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ΚΑΣΣΙΑ

Η κασσία είναι ένα βότανο γνωστό από την αρχαιότητα. Αναφέρεται από τον Ηρόδοτο και τον  Θεόφραστο. Είναι ένα από τα 147 βότανα τα οποία  χρησιμοποιούσε ο Ιπποκράτης  για να θεραπεύσει διάφορες παθήσεις. Οι γνωστότερες φαρμακολογικές ιδιότητες της κασσίας είναι η μείωση του λίπους, με την αύξηση των καύσεων του λιπώδους ιστού, και η αύξηση του μεταβολισμού των σακχάρων. 

Ονομασία - Είδη

Η Κασσία ή Κιννάμωμον (Cinnamomum cassia), γνωστό και με ευρεία χρήση στην Αρχαία Ελλάδα, είναι ένα δενδρώδες φυτό που καλλιεργείται στη Ν. Ασία αλλά και ευρέως αλλού. Είναι ένα από τα πολλά είδη του γένους Κιννάμωμον (Cinnamomum) που χρησιμοποιείται κυρίως για τον αρωματικό του φλοιό και για φαρμακευτικές χρήσεις.

Τα κυριότερα είδη κασσίας είναι: Cinnamomumcassia, το πιο κοινό είδος, Cinnamomumverum, Cinnamomumzeylanicum, Cinnamomumburmannii και Cinnamomumloureiroi.

Η αγγλική λέξη cinnamon που βεβαιώνεται στα αγγλικά από τον 15ο αιώνα, προέρχεται από το Αρχαίο Ελληνικό «κιννάμωμον», μέσω των ενδιάμεσων μορφών των Λατινικών και των Μεσαιωνικών Γαλλικών.

Cinnamon Cassia

Βοτανική Περιγραφή

Η κασσία είναι φυτό δενδρώδες, από τα πιο αρχαία φυτά που υπήρχαν στον κόσμο. Ανήκει στα Mongoliophyta, στην οικογένεια των Δαφνωδών ή Lauraceae. Περιλαμβάνει περισσότερα από 300 είδη φυτών. Είναι δένδρο αειθαλές και ο φλοιός του κορμού σκληρός και γκριζωπός. 

Τα φύλλα του είναι πράσινα γυαλιστερά, σχήματος οβάλ, με έντονες νευρώσεις και έχουν πιο έντονο χρώμα στην πάνω μεριά από ότι στην κάτω. Ο μίσχος των φύλλων είναι 1-2 εκατοστά μακρύς, έχει αυλακώσεις στην ανώτερη επιφάνεια του. Τα νεαρότερα φύλλα έχουν κόκκινο χρώμα.

Τα άνθη της κασσίας είναι μασχαλιαία και στο άκρο του κλαδίσκου σχηματίζουν φόβη. Ο ποδίσκος είναι κρεμμώδους χρώματος, ελαφρώς τριχωτός, 5-7 εκατοστά μακρύς. Το κάθε λουλούδι είναι πολύ μικρό διαμέτρου 3χιλιοστά, ωχρο-κίτρινο, με όχι ευχάριστο άρωμα.

Ο καρπός της κασσίας είναι μαύρος, ωοειδής, σαρκώδης 1,5-2 εκατοστά μήκους σε πλήρη ωρίμανση με διευρυμένο κάλυκα στη βάση και περιέχει ένα σπόρο. Είναι παρόμοιος σε μέγεθος με μια μικρή ελιά.

Η κασσία που χρησιμοποιούμε είναι ένα λεπτό στρώμα του εσωτερικού του φλοιού του δέντρου που την παράγει. Ο φλοιός αφαιρείται από τον κορμό και στη συνέχεια αποξύνεται ώστε να αφαιρεθεί το εξωτερικό του μέρος και να μείνει μια φλούδα πάχους 0,5 χιλιοστών. Κόβεται σε λωρίδες οι οποίες αφήνονται να στεγνώσουν. Η συγκομιδή του φλοιού προτιμάται να γίνεται μετά από βροχόπτωση οπότε αποκολλάται ευκολότερα. Η εποχή συγκομιδής είναι μεταξύ Σεπτεμβρίου και Νοεμβρίου. 

Cinnamomum Verum

Ιστορία

Η κασσία είναι ένα βότανο γνωστό από την αρχαιότητα. Η πρώτη ελληνική αναφορά στην κασσία βρίσκεται κατά τον 7ο αιώνα π.Χ., σε ένα ποίημα της Σαπφούς. Ο Ηρόδοτος αναφέρει  συγγραφείς που πίστευαν ότι η πηγή της κασσίας ήταν η πατρίδα του Διονύσου, που βρισκόταν κάπου ανατολικώς ή νοτίως της Ελλάδος, ενώ ο Θεόφραστος δίνει μια πολύ καλή περιγραφή του φυτού . Η κασσία είναι ένα από τα 147 βότανα τα οποία χρησιμοποιούσε περισσότερο ο Ιπποκράτης (εκατόν σαράντα επτά φυτικές δρόγες) για να θεραπεύσει διάφορες παθήσεις.

Cinnamon cassia (αποφλοίωση)

Cinnamon cassia (αποφλοίωση)

Φαρμακολογικές Ιδιότητες

Οι σημαντικότερες φαρμακολογικές δράσεις εκχυλίσματος της κασσίας είναι η θερμογένεση και η μείωση των επιπέδων σακχάρων ώστε να μειώνεται η απόθεση λίπους.

Η σιναμοαλδεΰδη, η ουσία που δίνει στην κασσία το άρωμα και τη γεύση της, αυξάνει τη θερμογένεση μέσω της οποίας  ενεργοποιείται  ο μεταβολισμός (καύση) των λιπών του λιπώδους ιστού.

Η κασσία αυξάνει  τα επίπεδα ινσουλίνης τα οποία μειώνουν τα επίπεδα σακχάρου στο αίμα - που προκαλούν αποθήκευση λίπους -, με τη μείωση της μεταγευματικής γλυκόζης και την καθυστέρηση στην εκκένωση του πεπτικού σωλήνα. Η αύξηση αυτή της ινσουλίνης δεν επηρεάζει το αίσθημα πληρότητας, δηλαδή δεν δημιουργεί αίσθημα πείνας. 

Επιβοηθητικά, η κασσία με τις αντιοξειδωτικές και αντιφλεγμονώδεις ιδιότητες που έχει συνεισφέρει  στην καλύτερη λειτουργία του οργανισμού συμπεριλαμβανομένου και του μεταβολισμού.

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