Cinnamon Benefits

Cinnamon: Benefits, Side-Effects, Supplements, Uses, And Capsules

Cinnamon’s numerous health benefits are largely a result of its cinnamaldehyde content. The herb has been found to reduce cholesterol and blood sugar levels, provide antimicrobial activity and exhibit antioxidant activity that protects the body from free radicals and, therefore, from conditions such as cancer and heart disease. Cinnamon has also benefited patients with neurodegenerative diseases due to its protective effects against dopaminergic cell death. 

Cinnamon is the brown bark of several tree species belonging to the Cinnamomum genus. It is a well-known spice that gives flavor and aroma to dishes ranging from curries to baked goods. Cinnamon has relatively high patient acceptability, but when consumed in excess and for extended periods, it can lead to side effects such as gastrointestinal problems and allergic responses. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, Cassia cinnamon, derived from the Cinnamomum aromaticum tree grown in Southeast Asia, is the most common type sold in North America and contains coumarin, which can harm the liver. However, the center stated that, in most cases, Cassia cinnamon does not have enough coumarin to cause significant harm, except if used by those who already have liver damage.

Cinnamon supplements come in many forms. They can be sold as raw powders, capsules, or liquid extracts, with the top five producers being Pure Encapsulations, NOW, Gaia Herbs, New Chapter, and Amrita Aromatherapy. Cinnamon supplements are typically used to support sugar metabolism, promote circulatory health, and help lower cancer risks.

Cinnamon supplements are not only derived from Cassia cinnamon but also from Ceylon cinnamon, attained from the Cinnamomum verum tree, or Cinnamomum zeylanicum, grown particularly in Sri Lanka and southern parts of India. Also known as “true” cinnamon, Ceylon cinnamon has lighter citric tones than Cassia cinnamon. According to Angela Ginn, a spokesperson for the American Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, while both Ceylon and Cassia cinnamon are believed to offer health advantages, it is unknown whether they provide the same benefits because most research has focused on Cassia cinnamon.

What Are The Benefits Of Cinnamon?

Scientific studies found that cinnamon yields positive health effects. Below are some of those benefits:

1. Lowers Cholesterol

Researchers concluded that cinnamon lowered cholesterol levels. A study by Richard A. Anderson et al. found that total cholesterol and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or bad cholesterol levels decreased from the baseline in subjects who took one 250 mg spray-dried cinnamon extract capsule twice daily for two months. 

Researchers Alam Khan et al. also found that including cinnamon in a person’s diet can help reduce their risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. They concluded this after observing a decrease in total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, and triglyceride levels in 60 subjects with type 2 diabetes following their consumption of 1 g, 3 g, and 6 g of cinnamon capsules daily for 40 days. The reductions were pegged at 12% to 26%, 7% to 27%, and 23% to 30%. Researchers found that subjects maintained lower lipid levels 20 days after stopping the 40-day treatment. They also observed that changes in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) or good cholesterol levels were insignificant. 

According to research by Jeong Sun-Lee et al., cinnamon helped reduce excessive fat such as triglycerides and cholesterol in the blood, or hyperlipidemia, due to its cinnamate content, which suppressed hepatic β-hydroxy β-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase activity. With the suppression, lipid peroxidation was inhibited, reducing cholesterol production in the liver.

Based on these studies, intake of at least 500 mg of cinnamon daily for at least two months sufficed for one to benefit from the cholesterol-lowering properties of cinnamon. However, consultation with a healthcare professional prior to the consumption of cinnamon supplements is advised.

2. Lessens Irritable Bowel Syndrome 

Cinnamon has been found to help treat irritable bowel diseases such as acute colitis and Crohn’s disease. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive Kidney Diseases, irritable bowel syndrome symptoms include abdominal pain, constipation, diarrhea, or both. 

A study by Yvonne Hagenlocher et al. found that inflammatory symptoms and markers in mice with murine colitis, such as rectal inflammation and recruitment of neutrophils, which play pro-inflammatory roles in the pathogenesis and progression of irritable bowel diseases, were reduced after they were administered 4.5 ml/kg body weight of cinnamon extract for 12 weeks. 

The researchers did not specify the cinnamon component responsible for these positive effects. However, they noted it could be attributed to the anti-inflammatory properties of cinnamon that led to the reduction in the expression of cytokines TNF,  MIP-2, CCL2, IFNγ, CCL4, CCL3, and IL-1β and mast cell proteases. These cytokines and mast cell proteases, when upregulated, led to an enhancement of irritable bowel disease symptoms. According to Xuesheng Han et al., several studies have noted the “promising anti-inflammatory properties” of cinnamaldehyde found in cinnamon.

Yvonne Hagenlocher et al. noted that clinical trials on the effects of cinnamon have yet to be conducted. However, they stated that the 4.5 ml cinnamon extract/kg body weight they used in experimental mice affirmed the positive effects of cinnamon on irritable bowel syndrome was equivalent to 0.37 ml/kg body weight in humans. However, consultation with a healthcare professional prior to the consumption of cinnamon supplements is still advised to gain these health benefits.

