Dried and ground ready for your cooking and baking. This incredible leaf packs a punch and really can just substitute your normal cinnamon.
Cinnamon Myrtle (Backhousia myrtifolia) is a lovely rainforest tree that has cream flowers and cinnamon-scented leaves. While you will probably buy it in dried leaf form, all you need to do is grind it in spice grinder and keep it in an airtight jar. Use it in the place of traditional cinnamon wherever you can, through use a little less as it's much stronger in flavour.
◎ Common Name: Cinnamon Myrtle
◎ Scientific or Latin Name: Backhousia myrtifolia
◎ Seasonality: All year dried
◎ Region: Rainforest
◎ Taste Profile: It is popular among culinary circles for the flavour it imparts. The aroma and flavour is similar to cinnamon, with the slightly unusual bubblegum flavour intertwined.
◎ Types: We offer Cinnamon Myrtle as a whole leaf spice, dried and ground - perfect for cooking and ready to use. It can also be used fresh or dried, steeped in hot water, to make a herbal tea.
- Cinnamon Myrtle makes a calming medicinal tea useful for dyspepsia, heartburn, colic and the digestive system.
- The essential oil that is found in this plant is elemicin.
- The main essential oil isolated in cinnamon myrtle is elemicin, which is also a significant flavouring component in common nutmeg.
- Leaves can be crushed and rubbed on skin as an insect repellant.
Traditional Aboriginal Food and Uses
Myrtaceae makes up 60% of Australian forest species. The powerful flavour was harvested by both indigenous peoples and later by colonists. The nutrient filled leaves were crushed and applied topically, and added to cooking for people living in the region.
The wood is very tough and was used for tool handles, mallets, by early settlers and was used in similar fashion by Aboriginal people for their various implements.
Western & Modern
Cinnamon Myrtle leaves may be used in place of conventional cinnamon spice. A wonderfully earthy flavour, it adds an intense flavour in curries, stews and middle-eastern dishes. It's gentle aromatic profile is considered spice-like incorporating those such as cinnamon and nutmeg with undernotes of pepper and paprika.
Most commonly added to baked goods, it adds a warm, earthy flavour to pies, biscuits, sweets, pastries and slices. It is delicious in mulled wine due to this, and is an even better addition to traditional sangria recipes.
In fact, due the dynamic nature of the flavour it can be found in warm beverages such as herbal teas, and going as far as being extracted for the essential oils which are then further added to moisturisers and other skin products.
First discovered and subsequently used by the indigenous communities of Australia, this plant produces oils that have a cinnamon-like aroma, and display both anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. Therefore, it has potential applications as not only in food preparation, but also in the medical field as a treatment option for the following:
- Microbial infections
- Healthy gut digestion
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Cinnamon Myrtle is featured in this recipe in Warndu Mai:
Warndu Products featuring Cinnamon Myrtle
Note: The term 'Bush Tucker' and 'Bush Food' are not Warndu's preferred terms for Australian Native Ingredients or Australian Botanicals.
Images: © Luisa Brimble