What is Cinnamon?
Cinnamon is a powerful spice that has been used medicinally around the world for thousands of years. It is still used daily in many cultures because of its widespread health benefits, not to mention its distinctly sweet, warming taste and ease of use in recipes.
According to researchers, out of twenty-six of the most popular herbs and medicinal spices in the world, cinnamon actually ranks #1 in terms of its protective antioxidant levels! Cinnamon has numerous health benefits that are attributed to the type of antioxidants called polyphenols, phenolic acid and flavonoids. Cinnamon helps in pain management, heart health, brain health, skin health among others.
The unique smell, color and flavor of cinnamon is due to the oily part of the tree that it grows from. The health benefits of cinnamon come from the bark of the Cinnamomum verum (Cinnamomum zeylanicum) tree. The Cinnamomum verum tree can also be synonimously referred to as a Cinnamomum zeylanicum. These scientific terms simply refer to a true cinnamon tree. This bark contains several special compounds which are responsible for its many health-promoting properties, including cinnamaldehyde, cinnamic acid and cinnamate.
Researchers have concluded that cinnamon health benefits can be obtained in the form of its pure bark, essential oils, in ground spice form (which is bark powder) or in extract form when its special phenolic compounds, flavonoids and antioxidants are isolated. These compounds make cinnamon one of the most beneficial spices on earth, giving it antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, anti-microbial, immunity-boosting and potential cancer and heart disease-protecting abilities.
History of Cinnamon
Cinnamon has been harvested from the inner bark of trees called Cinnamomum trees for thousands of years. The use of cinnamon dates back as far as 4,000 years ago to Ancient Egypt. Cinnamon was considered a very valuable and rare spice at this time, frequently being sold at very high costs and given to royalty as gifts or signs of devotion.
Cinnamon was also mentioned in the Bible numerous times and was noted for its ability to fight illnesses. People have learned more about the health benefits of cinnamon as time has gone on, with research now backing up the medicinal claims of cinnamon that ancient populations have known about for centuries.
Today, cinnamon as we know it is made by cutting the stems of the cinnamomum tree and removing the inner bark, which curls up into cinnamon sticks. These sticks are then ground to make powdery cinnamon spice which is sold and used across the world.
The health benefits of cinnamon can also be obtained in cinnamon extract form, when its special compounds are isolated and concentrated into high doses that have powerful effects on health. Another use for cinnamon is in cinnamon essential oil, which contains high levels of cinnamon’s special compounds and has numerous uses.
Types Of Cinnamon
There are hundreds of types of Cinnamon. But only 4 varieties are used for commercial purposes. The chart on the right shows these 4 main varieties and their other names. The main variety is Cassia Cinnamon which is mainly used in the USA and Canada. The second most popular variety is Ceylon Cinnamon which is primarily used in Europe, Mexico and many parts of Asia.. The other varieties like Saigon Cinnamon and Korintje Cinnamon are a distant 3rd and 4th and account for less than 10% of world wide consumption.
Forms Of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is a tropical evergreen tree whose parts, either the bark or the leaf is used for a variety of purposes. The parts of the tree is broken down into many parts as follows:
- Cinnamon chips (like wood chips) made from the bark of the tree
- Bark from the tree trunk rolled into sticks that are between 2-6 inches long
- The Cinnamon bark from the tree trunk ground into Cinnamon powder.
- The Cinnamon leaves from the tree steam distilled into an oil
- The Cinnamon bark steam from the tree trunk distilled into an oil
How is Cinnamon Used
- Powder – The most common way cinnamon is used as Cinnamon powder for baking pastries, sprinkled on coffee or tea and just mixed with honey and eaten direct.
- Sticks – However because Cinnamon powder goes stale quickly many people buy the cinnamon stick and use it whole in cooking, especially Asian curries. Many fine chefs will grind it into a powder for making fine desserts.
However if you buy cinnamon powder that is packed in a sunlight and moisture proof package it will be much fresher than the powder sold in those glass containers found on supermarket shelves.
- Oil – The Cinnamon oil which is made by steam distilling the leaves of the Cinnamon Tree or Cinnamon Bark is heavily used in food processing, fine perfumes, aroma therapy, medication (especially Asian medication), disinfectants. Learn how to use Cinnamon oil here.
Properties Of Cinnamon
Germicidal, antiseptic, and anti fungal. anthelmintic, antidiarrheal, antidote, antimicrobial, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antiputrescent, aphrodisiac, astingent, carminative, digestive, emmenagogue, hemostatic, orexigenic, parasticide, refrigerant, spasmolytic, stimulant, stomachic, vermifuge.