3. Lowers Blood Sugar

Studies have shown that cinnamon can lower blood sugar levels. A study by Sung Hee Kim et al. using animal models found that the blood glucose concentration in subjects with type 2 diabetes given 50 mg/kg, 100 mg/kg, 150 mg/kg, and 200 mg/kg of Cinnamomi cassiae (Cassia cinnamon) extract for six weeks decreased compared with the control group. According to the researchers, blood glucose concentration reduction was highest in the 200 mg/kg group, indicating that the reducing effect of cinnamon was dose-dependent. The researchers also noted that the decrease in blood glucose levels reached its peak after two weeks of treatment and was “almost constant” after that.

A study by Nildem Kizilaslan et al. found that cinnamon yielded positive changes in specific blood parameters in different sets of healthy individuals who consumed 1 g, 3 g, and 6 g of cinnamon daily for 40 days. According to the researchers, compared to baseline values, there were reductions in average preprandial glucose levels on days 20 and 40 in individuals across the three groups, with declines pegged at 4.17% and 4.9% on days 20 and 40 for the group given 1 g of cinnamon daily, 1.84% and 2.75% for the group given 3 g of cinnamon daily, and 4.55% and 5.92% for the group given 6 g of cinnamon daily. Reductions were also observed in postprandial blood glucose levels and glycosylated hemoglobin levels of all three groups of individuals. However, the researchers noted no statistically significant difference between the average glycosylated hemoglobin levels recorded on Day 1 of treatment and the average values recorded on Day 40 in all three groups.

Neither study specified the cinnamon component that yielded the hypoglycemic effects in the subjects. However, the Sung Hee Kim et al. study noted that, because there was also an observed increase in the serum insulin levels of its study subjects after they consumed the cinnamon extract, it could be hypothesized that the extract exerted its hypoglycemic effect by enhancing the insulin in serum effect or by increasing the secretion of insulin by beta cells.

Based on the Nildem Kizilaslan et al. study, intake of at least 1g/day of cinnamon for 40 days sufficed for one to benefit from a reduction in blood glucose levels. According to the study, the higher the dosage up to 6g/day, the higher the reduction in glucose levels. Nevertheless, consultation with a healthcare professional is advised prior to the consumption of cinnamon supplements.

4. Antioxidant

Several studies found that cinnamon exhibited antioxidant activity, protecting cells against damage caused by free radicals. After analyzing the antioxidant activity of different parts of Cinnamomum cassia, the bark, buds, and leaves, extracted via ethanol and supercritical carbon dioxide, Cheng Hong Yang et al. concluded that the extracts from cinnamon bark exhibited the highest antioxidant activity and the better solvent to derive the antioxidant components was ethanol. 

Researchers Muhammad Zia Shahid et al. also concluded that cinnamon extract could replace synthetic antioxidants in food. The researchers concluded this after they found, through ferric reducing antioxidant power, DPPH, and total phenolic content assays, that the extract reduced the lipid oxidation of palm oil when added at varying levels, at 0.05, 0.10, 0.15, 0.2, and 0.25%. 

According to Cheng Hong Yang et al., the phenolics contained in cinnamon are the main substances responsible for cinnamon’s antioxidant properties. Researcher Alam Zeb stated that phenolic compounds react with free radicals either via a hydrogen atom transfer, a single electron transfer, a proton loss transfer done sequentially, or through transition metal chelation.

Many studies that looked into the antioxidant components of cinnamon involved assays and not clinical trials involving humans. Therefore, it is difficult to recommend a specific dosage that would allow one to benefit from these properties. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised prior to the consumption of cinnamon supplements.

 

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5. Relieves Tooth Decay

Cinnamon has been found to relieve tooth decay. According to Mitchiyo Matsumoto-Nakano, dental caries is caused by the bacteria Streptococcus mutans, which can form a biofilm, also called dental plaque, on tooth surfaces. 

Researchers Abdulaziz Alshahrani et al. affirmed cinnamon extract’s biofilm inhibitory properties after they found 2.5 mg/ml of cinnamon extract from the leaves of Cinnamomum zeylanicum suppressed the biofilm formation of Streptococcus mutans caused by nicotine from 34% to 98%. The suppression occurred when the extract was mixed with the bacteria in microtiter plates in varying nicotine concentrations of 0 to 32 mg/ml.

In another study, researchers Charu Gupta et al. concluded that cinnamon oil was more effective than clove oil in treating tooth decay and plaque. In making this conclusion, the researchers noted their analysis of the antibacterial activity of both essential oils showing that cinnamon oil produced a more significant inhibition zone of diameter (IZD) against Streptococcus mutans, at 24.0 mm rather than clove oil, which created an IZD of 13 mm. A more extensive study by Lalit Kumar D. Chaudhari et al. involving nine essential oils—cinnamon, wintergreen, lime, peppermint, spearmint, cedarwood, lemongrass, clove, and eucalyptus oils—concluded that cinnamon oil showed the highest antimicrobial activity against Streptococcus mutans in an agar well diffusion assay. According to N.G Vasconcelos et al., cinnamon’s cinnamaldehyde content inhibits biofilm formation and, therefore, tooth decay by suppressing exopolysaccharide synthesis and the signaling among cells through gene expression reduction.

Because many studies on the effects of cinnamon on tooth decay involved assays and not clinical trials, recommending a cinnamon dosage for one to benefit from this health benefit is not possible. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised prior to the consumption of cinnamon supplements.

6. Improves Sensitivity To The Hormone Insulin

Research suggests that cinnamon can improve the body’s sensitivity to the hormone insulin, which helps prevent diabetes. The more sensitivity one has to insulin; the less insulin is needed to reduce blood glucose levels.

