This ancient spice is a popular flavoring in many cuisines, and is especially noted for its delectable aroma. There are many species of cinnamon, but Chinese cinnamomum trees, evergreens native to China and Vietnam and now cultivated in many parts of Asia, are the source for medicinal cinnamon bark remedies used in Chinese, Indian, and Western traditional medicine. A close relative, cassia, is often used interchangeably with cinnamon. Its name comes from the Greek word kassia, meaning "strip off the bark." Medicinal use of cinnamon bark was first recorded in Chinese formularies as early as 2700 B.C. The herb has been used as a healing aid for stomach upset and gas, diarrhea, rheumatism, kidney ailments, and abdominal pain. Cinnamon "drops" containing the essential oils of cinnamon and cassia are also used for many of the same purposes. Possibly because Chinese cinnamon has antiseptic properties, the bark and the essential oils it contains are also used in topical products such as liniments, soaps, and lotions, and in oral preparations such as toothpaste and mouthwash. Cinnamon comes in â€˜quillsâ€™, strips of bark rolled one in another. The pale brown to tan bar strips are generally thin, the spongy outer bark having been scraped off. The best varieties are pale and parchment-like in appearance. Cinnamon is very similar to cassia, and in North America little distinction is given, though cassia tends to dominate the market. Cinnamon is also available ground, and can be distinguished from cassia by its lighter colour and much finer powder. Extract The distilled or evaporated oils of foods or plants (such as nuts, seeds, fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, bark, buds, roots, leaves, meat, poultry, seafood, fish, dairy foods, or eggs) that are dissolved in an alcohol base or allowed to dry to be used as a flavoring. Food extracts as they are often labeled, are used to add a concentrated flavor to many food dishes, especially baked goods and desserts, without adding additional volume. Available in solid (cubes, granules or powdered), liquid or jelled form, extracts may be labeled as pure, natural or artificial. Pure and natural extracts are governed by laws in many countries that require compliance with procedures that take the extract ingredients directly from the named flavor, such as extracting oils directly from the vanilla bean to make pure or natural vanilla extract. Artificial extracts are flavors that do not necessarily use any ingredients directly from a source named for the extract but instead used combinations of ingredients to arrive at a flavor representative of the named food extract, such as artificial lemon extract. Some of the most widely used extracts include vanilla, almond, anise, maple, peppermint, and numerous solid or jelled extracts such as beef and chicken bouillon or meat demi-glaces. As an example of how the pure and natural extract is made, vanilla extract is created by soaking vanilla beans in water and an alcohol-based solution where it ages for several months, during which time the vanilla flavor is extracted from the bean. Anise extract, a sweet licorice tasting flavoring, is produced by dissolving the oil of anise seeds into alcohol. Grape extract is produced to assist with the wine making process. Compounds from the skin of grapes are extracted and added to the wine in order to impart tannin, color, and body into a wine. The characteristics of the wine can be changed dramatically by the amount of time the wine is in contact with the skins. If the grapes are in contact for too long, the resulting wine may be too potent, or what is sometimes called â€œover-extractedâ€�. Juices of fruits and vegetables are often extracted as juice extracts to be used similar to other food extracts, as a flavoring when preparing foods. A common utensil for the purpose of extracting lemon juice is available to assist with home recipes requiring a lemon flavoring.