Which Cinnamon Is Best
It all depends on how you use it. Cassia Cinnamon is popular in the United States because it has an overt Cinnamon taste, its cheap and quite spicy. It works great for recipes that need a definite Cinnamon taste. It also has high levels of Coumarin (5%) which thins your blood. This is great if you want to loose weight and boost your metabolism but Coumarin causes liver damage if taken in excess.
Ceylon Cinnamon which has about 30% of the US market is fast gaining popularity for health reasons. It has low Coumarin levels (0.04%) and tends to be sweeter (with zero sugar).
As many diabetic patients and others have started to take Cinnamon on a daily basis they have switched to Ceylon Cinnamon. Because Ceylon Cinnamon is very mild yet sweeter and more fragrant it is used to create very multi layered complex flavors, often savory or sweet flavors.
Where Is Cinnamon Grown
Indonesia (70%) , China and Vietnam are the chief suppliers of Cassia Cinnamon while Sri Lanka a tiny Island off the coast India supplies nearly 90% of Ceylon Cinnamon.
How Is Cinnamon Made
The cassia Cinnamon is made by cutting the outer 1/16th of an inch layer of the Cinnamon tree trunk. Cinnamon tree is composed of one thick trunk. Because Cassia Cinnamon tends to be harvested when the tree is about 20 years old, the outer bark tends to be pretty thick. The rough grey skin is scraped off with a scraper. Then it is dried. As it dries it curls. Because the Cassia Bark is very thick, only one piece of bark is used for rolling into a stick. Click here to see how it is made.
Ceylon Cinnamon sticks are made by first cutting the thin branches of the Cinnamon Tree. The branches actually shoot up straight from the base of the tree like a bush. The branches are cut right down to the stump which then regrows in 3-6 years. Then the branches are soaked in water to soften the outer bark. If it rains during the cutting process then there is no need to soak the branches.
Then the outer bark and knots are scraped away to reveal a soft inner bark which is then peeled in almost paper thin layers. These are then dried. As it dries these thin slivers of bark curl up. After it is dried multiple layers of the thin bark are rolled into a cigar like stick. Click here for details on how it is made. It is soft, crumbly and easy to break into smaller pieces. However this labor intensive method of processing makes Ceylon Cinnamon much more expensive.
Cinnamon Nutritional Value
A little bit of cinnamon goes a long way, and its antioxidant abilities are what makes it especially beneficial to include in your diet. As little as ½ teaspoon of cinnamon daily can have positive effects on blood sugar levels, digestion, immunity and more; however, stronger doses are also extremely beneficial for improving heart disease risk and cutting your risk of diabetes, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.
One tablespoon of cinnamon has 19 calories,
- 0.3 g of protein
- 0.1 g of fat
- 6.3 g of carbohydrate
- 4.1 g of fiber
- 78 mg Calcium
- 1.4 mg of manganese
- 23 IU Vitamin A
Health Benefits of Cinnamon
1. Cancer Prevention
Cinnamon has protective antioxidants called polyphenols, phenolic acid and flavonoids that reduce free radical damage. These compounds work to fight oxidative stress in the body, which can lead to disease formation when uncontrolled.
2. Pain Management
Cinnamon has anti inflammatory properties which can be beneficial in pain management, with studies showing that cinnamon helps to relive muscle soreness, PMS pains, severity of allergic reactions and other age-related symptoms of pain too.
3. Heart Health
Research shows that cinnamon is a helpful blood coagulant and prevents bleeding by helping the body to form blood clots. Cinnamon also increases blood circulation and advances bodily tissue’s ability to repair itself after it’s been damaged. This includes heart tissue, which is in need of regeneration in order to help fight heart attacks, heart disease and stroke.
4. Helps fight diabetes
Cinnamon is known to have an anti-diabetic effect.It helps lower blood sugar levels and also can improve sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which is the vital hormone needed for keeping blood sugar levels balanced.
These benefits of cinnamon exist because it plays a part in blocking certain enzymes called alanines, which allows for glucose (sugar) to be absorbed into the blood. Therefore, it has been shown to decrease the amount of glucose that enters the bloodstream after a high-sugar meal, which is especially important for those with diabetes.