A study by Thomas P. J. Solomon et al. found that the insulin sensitivity in seven 26-year-old healthy males assessed using Dr. Masumi Matsuda’s index for insulin sensitivity improved after ingesting 5 g of vegetarian cinnamon capsules. Insulin sensitivity enhancement was observed immediately after the pill was consumed and 12 hours after intake. The study led researchers to conclude that the insulin-enhancing effects of cinnamon are not only immediate but also sustained. In another study, Thomas P. J. Solomon et al. qualified that only continued ingestion of cinnamon could prolong insulin-enhancing effects. This conclusion was made after noting that the insulin sensitivity enhancement observed in eight male volunteers aged 26 following their treatment of 3 g of cinnamon per day consumed as three 500-mg vegetarian capsules for 14 days disappeared with discontinued cinnamon use.

Neither study specified the cinnamon component responsible for the insulin sensitivity-potentiating capacity. Still, researchers Bolin Qin et al. stated that it might have to do with cinnamon’s ability to suppress retinol-binding protein 4 and a soluble cluster of differentiation36 (SD36), which were found to contribute to insulin resistance.

Based on the two Thomas P.J. Solomon et al. studies, a sustained dosage of at least 3 g of cinnamon per day sufficed to achieve this specific health benefit. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised prior to the consumption of cinnamon supplements to prevent any possible side effects.

7. Beneficial Effects On Neurodegenerative Diseases

Studies found that cinnamon may be used to manage neurodegenerative diseases. In their meta-analysis of 11 experimental studies on the neuroprotective effects of cinnamon, both in vivo and in vitro, Hyemin Heo et al. concluded that cinnamon was a “neural protector” and enhanced motor performance in models of Parkinson’s Disease. 

Of the research analyzed, the study by Saurabh Kasnavis et al., in particular, found that, in a 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) animal study of Parkinson’s disease, cinnamon ensured the protection of dopaminergic neurons, improved striatal neurotransmitters, and enhanced the motor functions of participants. The subjects were administered 100 μL of cinnamon mixed with methylcellulose daily for seven days, with the first dose starting three hours after administration of the MPTP that induced the Parkinson’s disease symptoms.

Another study by Sumita Raha et al. found that, when using animal models, cinnamon reduced the insoluble α-synuclein (α-syn) protein, also known as Lewy bodies, in the hippocampus, brain stem, and nigra of subjects administered 100 mg/kg body weight daily of the spice for 60 days. Lewy bodies have been found to accumulate in patients with neurodegenerative disorders such as dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson’s disease, and multiple system atrophy.

According to Arundhati Jana et al., based on an animal model study, the neuroprotective properties of cinnamon may be derived from its metabolite sodium benzoate, which increases the neurotrophic factors BDNF and neurotrophin-3, supporting neuronal growth. The researchers noted that sodium benzoate also activated the cAMP response element-binding (CREB) protein, which modulates the expression of genes that play a vital role in dopaminergic neurons, critical for brain functions such as voluntary movement.

Because most studies that looked into the effects of cinnamon on neurodegenerative diseases involved animal models, it is difficult to recommend the proper dosage for one to gain this effect from the spice. Consultation with a healthcare professional prior to the consumption of cinnamon supplements is advised.

8. Protects Against Cancer

Studies have found that cinnamon can protect against cancer. Researchers Ho-Keun Kwon et al. concluded that the spice exhibited antitumor effects and can be used as an antitumor agent to treat different types of cancer. The researchers came to this conclusion after they observed that cinnamon extract suppressed melanoma growth and induced tumor cell death in vitro and in vivo studies. 

In vitro, the researchers stated that the growth of several melanoma cell lines was suppressed 24 hours after their treatment of up to 0.5 mg/ml of cinnamon extract. The reduction in tumor cell proliferation was observed 48 hours after treatment. After 72 hours, the researchers noted that the cells began to float and detached from the plate. The researchers also stated that the cinnamon extract’s inducement of melanoma cell death was time-dependent. 

In their subsequent in vivo study using animal models, researchers Ho Keun-Kwon et al. noted that when given 400 μg/g weight daily for 30 days, the tumor size in their subjects was significantly reduced compared to those in a control group.  

Ho Keun-Kwon et al. did not specify the cinnamon component responsible for these antitumor effects. However, Norberta Shoene et al. found that the polymeric polyphenols in cinnamon stimulated cell cycle arrest in hematologic tumor cell lines.

Based on their analysis, researchers Ho Keun-Kwon et al. noted that cinnamon extract increased the expression of genes associated with apoptosis, such as Bax, Bim, Bak, and Bad, thereby stimulating tumor cell death. The researchers attributed cinnamon’s tumor cell growth inhibitory properties to its capacity to downregulate NFκB and AP1, resulting in the downregulation of the expression of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL protein levels associated with tumor cell survival.  

Because many studies on the protective effects of cinnamon against cancer were in vitro and in vivo using animal models, it is difficult to recommend a dosage that would produce this specific benefit. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised prior to the consumption of cinnamon supplements to prevent any possible side effects.

