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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Health Effects and Side Effects of Cinnamon



Courtesy Michelle Meiklejohn

WebMD's site and what it says about cinnamon

I looked up WebMD's site on the health benefits of cinnamon and its side effects. Here's what I gleaned from a site I consider more authoritative than others:

Two kinds of cinnamon

Sure enough, there are two kinds of cinnamon:

  • Ceylon cinnamon or "true" cinnamon, which is lighter colored than the more usual cassia cinnamon.
  • Cassia cinnamon may lower blood sugar in people with diabetes, but studies are inconclusive and not all studies have found a benefit.

Cinnamon used as medicine throughout the world?

  • Cinnamon is an extract from the bark of the cinnamon tree and traditionally has been used as medicine "throughout the world."

  • WebMD says that cinnamon may reduce inflammation, have antioxidant and antibacterial properties, but again, other studies have not found a benefit, so it's "unclear what role cinnamon may play in improving health." 

Cinnamon delicious as a spice

  • As a spice, sprinkled on toast and lattes, it's delicious and mixed with honey especially. 
Here we have a cute little grandma making cinnamon rolls, complete with recipe. What would be a post about cinnamon without cinnamon rolls, America's favorite sweet bun?

Side Effects and Risks of Cinnamon

  • Very high doses may be toxic.
  • There is no established dose.
  • Some studies have used between 1 - 6 grams of cinnamon or 1/2 - 1 tsp.
  • It may lower blood sugar so should be used with caution if you are diabetic.
  • It usually causes no side effects, but heavy use may cause sores in your mouth and lips due to irritation, and applied to the skin may cause redness and irritation.
  • People who have cancer like breast cancer, affected by hormone levels, should not take cinnamon.
  • Coumarin, an ingredient in some cinnamon products, may cause liver problems.
  • There is lack of information about its safety, thus is not recommended for children or pregnant or breastfeeding women.
  • Talk to your doctor before taking cinnamon supplements if you take medications regularly. Cinnamon supplements could "interact with antibiotics, diabetes drugs, blood thinners, heart medicines, and others."
There you have it, our wonderful and delicious cinnamon toast with honey, or sweet rolls, get a rigorous going over from the medical community.

As with any supplement, caution is advised, I think mostly with high doses of any supplement or alternative medicine.

  • I continue to enjoy a bit of cinnamon sprinkled on toast and honey, or on a latte.

  • Any more cinnamon recipes out there?

  • Any comments about the use or abuse of cinnamon or any other food product?

Girl eating cinnamon roll


  1. Cinnamon and honey has been highly touted as medicine. I think it started in South America, but have heard of other areas using it for centuries as well. There is usually truth in ancient remedies, eh?

    Personally, I'll take mine on toast.

  2. Yes, I've heard many good things about honey and cinnamon. I just don't want to say I've personally tested any of these claims as I haven't, and would hesitate to recommend a "treatment" to someone as I'm not a medical doctor. Please do check out all claims with a reputable physician.