5. Brain Health
The anti oxidants present in cinnamon help defend the brain against developing neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. Cinnamon protects cognitive function and brain health is by activating neuro-protective proteins that protect brain cells from mutation and undergoing damage. This further reduces the negative effects of oxidative stress by stopping cells from morphing and self-destructing. Cinnamon contains many antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that reduce the effects of aging on the body and brain
6. Fights Infections & Viruses
Cinnamon is a natural anti-microbial, anti-biotic, anti-fungal and anti-viral agent. The immune-boosting abilities of cinnamon are found in cinnamon’s essential oils. Cinnamon oils also have protective abilities against various bacteria which can cause negative symptoms in the digestive tract, on the surface of the skin, and can lead to colds or the flu.
7. Dental Health
Cinnamon protects against bacteria living in the oral microflora that could cause bad breath, tooth decay, cavities or mouth infections.
8. Skin Health
Cinnamon has been shown to be helpful in fighting common allergy symptoms because it reduces inflammation and fights histamine reactions in the bodies of animals, although research is yet to come in human trials. For that reason, many naturopaths believe it can also help to reduce symptoms of asthma attacks.
9.Helps prevent or cure candida
Cinnamon has anti fungal properties which may be effective in stopping or curing Candida overgrowth in the digestive tract. Cinnamon has been shown to lower amounts of dangerous Candida albicans, which is the yeast that causes Candida overgrowth that can cause multiple digestive and autoimmune
symptoms. It also helps control blood sugar levels, and too much sugar within the digestive tract is associated with increased candida risk.
10. Cinnamon can help manage PCOS.
Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a problem with numerous symptoms that need to be managed, and cinnamon can be a key element of this management due to a number of characteristics. First would be the management of insulin resistance in women with PCOS, which can contribute to weight gain. “A recent pilot study found that cinnamon reduced insulin resistance in women with PCOS,” explains Parekh, extending cinnamon’s recommended consumption from diabetes sufferers to anyone with an insulin resistance problem.
“Cinnamon can also help mitigate heavy menstrual bleeding associated with common conditions of female health, such as endometriosis, menorrhagia, and uterine fibroids.”
11. Cinnamon has anti-inflammatory properties.
Consumption of cinnamon can reduce both systemic and specific inflammation. The former is particularly important in the Western world, according to Parekh. She says that in the West, “Systemic inflammation is a prominent problem that has led to the rise in chronic disease.” By adding cinnamon to a regular diet, this systemic inflammation can be reduced significantly.”
Specific inflammation reduction means that consumption of cinnamon can help treat certain types of pain and headaches, as well as arthritis pain. It plays a double role in this particular type of pain, according to Baron, as cinnamon can also boost circulation. “With circulation problems such as Raynaud’s syndrome or arthritis, this helps stimulate and push circulation to the joints,” she explains.
12. Cinnamon may have anti-carcinogenic properties.
Many superfoods are attributed with anti-carcinogenic properties, but it’s important not to jump from super food to super power. Parikh explains why it’s important not to get carried away.
“Evidence suggests that cinnamon may have anti-carcinogenic effects as well, although the research thus far is limited to animal studies,” she says. “These experiments demonstrate that cinnamon extract slows the growth of cancer cells and induces cancerous cell death.”
If these properties do extend to humans, then cinnamon may in fact be able to slow growth and kill cancerous cells. And even if these properties do not extend to a cure or treatment for cancer in humans, other characteristics of cinnamon, including the presence of antioxidants and free radicals, can contribute to its possible anti-carcinogenic effects.
13. Cinnamon can help treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases are two neurological conditions that, for the moment, are incurable. An enormous part of treating these diseases is therefore in symptom management, and this can be boosted with the addition of cinnamon to a regular regime.
“Cinnamon has been shown to help neurons and improve motor function in those suffering from Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s,” explains Farley. These contributions can help sufferers of these two diseases continue their regular routines with far less impediment.
14. Cinnamon can lower your bad cholesterol (or LDL).
Even if you do not suffer from diabetes, you may want to include cinnamon in your diet for many of the same reasons as those who do.
As Carina Parikh, MScN, MSiMR, the holistic nutritionist for Kate Naumes ND Holistic Wellness in Dallas explains, the positive impact on Type 2 diabetes symptoms is due to a number of factors, notably “improving serum glucose, lowering fasting blood glucose, and reducing triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol.” These are all benefits that can help even those not suffering from diabetes, including those with hereditary cholesterol worries or problems.
“(Cinnamon) also raises HDL (the “good”) cholesterol,” she explains. HDL cholesterol helps remove LDL cholesterol from the body.