9. Fights Bacterial And Fungal Infections

Research has found that cinnamon can fight bacterial and fungal infections, aside from those that arise from caries-causing Streptococcus mutans. An in vitro study by Hoang N H Tran et al. found that the bark and leaves of Cinnamomum zeylanicum, even at low concentrations, exhibited potent antihemolytic and antifungal activities against Candida albicans and Candida auris. These yeast-like fungi can colonize the gut and mouth and cause severe infections that can lead to death. According to researchers Hoang N H Tran et al., for the bark, the minimum inhibitory and fungicidal concentrations were below 0.03% v/v. For the leaf, the minimum inhibitory concentration was 0.06-0.13% v/v, depending on the fungus strain, while the minimum fungicidal concentration was 0.25% v/v. Both the cinnamon bark and leaves were found to have damaged the membrane of Candida albicans and Candida auris and suppressed the formation of hyphae, the fungi’s primary mode of growth.

In their meta-analysis of studies on the antibacterial effects of cinnamon, Seyed Fazel Nabavi et al. concluded that the spice could be used as an alternative to synthetic antibiotics, especially in the treatment of antibiotic-resistant infections. In 2011, Keskin D. Toroglu’s in vitro study found that a 30 µL dose of Cassia zeylanicum bark extracts exhibited potent antibacterial activity against Bacillus megaterium NRS, Klebsiella pneumonia 13883, Staphylococcus aureus 6538 P, Pseudomonas aeruginosa ATCC 27859, Enterobacter cloacae ATCC 13047, Escherichia coli ATCC 8739, Streptococcus faecalis DC 74, and Corynebacterium xerosis UC 9165, with inhibition sizes ranging from 7 to 18 mm. Manisha Mandal et al. affirmed cinnamon bark’s antibacterial activity after six hours of incubation in methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, which can lead to skin and soft tissue infections. The researchers observed that the inhibition zone ranged from 22 to 27 mm.

According to analyzed studies by Seyed Fazel Nabavi et al., the antibacterial effects of cinnamon can be attributed to its bioactive phytochemicals that include cinnamaldehyde and eugenol. In their study of the antibacterial mechanisms of these phytochemicals, Alexander Gill et al. noted the inhibition of energy metabolism in Listeria monocytogenes and Lactobacillus sakei following their exposure to a cinnamaldehyde and eugenol concentration. The researchers, however, stated that further studies were needed to determine whether the specific mode of action that yielded this result was membrane interaction, glucose use, or eugenol ATPase inhibition. ATPase plays a critical role in the production of energy. 

Because many of the studies on the antibacterial effects of cinnamon were in vitro, recommending a specific dosage that would allow one to gain this benefit is not possible. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised prior to the consumption of cinnamon supplements to prevent any possible side effects.

10. Helps Fight HIV 

Scientific research suggests that cinnamon has properties that can fight HIV. A study by Bridgette Janine Connell et al. found that a procyanidin compound derived from cinnamon, INDO2, exhibited inhibitory activities against HIV 1, the primary cause of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome or AIDS. In their in vitro study, the researchers noted INDO2-trimer suppressed the upregulation of inhibitory receptors on CD8+ and CD4+ T cells in HIV 1-infected peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures. The researchers concluded this could mean the compound’s anti-HIV virus activities resulted from its indirect suppression of T cell exhaustion. T cells help the body fight infections.

It is difficult to recommend a specific dosage for one to achieve this health benefit since many studies that affirmed cinnamon effects were done in vitro. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised prior to the consumption of cinnamon supplements to prevent possible side effects.

What Are The Risks (Side-Effects) Of Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is relatively safe to use. When taken in excess, however, the herb can yield the following side effects:

  • Gastrointestinal problems
  • Allergic responses

Liver problems can be a severe side effect of excessive consumption, particularly Cassia cinnamon, which contains coumarin. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, this is true only if the person who consumes Cassia cinnamon already has liver damage. In most cases, Cassia cinnamon does not contain enough coumarin to cause significant damage in people who otherwise have no liver problems.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Cinnamon?

Cinnamon has a high nutritional value. According to the US Department of Agriculture, 2.6 g of cinnamon contains 11.2 mg potassium, 1.56 mg magnesium, 26 mg calcium, 2,100 mg carbohydrates, 94 mg ash, 1,380 mg fiber, 0.216 mg iron, 1.66 mg phosphorus, 0.26 mg sodium, 0.048 mg Zinc, and 0.009 mg copper. It also contains 0.455 mg manganese, 0.000081 mg selenium, and 0.099 mg vitamin C. The spice has vitamins A and E, lycopene, and folate, among others, in lesser amounts.

How Does Cinnamon Work Within The Human Body?

No single mechanism can describe how cinnamon has been found to yield multiple health benefits. To lower blood sugar levels, for instance, Sung Hee Kim et al. hypothesized that cinnamon would increase the secretion of insulin by beta cells once it enters the body. According to researcher Alam Zeb, phenolic compounds, which are believed to be responsible for cinnamon’s antioxidant properties, exhibit this antioxidant activity by reacting with free radicals in either one of several ways: via a hydrogen atom transfer, a single electron transfer, a proton loss transfer done sequentially, or through transition metal chelation.

Cinnamon can help treat tooth decay. Researchers N.G Vasconcelos et al. found that cinnamon’s cinnamaldehyde content suppressed exopolysaccharide synthesis and the signaling among cells through gene expression reduction, leading to the suppression of biofilm formation or dental plaque.

