree (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) is part of the laurel family, to which both the cassia and the camphor trees belong. It grows best in light, sandy, moist soil and is abundant in Sri Lanka and Java. The Hebrew name is possibly of foreign origin, and the product seems to have been an import into the Promised Land.
The cinnamon grows to a maximum height of about 9 m (30 ft) and has a smooth, ash-colored bark and wide-spreading branches. The lancehead-shaped evergreen leaves are green on top but white on the bottom and measure about 20 to 23 cm (8 to 9 in.) in length and about 5 cm (2 in.) in width. Its small, white or yellowish flowers grow in clusters. The outer bark is almost odorless and of little value. The commercial cinnamon is obtained from the darker inner bark. An aromatic oil is also extracted from the bark.
Cinnamon was used in the preparation of the holy anointing oil as one of “the choicest perfumes.” (Ex 30:23) It was sprinkled on beds (Pr 7:17), was figuratively used in describing the beloved Shulammite girl (Ca 4:13, 14), and is included among the products the traveling merchants sell to “Babylon the Great” before her destruction.—Re 18:2, 11-13.