And that’s not all. “Regular intake of cinnamon may also help to mitigate the effects of high-fat meals by slowing the increase in blood sugar post-meal,” says Parikh. This means that when cinnamon is added to your diet, the effects of occasional high-fat choices may not be quite as detrimental to your health as they would otherwise be.
15. Helps Fight Allergies
Studies have concluded that those with allergies can find relief thanks to the benefits of cinnamon’s compounds. Cinnamon has been shown to be helpful in fighting common allergy symptoms because it reduces inflammation and fights histamine reactions in the bodies of animals, although research is yet to come in human trials. For that reason, many naturopaths believe it can also help to reduce symptoms of asthma attacks.
In essential oil form, cinnamon may have immune-boosting abilities and is beneficial for nutrient absorption during digestion (according to lab and animal studies), which could cut down on auto-immune reactions that can take place after consuming common allergen foods.
16. Can be Used to Sweeten Recipes without Added Sugar
Because of its naturally sweet taste, adding cinnamon to foods and recipes can help you cut down on the amount of sugar you normally use, thereby lowering the glycemic load of your meal. Cinnamon already has anti-diabetic effects that slow sugar from releasing into the blood stream which can help manage food cravings and weight gain, but using cinnamon for its taste is another added benefit.
One of the benefits of cinnamon over sugar is that it contains no sugar and no calories in amounts that it is used by most people, so its makes an extremely healthy addition to many meals, especially considering its many nutrients. Try using cinnamon in coffee, tea, baked goods, yogurt, on fruit, or in oatmeal instead of adding extra sugar and calories. This can help you to reduce inflammation-causing sugar, extra calories, and to fight weight gain, candida, diabetes and low energy levels.
17. Can Be Used as a Natural Food Preservative
One of the less-known benefits of cinnamon is that it can be used to preserve food. Because cinnamon has anti-bacterial abilities and also acts as an antioxidant, it can be used as a preservative in many foods without the need for chemicals and artificial ingredients.
A recent study reported that when pectin from fruit was coated with cinnamon leaf extract it yielded high antioxidant and antibacterial activities and stayed fresh for longer. Cinnamon plays a part in the action of tyrosinase inhibitors, which are useful in stopping discoloration on fruits and vegetables that appears as they oxidize and begin to rot.
Cinnamon Tea Benefits
Cinnamon tea helps in weight loss, regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels, prevent chronic diseases, improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, and boost cognitive function, among others.
Cinnamon tea is a delicious and easy to prepare beverage that offers a wide range of health benefits. These include its ability to aid in weight loss, regulate blood sugar, lower cholesterol levels, prevent chronic diseases, improve digestion, strengthen the immune system, and boost cognitive function, among others.
While most people associate cinnamon with a sweet flavoring for various recipes or a delicious topping for their favorite coffee drink, it is an incredibly powerful spice used in various ways to improve overall health.
What is Cinnamon Tea?
Cinnamon tea is a healthy beverage prepared with cinnamon sticks. It is one of the easiest ways to access these health benefits and is also very simple to prepare. Cinnamomum cassia is the most common and popular variety but there are a number of other species within the genus that can have similar effects when used as an herbal tea.
Cinnamaldehyde is the active ingredient in all cinnamon species, and this bioactive compound can have a number of beneficial effects on the body. This particular compound is complemented by coumarin, linalool, cinnamic acid, proanthocyanidins, catechins, and other powerful substances that can be accessed through a cup of this delicious tea.
Health Benefits Of Cinnamon Tea
Blood Sugar Regulation
Research has shown that regular cinnamon supplementation can result in lower levels of blood sugar, believed to be caused by reduced insulin sensitivity. For those suffering from Type 2 diabetes, this can be important, as high blood sugar must be constantly monitored.
Cinnamon help the body store less fat by reducing the amount of insulin produced, cinnamon tea also reduces blood sugar. Due to this, your body will store less fat and you will gradually lose weight.
Lowers Cholestrol Levels
Cinnamon has a proven effect on glycemia and lipid levels in the body, namely reducing their concentration, which is a good news for those with concerns about their heart health. By lowering LDL cholesterol levels and increasing HDL cholesterol levels, cinnamon tea is able to lower your chances of developing atherosclerosis or having a heart attack or a stroke. Lower cholesterol levels are also important for maintaining your weight and preventing coronary heart diseases.