The study by Ho Keun-Kwon et al. found that cinnamon extract, possibly due to cinnamaldehyde, increased the expression of genes associated with apoptosis such as Bax, Bim, Bak, and Bad, thereby stimulating tumor cell death. Cinnamon’s cinnamaldehyde is believed to exhibit antitumor cell growth properties by downregulating NFκB and AP1, resulting in the downregulation of the expression of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL protein levels which are associated with tumor cell survival. 

Cinnamon’s cinnamaldehyde is believed to lessen symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome by reducing the expression of cytokines TNF, MIP-2, CCL2, IFNγ, CCL4, CCL3, and IL-1β and mast cell proteases through its anti-inflammatory properties. These cytokines and mast cell proteases play a role in enhancing irritable bowel disease symptoms.

According to researchers Jeong Sun-Lee et al., to lower cholesterol levels, the cinnamate content of cinnamon suppresses hepatic β-hydroxy β-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase activity, which results in lipid peroxidation suppression. The result is the production of cholesterol in the liver is also reduced.

How Do You Determine The Correct Cinnamon Dosage?

The correct cinnamon dosage depends on the benefits one wishes to gain from the herb. For example, based on scientific research, intake of at least 500 mg of cinnamon daily for at least two months sufficed for one to benefit from cholesterol-lowering properties. According to a study by Nildem Kizilaslan et al., intake of at least 1g of cinnamon daily for 40 days reduced blood glucose levels. Research has found that the higher the dosage, up to 6g daily, the higher the reduction.

According to two Thomas P.J. Solomon et al. studies, a dosage of at least 3 g of cinnamon per day increased sensitivity to the hormone insulin. Cinnamon intake, however, should be sustained. 

It is difficult to recommend a specific dosage for obtaining other health benefits of cinnamon, including its antioxidant activity, neuroprotective properties, and protective effects against cancer and HIV, among others because many of the studies that affirmed these benefits involved in vitro and in vivo studies using animal models. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised prior to the consumption of cinnamon supplements, regardless of the desired health benefit.

What Are The Most Common Questions For Cinnamon Usage?

A check online shows that the most common cinnamon questions revolve around health benefits. Below are some of those inquiries:

  • What does cinnamon do to the body?
  • What does cinnamon do to a woman?
  • Is it safe to drink cinnamon every day?
  • Does cinnamon burn belly fat?
  • What are cinnamon’s benefits?
  • What are cinnamon’s side effects?

Some questions revolve around cinnamon’s use and origin. Below are some of those inquiries:

  • What is cinnamon powder?
  • What is cinnamon’s use?
  • Where does cinnamon originate?
  • What are the types of cinnamon?

What Are The Facts About Cinnamon?

There are many interesting facts about cinnamon. The cinnamon tree belonging to the Lauraceae family grows in tropical areas and well-drained soils. Although commercially produced cinnamon typically comes from two species, Cinnamomum cassia or Cinnamomum aromaticum and Cinnamomum verum or Cinnamomum zeylanicum, it can also be derived from others. According to Diego P. Oliviera et al., there are around 250 species of the Cinnamomum genus. Cinnamon trees can grow up to 20 to 30 feet outdoors and 4 to 5 feet indoors. The veins of its thick, oval-shaped leaves usually grow parallel. The tree’s leaves and bark are aromatic. 

How Is Cinnamon Processed?

Usually, cinnamon tree bark is harvested to create supplements and food spices, although, to a lesser extent, the leaves can also be processed for the same purposes. In both cases, the processing is straightforward.

According to Agrifarming, a gardening site, the cinnamon tree is typically coppiced or cut to the desired height, usually 15 cm high from the stump, two to three years after planting to be managed more effectively. The cut tree regrows as a bush, with several side shoots branching from the main stem. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, these side shoots grow up to 6 feet tall before harvesting.

Once the side shoots acquire a consistent brown color and are as thick as a human finger, they are ready for cutting. Agrifarming recommends performing a test peel to determine if the side shoots are also prepared for peeling, which can be performed if the bark is easily separated from the side shoot. The outer bark should be removed in sheets until the red-orange inner layer is exposed and then dried for one week. It will curl during that period and can be retained as is or ground into a powder. 

The leaves are harvested once they turn green, and an extract is then produced in one of two ways: via a steam distillation machine or the traditional steam distillation method. The leaves only need to be fed into a device to derive the extract for mechanical steam distillation. They are left inside a wooden container with a copperhead on a wood-fired boiler for the traditional method.

What Are The Supplement Forms Of Cinnamon?

Cinnamon comes in many supplements. Below are the forms cinnamon supplements can be consumed:

1. Cinnamon Liquid Extract

The cinnamon liquid extract is derived from cinnamon bark. Many supplement manufacturers recommend consuming this supplement form with water or any beverage. Herb Pharm recommends mixing 20 to 40 drops of extract with water before using it two to three times a day. Hawaii Pharm says 20 to 40 drops of its product can also be mixed in 2 oz of juice for consumption up to four times a day.

The cinnamon liquid extract can also be applied topically. Before application, India’s CNMB recommends diluting its essential oil in a suitable carrier oil. Nature’s Answer recommends using its cinnamon essential oil in lotions such as avocado, jojoba, sesame, evening primrose, and coconut before applying it to the skin. The manufacturer states that one should not exceed four drops.

Some supplement manufacturers suggest inhaling cinnamon liquid extract. Nature’s Answer, for example, recommends adding a few drops to a cotton ball, soft tissue, diffuser, or small pot of boiling water before gentle inhalation. 