Boosts Immune System
A number of organic compounds found in cinnamon have antiviral, antifungal, and antiseptic effects. This makes cinnamon tea one of the best beverages for improving immune system function, as the antioxidants neutralize and remove foreign pathogens and materials that could cause infection or illness in the body.
Prevents Chronic Diseases
Cinnamon has a high concentration of powerful antioxidants, including the active ingredient, cinnamaldehyde, as well as catechins, cyanide, and other important compounds. These
antioxidants are ideal for neutralizing free radicals, the dangerous byproducts of cellular metabolism, and preventing oxidative stress throughout the body. This means that cinnamon tea can even have a preventative effect on certain types of cancers, as well as chronic illnesses that become more common as we age.
Cinnamon has a stimulating effect on gastric juices and stomach acids. This makes digestion more efficient and effective, leading to lower chances of gas, constipation, bloating, cramping, and stomach upset. Inflammation of the bowels, caused by IBS and other conditions, can also be avoided by the regular intake of cinnamon tea.
Cinnamon tea is also an appetite stimulant and can help in case you are suffering from malnutrition or anorexia.
Boosts Brain Function
Cinnamon is known to improve cognitive speed, boost concentration and focus, and even stimulate the growth of new neural pathways. Thus, making it an important herbal strategy for the treatment of Alzheimer’s and other degenerative neural conditions.
Cinnamon tea has been shown to reduce inflammation and pain in many cases, making it a soothing and relaxing remedy for many conditions.
Treats Menstrual Cramps
Cinnamon has a number of analgesic and anticoagulant effects, meaning that it can reduce the pain and cramping during menstruation. It also helps reduce the severity of the period, if you tend to have a heavier flow.
It fights the common cold and flu
When flu season arrives, cinnamon tea can be one of your best allies. Chinese medicine has long used this tea to treat illnesses. Cinnamon is also an antibiotic, reduces inflammation, lowers fever, reduces coughing, and it tastes great! Furthermore, it provides relief from headaches and migraines.
Don’t forget that while cinnamon tea has many wonderful benefits, you shouldn’t drink too much of it. For this reason, we recommend you talk with your doctor before you start the cinnamon tea regimen to be sure it’s going to complement any other medication or weight loss regimen you’re following.
Don’t use too much of it
Coumarin is a toxic compound that’s found in cinnamon. In high doses it can cause damage to the liver and kidneys, so don’t apply it too liberally to your food.
Pregnancy and breast-feeding
During pregnancy it’s important to avoid consuming cinnamon. It stimulates blood flow and can cause the uterus to contract. This can be detrimental to the fetus. Similarly, nursing mothers should avoid cinnamon tea because it can cause an allergy to develop in the baby.
Avoid cinnamon if you have ulcers
When you have ulcers of the stomach or intestine, consuming cinnamon will only irritate them more. It’s best to avoid it entirely in this case.
Be careful with your heart
Cinnamon has the ability to slightly increase your heart rate. For this reason, people with known heart conditions shouldn’t drink cinnamon tea. Otherwise it could increase the heart rate and endanger your health.
Don’t combine it with antibiotics
Cinnamon is a natural antibiotic, so it’s not a good idea to mix it with any man-made substance. Its properties could interfere with the way other medications work and cause unpredictable side effects. So avoid it any time you’re taking a regular prescription antibiotic.
In a related way to its effects on diabetes, cinnamon can also help the body store less fat. Essentially, by reducing the amount of insulin produced, cinnamon tea also reduces blood sugar. Due to this, your body will store less fat and you will gradually lose weight. All you need to do is to consume one or two cups of cinnamon tea per day; the results will speak for themselves!
Recipes for cinnamon tea
A slimming cinnamon tea
It’s easy to make this slimming cinnamon tea – here’s all you need:
- 1 cup hot water
- ½ teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon of honey
Mix the cinnamon and honey together in your hot water. Let it steep for 10 minutes before drinking.
Cinnamon tea for menstruation
The ingredients you need are:
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 cup of boiling water
Put the cinnamon stick in a bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Allow the mixture to cool and remove the cinnamon stick. Now you’re ready to drink your tea. If you need to, you can sweeten it with sugar or honey.
Cinnamon tea for colds and flu
All you need is:
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Boiling water
- An herbal tea, like green tea
Place your cinnamon stick in the boiling water and leave it for two minutes. When the water cools, remove and discard the stick. Use this cinnamon water to make an herbal tea of any kind that will help reduce your cold and flu symptoms.
Why is Cinnamon So Good for You?
How does such a little spice have so much power?
Many of cinnamon’s fantastic properties come from one substance, something called cinnamaldehyde, which is naturally present in cinnamon. According to Parikh, cinnamaldehyde is the source many of the antifungal and antibacterial properties that make cinnamon such a great addition to your diet.
But that’s not all. “Cinnamon’s high concentration of antioxidants can help protect the body from damage from free radicals and reduce inflammation, reducing risk of cancer and other diseases,” explains Farley.
The combination of cinnamaldehyde, antioxidants and cinnamon’s high fiber content are some of the characteristics that lend it its incredible positive effects on the human body.
How to Include Cinnamon in Your Diet
Even with all this evidence pointing to the wonders of cinnamon, we are absolutely not advocating you start guzzling it – it has been found to be toxic in large doses.
We are, however, wholeheartedly encouraging a little pinch (or stick) here and there in places you might otherwise have overlooked (in your tea or coffee, added to savory dishes, etc.) – if not for your overall health, for its undeniably enchanting aroma and flavor.
And while we all have fell victim to the irresistible smells wafting through an otherwise bleak airport experience, this does not make Cinnabon a free-for-all. Not only is it much better to use cinnamon in healthy recipes, but you’re going to want to source your cinnamon somewhere you trust for several reasons.
What Kind of Cinnamon Should I Use?
Not all cinnamons were created equal, so be careful what you buy.
“Nearly all the cinnamon in the grocery stores and health food stores is a cousin of true cinnamon,” explains Christina Major, a MS Holistic Nutritionist and Herbalist and the Health Recovery Expert of Crystal Holistic Health.
“Cinnamomum cassia, or Chinese cinnamon, has a very similar flavor and color, but it does not have the same health benefits,” she explains. “Only Cinnamomum verum provides the health benefits, and this is an expensive spice that is often illicitly substituted with Cinnamomum cassia.”
When you are perusing the supermarket shelves, you’ll likely see Cinnamomum cassia sold as Chinese or Cassia cinnamon, whereas Cinnamomum verum will be sold as Ceylon cinnamon. According to our experts, you should opt for the latter.
If you do have Cassia cinnamon on your shelf already, you can try integrating it into your diet as well, but bear in mind a few important notes.
You likely will not find that the same benefits outlined with regards to Ceylon cinnamon hold true with Cassia. “That’s why most supplements and home remedies don’t work,” explains Major. “There isn’t enough active ingredient, because the manufacturer didn’t use the right cinnamon.”
Farley also warns that the Cassia variety should be consumed in very small doses. “Not more than 2 tsp. per day,” she suggests, “Since it has a higher concentration of courmarin, which can be harmful in large doses.” Courmarin can cause liver toxicity and have blood-thinning properties, so be sure to talk to your doctor before adding this or any sort of cinnamon to your diet if you are on blood thinners or liver medication.
If you’d like to give a small amount of cinnamon a try, here’s a good starting point. If you prefer to buy in bulk to save money, click here for 1lb of cinnamon.
How Much Cinnamon Should I Eat?
Once you’ve got your hands on some true Ceylon cinnamon, the recommended dosage, according to the U.S. Department of Health, is up to 6 grams daily for 6 weeks or fewer.
“I would suggest a week rest after the 6 weeks, before beginning again,” says Farley. “Turmeric can be taken during the rest week since it has similar benefits.”
You can also reduce your cinnamon consumption to 5 days a week without a rest week, says Parehk, though she – and we – urge anyone starting a new supplement regimen to consult with a qualified practitioner first and to be very careful of over-consumption of cinnamon, no matter which variety you have. Overconsumption of cinnamon or even a rapid increase of consumption of cinnamon can have some adverse effects.
One, explains Dizon, is that cinnamon’s anti-bacterial properties do not distinguish between good or bad bacteria in the gut, meaning that you could find yourself facing some cinnamon-related digestive issues. “Incorporate fermented foods to replenish your stomach with good bacteria,” she suggests.
Our experts also warn against incorporating too much cinnamon into your diet if you are pregnant, breastfeeding, or have a heavy menstrual cycle. If any of these things apply to you, please see a medical professional before adding cinnamon to your diet.
How Should I Add Cinnamon to My Diet?
Cinnamon can be purchased in several forms, including ground powder, cinnamon sticks, cinnamon bark oil, or even capsules. Jane Dizon, a nurse and health and fitness enthusiast behind Health and Fitness, has a few suggestions for how to add cinnamon to your diet. “You could add half to one teaspoon of cinnamon powder to your coffee, or sprinkle some on your fruit platter. It’s also great with baked sweet potatoes, oatmeals and apple cider.”