Why Is Cinnamon Liquid Extract Useful?

The cinnamon liquid extract is helpful because it allows for faster absorption and optimized use when consumed orally. According to Medicare Europe, the body doesn’t need to break liquid extracts down for digestion. As a result, it only requires one to four minutes to fully assimilate the liquid. Medicare Europe stated that when the liquid extract does get assimilated, the body uses around 98% of it.

Topical application is an alternative to oral consumption, especially for patients who have difficulty swallowing pills. The liquid extract enters the body through the mucous membranes with topical applications, and users can avoid gastrointestinal side effects from oral consumption.

Inhalation of cinnamon liquid extract is typically done as part of aromatherapy. After inhalation, the essential oil travels to the brain and affects the amygdala. According to S Fayazi et al., aromatherapy is effective in the reduction of anxiety levels.

However, there are disadvantages to using cinnamon liquid extract both topically and orally. Because it is liquid, users have a higher risk of overdosing than consuming tablets or capsules. Supplements in solid form have a fixed amount of cinnamon, but the amount of liquid extract ingested by the patient ultimately depends on what they or a medical professional administers.

2. Cinnamon Raw Powder

Cinnamon raw powder is made from cinnamon tree bark ground into fine particles. Many supplement manufacturers that sell cinnamon in this form recommend mixing the powder in either food or beverages. Naveen Teas, for instance, states that its raw cinnamon powder can be used for cooking or baking. Incredible India, for its part, says its powder can also be sprinkled on fruits and used as curry powders. To add flavor, aroma Depot recommends mixing its cinnamon powder in water, tea, and smoothies or stews and soups.

3. Cinnamon Pills (Tablets And Capsules)

The powder derived from cinnamon can be enclosed in capsules or made into tablets. Many of the clinical studies that confirmed the positive health effects of cinnamon involved its consumption in these forms. For instance, the study by Richard A. Anderson et al. confirmed the cholesterol-lowing properties of cinnamon involved subjects consuming spray-dried cinnamon extract contained in one 250 mg capsule twice daily for two months. 

The Alam Khan et al. study that affirmed that cinnamon could reduce a person’s risk of diabetes or cardiovascular disease involved 60 subjects with type 2 diabetes taking 1 g, 3 g, and 6 g of cinnamon capsules daily for 40 days. 

One of the studies by Thomas P. J. Solomon et al. that concluded that cinnamon allowed the improvement of insulin sensitivity involved seven healthy males aged 26 consuming 5 g of vegetarian capsules. The improvement in insulin sensitivity was observed right after administration and 12 hours after ingestion.

Consumers can be more accurate in the amount of cinnamon consumed with capsules and tablets than with liquid extracts because each capsule and tablet already contains a specific dose. For example, one Carlson Labs cinnamon capsule contains a set dose of 500 mg of Cinnamomum verum. On the other hand, one Planetary Herbals cinnamon capsule contains 300 mg of Cinnamomum aromaticum.

What Are The Cinnamon Types?

Cinnamon is the brown bark of several tree species that belong to the Cinnamomum genus. Below are some of the cinnamon species from which the spice can be derived:

  • Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon cinnamon)
  • Cinnamomum burmannii (Korintje cinnamon) 
  • Cinnamomum cassia (Saigon cinnamon) 
  • Cinnamomum loureiroi (Royal cinnamon)
  • Cinnamomum cebuense (Cebu cinnamon)
  • Cinnamomum mindanaense (Mindanao cinnamon)

Each spice derived from every cinnamon species has characteristics that distinguish it from the other herbs on the list from a culinary point of view. For example, according to All Recipes, Ceylon cinnamon, also known as the cinnamon of commerce, has a soft texture. Korintje cinnamon has a mild taste, Saigon cinnamon has a sweet flavor, and Royal cinnamon is very sweet and spicy. Mindanao cinnamon has a standout sweet aromatic scent, whereas Cebu cinnamon smells like liquor.

What Is The Etymology Of Cinnamon?

The word “cinnamon” was derived from the Greek term “kinnamomon,” which was borrowed from a Phoenician term similar to the Hebrew word “qinnamon.” According to the Oxford Dictionary, its intermediate forms include the Old French term “cinnamome” and the Latin word “cinnamon.” Merriam’s Webster noted that the term “cinnamon” was first used in the 14th century.

What Place Does Cinnamon Have In Society And Culture?

Cinnamon plays an essential role in society and culture. Imperium Romanum noted that ancient Egyptians used cinnamon in their embalming process. Ancient Rome also found a use for cinnamon and used it to hide the foul odor in funerals. In fact, according to Imperium Romanum, Roman Emperor Nero is believed to have used all the cinnamon in Rome during the funeral of his wife Poppea Sabina in 65 A.D.

Cinnamon was also used for other health purposes in ancient Rome, such as applying it to the skin as an ointment to enhance libido. In the kitchen, it was used as a critical ingredient in oyster sauce and wine.

Currently, cinnamon is commonly used as a food ingredient and a health supplement in Eastern and Western cultures. According to Food and Nutrition, cinnamon is a typical spice added to curries and braised dishes in Asia. In Europe and the US, it gives flavor to desserts and fruit dishes. The use of cinnamon in savory dishes in the West is confined to ethnic plates, Food and Nutrition said. Cinnamon lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, enhances insulin sensitivity, and treats neurological disorders as a health supplement.