And cinnamon doesn’t always have to be used alone. “You can combine ginger and cardamom with cinnamon if you have a sluggish digestive system,” explains Baron. You don’t even have to eat your cinnamon to take advantage of it. Dizon suggests cinnamon-scented candles to boost brain function, and Baron makes a homemade toothpaste with cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda and cinnamon oil. She also suggests a cinnamon and oatmeal face mask for acne.
You can incorporate cinnamon into your diet by trying some of these cinnamon recipes:
Secret Detox Drink Recipe
This first recipe is one of my favorite ways to use cinnamon’s antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties…in a detox! Combined with these other powerhouse cleansing ingredients you can bring down any inflammation and get your body on track fast!
Total Time: 2 minutes
- 1 glass of water (12–16 ounces)
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)
- Stevia to taste
Blend all ingredients together.
Baked Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Recipe
Soothing, satisfying, tasty, and an easy way to get some manganese first thing in the morning, the cinnamon in this oatmeal will get you off to a great start!
Total Time: 40 minutes
- 4 cups kefir
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ¾ teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon cardamom
- 2 cups steel cut oats
- 2 cups chopped apples
- ½ cup raisins
- 1 cup chopped nuts
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Bring kefir, coconut sugar, butter, salt, nutmeg, cardamom and cinnamon to boil in pot over high heat.
- Add remaining ingredients to pot and mix. Transfer contents to greased 9×13 pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Crockpot Cinnamon Applesauce Recipe
Why buy store-bought, when you can make better tasting and healthier applesauce at home? This is a staple recipe that I love to keep around as a late afternoon snack.
Total Time: 6–8 hours
- 10 large apples, peeled, cored and chopped into chunks
- ½ cup water
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
- When done cooking, mix all ingredients and mash all clumps of apple until desired consistency is achieved.
Concerns & Interactions of Cinnamon
Cinnamon is not known to cause negative reactions or allergies, especially when used in small amounts the way that it most commonly is. At times, when taking cinnamon extract supplements or using cinnamon essential oil, it’s possible to take too much which can interfere with other medicines and medical conditions.
Cinnamon can become unsafe if you take too many cinnamon supplements, especially if you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, have diabetes, have liver disease, or just had surgery. Always make sure you read the recommended dose of cinnamon extracts, and other herbal extracts too, and don’t consume more than is recommended without speaking with your doctor first in order to avoid complications.
If you’re using cinnamon essential oil, you might also want to test a small patch of your skin to first check for irritation and allergic reactions before using larger amounts.
Negative Effects Of Cinnamon
As with most things taking Cinnamon over extended periods of time will build a certain level of toxicity in your body. The recommended dosage of Cinnamon according to the US Department of health, is 6 grams daily for 6 weeks or less. At this level of Cinnamon appears to be safe for most people. We recommend you follow these directions with a week of rest from Cinnamon every 6 weeks. This will allow any toxicity to be purged from your system. Or you could try 5 days and 2 days of rest from Cinnamon on the weekends.
2. Premature Labor
Pregnant women should not take Cinnamon. This is because Cinnamon (especially the oils) can induce premature labor or uterine contractions. While Cinnamon helps with stomach pains, gas of indigestion, you should NOT be taking Cinnamon for these purposes while you are pregnant. Better safe than sorry. An occasional cup of Cinnamon is probably safe but why take a chance? Taking Cinnamon tablets or especially smelling Cinnamon Oil should be avoided at all costs.
3. Coumarin & Other Toxic Substances
Those who take Cinnamon on a daily basis for dieting or other health reasons should switch to Ceylon Cinnamon, which only has 0.03-0.04% Coumarin. All other types of Cinnamon has high levels (about 0.4-0.8%) Coumarin which can cause liver failure if taken daily or in high doses. The Europeans even banned Cassia Cinnamon for a while because of its effects on the liver. Read our blog post on Coumarin with the latest data here. Cassia Cinnamon contains more styrene, benzene, 1,1′-(2-butene-1,4-diyl)bis-, benzene, 1,1′-(1,2-cyclobutanediyl)bis-, palmitic acid, stearic acid, 4-phenylbutyl chloride, and (2,3-diphenylcyclopropyl) methyl phenyl sulfoxide, which are present in Ceylon Cinnamon in negligible amounts. (Rush University)
4. Blood Sugar
Cinnamon may also reduce your blood sugar levels depending on the quantity you take. While taking a 2 tsp. of Ceylon Cinnamon powder or boiling a Cinnamon stick into a tea may not have much of an effect on blood sugar levels, Ceylon Cinnamon Bark Oil may result in a dramatic drop in blood sugar levels, leaving you a light headed and a bit whoozy. Especially if you are taking medication. So be careful. If you are adding more than 2-3 drops of Ceylon Cinnamon Bark Oil to your tea or coffee you might feel light headed. But the flavor it infuses is unbelievable when used in moderation. Probably one of the reasons Coca Cola uses Ceylon Cinnamon Bark in Coke, although that is laden with huge doses of sugar.