In 2020, Tridge stated that the top exporter of cinnamon was China, with a 64.13% share export value, equivalent to $284.02 million. China was followed by Vietnam, with a 21.85% share export value, or $96.79 million, and Indonesia, with an 8.48% export value, estimated at $37.54 million. The top producer in 2020 was Indonesia, with a production volume of 91,200 metric tons.

 

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What Are Some Food Recipes That Contain Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is a widely used culinary ingredient that adds flavor to savory and sweet dishes. Below are some recipes that feature the spice as a condiment:

  • Cinnamon pumpkin pancakes: This combination of pureed cinnamon and pumpkin is best served for breakfast, according to Greatist.
  • Caldillo: This beef stew served in parts of South America can be sprinkled with cinnamon sugar.
  • Pot Khichdi: This rice and lentil porridge is typically served in parts of India to ill patients.
  • Cinnamon rolls: These are served as a breakfast dish or for dessert.
  • Cinnamon latte: This coffee-based drink is low in sugar despite its sweet taste.

What Are The Cinnamon Parts?

The cinnamon tree has many components. Below is a list of these parts:

  • Bark: This part of the cinnamon tree is of particular interest to many supplement manufacturers because of its cinnamaldehyde content, which is believed to be responsible for many of its health benefits.
  • Leaves: The ovate-shaped leaves contain eugenol and cinnamaldehyde, although to a lesser extent. In some countries like Sri Lanka, the oil derived from the leaves is used for aromatherapy, improving blood circulation, and enhancing immune function.
  • Berries: These dark cinnamon buds have a clove-like appearance.
  • Flowers: The small bisexual flowers are green in color and grow in panicles.

What Is The History Of Cinnamon?

According to Spruce Eats, the first known mention of Cinnamomum zeylanicum was in 2800 BC, in Chinese scriptures. MySpicer noted that the spice, called “kannamon” in Hebrew,” was also referenced in the Bible numerous times in the books of Psalms, Ezekiel, Revelations, and Proverbs. The Bible’s Old Testament was written sometime between 1200 and 165 B.C. The Roman author and commander of the Roman Empire Pliny the Elder is also believed to have claimed that a Roman pound of Cinnamomum cassia or 327 g costs 300 denarii or around $105 today. 

From the 17th century until the mid-18th century, Ceylon, which, at that time, was the largest cinnamon supplier, was colonized by the Dutch, French, English, and Portuguese. However, according to The Spruce Eats, 1833 marked the start of the downfall of a monopoly on cinnamon, when some countries learned how to cultivate the crop on their land.

What Are The Other Plants That Are Called Cinnamon From Time To Time?

Cinnamon is sometimes confused with other plants because of their names. Below are some plants that are mistakenly called cinnamon from time to time:

  • Golden shower: This plant, with the scientific name Cassia fistula, is typically mistaken for Cinnamomum cassia because it belongs to the genus Cassia. The genus has the exact name as the subspecies cassia which figures in the scientific name Cinnamomum cassia (cinnamon).
  • Apple blossom tree: This plant, with the scientific name Cassia javanica, is mistaken for Cinnamomum cassia because it is also a member of the genus Cassia. 
  • Sickle senna: This plant, with the scientific name Senna tora, is commonly mistaken for Cinnamomum cassia, although it does not share a similar name. It was a member of the Cassia genus before it became part of the separate genus Senna. However, even after Sickle senna and other members of the Cassia genus became members of the different genus, they are still collectively called cassias.

Are Cinnamon Supplements Approved By The Authorities?

No. The Food and Drug Administration regulates health products like cinnamon as dietary supplements, not as drugs. That means these supplements don’t need prior approval from the FDA to be sold. However, once they are on the market, the FDA starts exercising its safety monitoring function. It reviews supplement labels and promotional materials as its resources allow and monitors whether there are safety complaints about the product. The supplement manufacturer is required to report any complaints to the FDA within 15 days upon receiving them. Cinnamon is “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS) by the Food and Drug Administration.

Is Cinnamon An Anti-Inflammatory?

Yes. A study by Seung Ho Lee et al. found that a derivative of cinnamaldehyde extracted from Cinnamomum cassia suppressed lipopolysaccharide-induced nitric oxide production in Raw 264.7 cells. The researchers noted it did this by suppressing Nuclear Factor Kappa-B activation. Nitric oxide and Nuclear Factor Kappa-B have been shown to play a critical role in inflammatory diseases. According to the researchers, the reduction was more significant the higher the dose.

Can You Take Cinnamon At Night?

Yes. It is advised to take cinnamon at night. Experts have confirmed that cinnamon can help one get a good night’s rest. Nutritionist Harpeet Pasricha said that the spice might do this because it helps the body relax and relieve tension with its proven anti-inflammatory properties. Nutritionist Rick Hay attributed these effects to cinnamon’s scientifically-proven capacity to lower blood sugar levels. According to Hay, this property of cinnamon is crucial because the reason people wake up many times at night may be attributed to blood sugar spikes.

Anecdotal evidence also affirmed that cinnamon might promote healthy sleep. In an article published in Harvard Business Review, Apurva Purohit, president of the Jagran Group, one of India’s largest media conglomerates, stated that she had been diagnosed with insomnia and started making progress after drinking cinnamon mixed with other spices boiled in water. She attributed the positive change to the spices’ antioxidant content, which helps relieve the body of stress.