5. Blood Thinner
Cinnamon apparently thins your blood. This blood thinning properties are apparently particularly high in Cassia Cinnamon, while Ceylon Cinnamon does not seem to thin your blood. This blood thinning property of Cassia Cinnamon apparently helps it in acting as an anti-clotting agent, especially for those suffering from heart disease. Therefore care must be taken not to take Cinnamon with other blood thinning medication and the reason why Doctors do not recommend taking Cinnamon while taking medication especially blood thinning medication.
A small minority of people may be allergic to Cinnamon, even if they have consumed it previously without any ill effects. The symptoms usually include a runny nose, watery eyes or soreness of the eyes, shortness of breath (usually by smelling Cinnamon Oil), upset stomach, facial or hand swelling, anaphylactic shock (unusual heartbeat, dizziness, confusion, dizziness, sudden drop in blood pressure) and nausea.
Most of the time Cinnamon allergies are not life threatening. While it is the adults who get most Cinnamon allergies, young children especially infants and toddlers may develop a reaction, sometimes through the mother consuming Cinnamon. If you suspect a Cinnamon allergy stop consuming Cinnamon and remove all traces of it from the house. Cinnamon is in many food items, so make sure anything you consume does not contain Cinnamon, especially Cassia Cinnamon. Any allergy test should establish which type of Cinnamon you are allergic to, so proper treatment can be affected.
7. Skin Irritation
If you touch Cinnamon oil without diluting it, it will irritate your skin and create a burning sensation. Kind of like chili powder. This is particularly acute if you touch any genitalia after handling pure Cinnamon oil. So it’s best to wear gloves or be careful not to spill any on your hands.
8.Increased Heart Rate
High doses of Cinnamon could be dangerous for those with a heart condition as Cinnamon is known to increase your heart rate. Similarly, undiluted Cinnamon oil can cause rapid heart rates especially in children. Remember Cinnamon oil is especially powerful and should be diluted to less than 2% before use. At those levels it is safe for use by most people.
9. Cinnamon Challenge Choking Hazard
Lately teens and even preteens have been playing a game of who can swallow a tablespoon or more of Cinnamon powder. Swallowing Cinnamon powder without water creates a serious choking hazard that could result in death. Cinnamon powder can seep into your lungs and cause a serious chest infection, resulting in severe complications to your breathing. Your lungs can collapse and if you do not have access to a ventilator this would be certain death. It will also scar your lung leading to medical issues later in life. In fact any powder not just Cinnamon can cause all these complications.
10. Cinnamon Tablets
We do not believe Cinnamon tablets or capsules are safe or even effective to take because of things like Silicon Dioxide which is used in the manufacture of these tablets.
11. Antiobiotic Conflict
Because Cinnamon in many ways can act like an antibiotic, albeit an all natural one. taking commercial antibiotics with cinnamon may create a conflict. It is like taking a double dose of antibiotics. It is best you stop taking Cinnamon when taking prescription antibiotics and consult your Doctor. The FDA says Cinnamon has no proven health properties. If that is the case why prevent it from being marketed as a drug right?
12. Body Heat
Chinese medicine says to avoid anything that increases body heat when necessary. Cinnamon like alcohol, black pepper, cayenne pepper, cauliflower, lobster, coffee, garlic, ginger, glutinous rice, kimchi, onions, and pumpkin may increase body heat. As the body heat or inflammation increases from consuming too much Cinnamon the body will try to vent this excess heat. This usually takes the form of boils under the tongue, cracked lips, pimples or a thick crusty mucus that seeps from the eye. You may not feel this so much in winter, but during summer it will be felt much more if you take too much Cinnamon. If you are going through menopause for example, then avoid Cinnamon. If you have had a huge dose of lobster, then don’t’ eat cinnamon.
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