Can You Take Cinnamon After A Meal?

It is not recommended. Many cinnamon manufacturers recommend consuming their products during meals. Planetary Herbals, for instance, suggests consuming two droppers of its cinnamon liquid extract with food three times a day. Solgar recommends consuming one cinnamon vegetarian capsule every day, preferably with a meal. 

According to the National Health Service, some supplements are taken with food to prevent possible gastrointestinal problems. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health stated that this was one of cinnamon’s potential side effects but only when taken in excess.

Can You Take Cinnamon Every Day?

Yes. Many of the studies that noted cinnamon’s health benefits involved subjects ingesting cinnamon daily for a specific treatment period. For instance, the Richard A. Anderson study that affirmed the cholesterol-lowering effects of cinnamon involved subjects who consumed spray-dried cinnamon extract contained in one 250 mg capsule twice daily for two months.

The study by Nildem Kizilaslan et al. that confirmed cinnamon’s blood-glucose-lowering property involved healthy individuals consuming 1 g, 3 g, and 6 g of cinnamon per day for 40 days. Thomas P. J. Solomon et al. also found the enhancing effects of cinnamon on insulin sensitivity in a study that involved eight male volunteers aged 26 who consumed 3 g of cinnamon per day (500 mg of vegetarian capsules per day) for 14 days. Based on these studies, many supplement manufacturers such as Rebel Herbs, Planetary Herbals, and Solgar recommend ingesting their cinnamon products daily.

Can A Child Take Cinnamon?

Yes. According to Alicia Tucker, M.D., a general pediatrician at the Children’s National Hospital, babies can be given cinnamon in small amounts after six months. However, it should not be given for direct consumption since the powdered form, in particular, can be inhaled and cause adverse effects. Instead, the spice can be sprinkled on baby food to add flavor to solids. 

Ilys Schapiro, M.S., R.D.N., added that since increased amounts of cinnamon can also cause stomach upset and skin irritation, parents should monitor how much they give their babies and children. Consultation with a healthcare professional is advised prior to the consumption of cinnamon supplements. 

Can Your Pet Consume Cinnamon?

Yes, but it is not necessary or recommended, according to the American Kennel Club (AKC). The AKC stated that while the cinnamon itself is not dangerous to dogs, it is usually paired with other ingredients that are toxic to animals. For instance, some baked goods containing cinnamon may also have xylitol, which can cause seizures, liver failure, and death in dogs, even in small amounts. The AKC stated that those who wish to give their pets the spice alone should do so irregularly and in small quantities. 

Which Tree Produces Cinnamon?

Several tree species that belong to the Cinnamomum genus produce cinnamon. Some of these species are Cinnamomum verum (Ceylon cinnamon), Cinnamomum burmannii (Korintje cinnamon), Cinnamomum cassia (Saigon cinnamon), Cinnamomum loureiroi (Royal cinnamon), Cinnamomum cebuense (Cebu cinnamon), and Cinnamomum mindanaense (Mindanao cinnamon). Of these, cinnamomum verum and Cinnamomum cassia are used in most cinnamon supplements on the market. Many scientific studies that affirmed cinnamon’s health benefits focused on Cassia cinnamon, the type primarily sold in the United States.

 

Cinnamon Benefits Content Image 3

 

What Are The Top Scientific Research Topics For Cinnamon?

Cinnamon is of interest to researchers. Below are the top scientific topics on cinnamon:

  • Cinnamon’s powers as a minute ingredient
  • Cinnamon’s health benefits
  • Cinnamon, an overview
  • Cinnamon, a multifaceted medicinal plant
  • Medicinal properties of “true” cinnamon

What Does Cinnamon Do In The Body?

Studies suggest that cinnamon yields multiple health benefits through various mechanisms.

Once cinnamon enters the body, researchers believe it increases insulin secretion by beta cells. Its phenolic compounds are believed to react with free radicals, thereby producing antioxidant effects. Cinnamon has been found to help reduce bad cholesterol levels, which researchers attribute to its cinnamate content suppressing hepatic β-hydroxy β-methylglutaryl-CoA (HMG-CoA) reductase activity, resulting in lipid peroxidation suppression.  

Cinnamon’s cinnamaldehyde is believed to downregulate NFκB and AP1, resulting in downregulation of Bcl-2 and Bcl-xL protein levels which are associated with tumor cell survival. Studies also concluded that cinnamaldehyde suppressed exopolysaccharide synthesis and the signaling among cells through gene expression reduction, leading to biofilm formation suppression or reduction in dental plaque.

Does Cinnamon Help You Lose Weight?

A study by Juan Jiang et al. confirmed that cinnamaldehyde, a primary component of cinnamon, yielded anti-obesity effects. The researchers concluded this after finding that injecting cinnamaldehyde in human fat cells isolated from donors of varying ethnicities activated Protein kinase A signaling, which plays a critical role in lipid metabolism, and elicited metabolic responses. 

Does Cinnamon Help You Sleep?

Yes. Anecdotal evidence and experts have confirmed that cinnamon can help induce sleep because of its proven blood glucose-lowering effects and capacity to help rid the body of tension. The hypoglycemic properties of cinnamon address blood sugar level spikes that may cause insomnia, and its proven anti-inflammatory effects promote relaxation in the body, enabling sleep. 

 

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